The quiet back streets of Kotara are an archetypal slice of Australian 1960s and '70s suburbia.
Well preserved houses on big blocks with wide lawns, mature trees and nearby schools make the likes of Grayson Avenue and Bryson Avenue a magnet for families.
But, like other parts of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, Kotara is also becoming an attractive prospect for developers.
The area is zoned for low-density residential, but its wide street frontages and large blocks allow for townhouse redevelopments which local residents say are at odds with the suburb's character.
Kim Angeli moved to Bryson Avenue with her family in 2010 because it was a "beautiful, quiet, middle-class-family suburb with well maintained homes".
But a townhouse development being built over her back fence has her concerned about the impact of higher-density living on traffic, parking, privacy and other issues.
"Where one family home stood, four to six townhouses or units now stand with all the flow-on effects to the surrounding neighbours and waterways," she said.
"It's a perfect spot for families, not medium-density. What's the point in taking up a family yard? That just means families have to go out further, away from all this."
The area has long been busy on weekend mornings in winter, when nearby Nesbitt Park hosts Kotara South soccer club games.
But Ms Angeli said Grayson Avenue, in particular, was becoming increasingly clogged with cars on weekdays, partly due to townhouse developments with insufficient parking.
She said the road's junction with Park Avenue had become an unsafe bottleneck.
Newcastle City Council has approved 23 townhouses on five sites in Grayson, Judith and Springfield avenues in the past three years.
Newcastle and Lake Macquarie approved more than $800 million worth of dual-occupancy, townhouse and unit developments in the 2017-18 financial year, a 220 per cent rise from $250 million just four years earlier.
Ms Angeli fears there is more to come for Kotara as the Newcastle local government area expands by a forecast 26,000 people in the next 12 years, many of them through "in-fill" development in existing suburbs.
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"I understand development is part of a growing community, however, it seems these development applications go in and get approved without full consideration of the impact they are having," she said.
"There's going to be more and more of them plopped in between residents who bought in this area as a family-orientated environment, close to the parks.
"Now all of a sudden it's four walls and cement. The infrastructure's not built for it, the roads are too small. At Christmas time, you can't get out of Grayson Avenue.
"We just need to spread them out."
Ms Angeli's neighbour, Samantha Schramm, has written to the council about similar concerns, tying the rise in townhouse development and the expanded Westfield shopping centre with increasingly "dangerous" traffic on Grayson Avenue.
"With the developers taking their money and moving on, the local residents have to live with the change in the lifestyle and local community that they have worked hard to buy in to," she wrote.
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