A group of Charlestown residents has launched a last-ditch plea to Lake Macquarie councillors ahead of an extraordinary meeting where they will determine a unit development residents describe as "intrusive".
The residents say a proposed residential flat building on Kaleen Street, which would see four single-dwelling properties levelled to make way for 46 units, is out of character for the area.
They've raised concerns about privacy, overshadowing and increased traffic in more than 75 submissions opposing the project.
The council was due to vote on the DA, which staff recommended for approval, last week, but deferred until councillors could conduct a site inspection. The vote will now be held on Thursday.
Brad White, who lives beside the site, said the development had a net density of 127 dwellings per hectare, three times more than the 25-45 dwellings/ha state planning slates as "typical" medium-density housing.
Mr White was "shocked" when he viewed the plans "to see something that big, with that many units, in among just houses, basically".
"There's single-level villas behind it, there's two-storey townhouses at the other end of the street - which no one has a problem with," he said.
"But this thing is well above. It's got car-stackers in the car spaces underneath, just to give you an indication.
"It's over and above what the community expects to be in the area, by a long way. It's intrusive to so many people's backyards, their privacy."
The residents say the DA relies on council's "desired future character" for the area, which they believe overlooks current residents' views.
Neighbour Scott Smith said he "would never have built a home on a decent sized block" five years ago if he knew it would be "built out by apartment blocks".
"For a development of this proportion, the high density and size, I've been disappointed at the lack of community consultation," he said.
"This has gone from lovely big backyards, neighbours that don't look into each other's homes, big mature trees ... to then having sites mowed down for three-storey apartments and each neighbour having 16 balconies looking over them.
"The community is up in arms ... and council's proposing that it go ahead."
The developer, Neelak Pty Ltd, has defended the plans.
"There's a few concerns from residents and I understand why, it's a big change to their environment," Neelak director Stephen Mace said.
"But there's a shortage of housing in Lake Macquarie, and this helps address that."
A previous DA for the site, proposing 12 townhouses across three blocks, was knocked back in mid-2017 for being an "over-development".
Residents are baffled how it was refused, yet the 46-unit complex has been recommended for approval.
Mr Mace said the revised plans, after the purchase of the fourth property, had made better use of the site.
"There's been two years of consultation with council and the SEPP 65 panel, which is a panel of architects - experts in their field - to get a really good design," he said.
"It wasn't something thrown together overnight ... council are encouraging this type of development."
The DA comes at a time when council has signalled its intent to see an increase in infill-housing developments.
Its planning statement released in October outlined four growth areas, including Charlestown, earmarked for "urban intensification" with medium-density housing.
A draft housing strategy is also on exhibition. It suggests demand for smaller dwellings, like units, could double in coming years.