The developer of a North Cooranbong subdivision could be allowed to develop hundreds more lots before being required to upgrade a notorious intersection under an amended Voluntary Planning Agreement heading for public exhibition.
Lake Macquarie councillors voted on Monday night to exhibit the amended agreement, which has been the issue of a years long battle between developer Johnson Property Group and council over the proposed 2500-lot Watagan Park subdivision.
The voluntary planning agreement requires the developer to invest in local infrastructure including roads and cycleways.
One particularly contentious issue relates to the required upgrade of Alton and Central roads and Freemans Drive, which is close to several aged care homes.
Residents have been pleading for improvements at that intersection for more than a decade after an elderly man, Charles Pointon, was hit by a car and killed in 2008.
The number of lots allowed to be developed before the intersection has to be upgraded has already been increased and was further deferred pending Roads and Maritime Service approval.
Under the amended agreement, the trigger for the works to be completed by would be increased to 750 lots.
Council said Johnson Property Group had developed 500 lots to date.
Almost all councillors spoke on the matter, expressing frustration that an increase in lot triggers could further delay the improvements.
However they all also praised staff for the extensive amount of work with the developer to come to an agreement that would see a way forward.
Cr Kevin Baker, who voted against the motion, said the Alton Road intersection issued "weighed heavily" on him.
"I don't know if anyone can cross that road and not say they've felt scared, doubly so for elderly residents that need to cross that road to get to their local shops," he said.
Other councillors said it was a "lose, lose" situation as voting against the motion may mean the developer pulls of out the project and that the matter needed to be progressed.
"There's no guarantee they're not going to come back to us again [but] we've got to move forward," Cr Colin Grigg said.
"We have a lot of security in this VPA - I think a lot of triggers early on were not ideal from a developer's point of view," Mayor Kay Fraser said.
"We're talking about 2500 homes, jobs out there at Cooranbong, economic investment out there at Cooranbong.
"They could say we'll just walk away, and there won't be any jobs out there, there won't be any investment out there.
"Let the community have a look at this."
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