MP criticised over Ferntree Gully multi-storey plan

NEW Knox mayor Karin Orpen says residents feel let down by Ferntree Gully MP Nick Wakeling following revelations the developer of a controversial multi-storey building has bypassed Knox Council and gone straight to the state tribunal.

Cr Orpen said residents and traders against the development were very disappointed that the matter has been listed to be heard over Christmas.

A preliminary hearing due in early December is set to be foll-owed by mediation between the council and developers on January 7. A public hearing is expected in February.

The Weekly last week revealed that the developer of the proposed four-storey development at 44 Station Street in Ferntree Gully had taken his application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Cr Orpen said the community was "concerned by the rush" and there were worries that interim height controls of 7.5 metres in the village requested by the council would not be approved by the state government in time.

Mr Wakeling had previously said he would ensure the planning department would deal with the request in a "timely manner".

Cr Orpen said there was now a "bit of disenchantment" over those claims.

However, Mr Wakeling said the blame lay with the council because it dragged its feet before deciding to request the height controls.

"The council had 18 months to take action but chose not to. It was the state government that made the suggestion. If there was no suggestion, there would have been no application."

He said he was surprised by the mayor's comments because no one had discussed the concerns with him.

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