A council development stoush has ended up in the state's highest court.
A council development stoush has ended up in the state's highest court. Claudia Baxter

Council appeals decision that could cost ratepayers $688k

THE difference between a study and a third bedroom has landed Fraser Coast Regional Council in the state's highest court.

The council was found to have overcharged a developer $688,000 when Judge Dean Morzone concluded in March it acted beyond its powers.

Walter Elliott Holdings had argued it should have paid $20,000 in infrastructure fees for each of the 86 relocatable homes the company sought development approvals for at Palm Lake Resort at Eli Waters.

But the council charged $28,000 per dwelling on the basis that any plans marked with multi-purpose rooms or studies should be treated as having third bedrooms.

In a Planning and Environment Court judgment handed down in March, Judge Morzone said he could not find any factual or legal justification for the council treating those rooms as third bedrooms.

"In my view, the council would have been left in no doubt that the applicant was seeking a development permit for material change of use relating to only two-bedroom-type relocatable homes for all future dwellings," he said.

Now the council is appealing that decision, arguing in the Queensland Court of Appeal that the judge erred in declaring it acted beyond its powers and did not give adequate reasons for his decision.

The court heard legal argument on Tuesday surrounding the matter and reserved its decision.

Palm Lake Resort is an over-50s lifestyle resort on Pialba Burrum Heads Road at Eli Waters.

- APN NEWSDESK



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