A few short month ago we came home to see a deck being build about 1.5 metres from our fence. The deck was the height of the fence – just under 2 metres. Interesting we thought. Must give the neighbour a nice view of our back yard, bedroom and toilet. Great!
Decided to contact ACTPLA and found out that a sun room was going to be built on top of the deck. Clear privacy issues, not to mention impact on the value of our property. Anyway, we ended up lodging a complaint with ACTPLA to have the work stopped or modified. Checked with relative interstate and sent photos. You guessed it. Not allowed in other jurisdictions and neighbours have to have the opportunity to comment.
Not in the ACT and not under this Minister (Andrew Barr). We wait and wait for ACTPLA to get back to us. All the while the building continues. How does that work? A complaint is lodged and work continues.
Eventually I contacted ACTPLA and insisted on being told what they were doing. You guessed it – the sunroom was exempt. Privacy issues and impact on the value of our property ignored. The first thought that went through my mind was well, what if we put up a sunroom? Following ACTPLAs logical we could also build a sunroom a mere 1.5 metres from the fence line and just under 2 metres from ground level. Imagine that neighbours with sunrooms a mere 3 metres apart. Could make a nude romp on a summers day really interesting.
Oh well. Just under two weeks ago contact Minister Andrew Barr’s office. The result? Despite being sent photos the Minister’s Office thinks there is nothing amiss. Again privacy issues and impact on the value of our property not even considered.
Let’s look at the bigger issue here.
– In the ACT and under the custodianship of Andrew Barr it is OK to:
– Put up sunrooms that tower over another persons property
– For government agencies not to contact impacted residents.
– Ignore privacy concerns.
– Ignore the impact of developments on the value of another persons property.
Where does that leave urban planning in the ACT? Nowhere.
Here’s my take on this. Poor legislation compared to other States and Territories. A public service unable to excise common sense judgement. A lack of openness and transparency on the part of government and the public service when dealing with citizens.