A group of Wilyabrup wineries are calling on the City of Busselton council to oppose an application for five chalets to be built in the area.
The Wilyabrup Investments application will be voted on by council at the next ordinary meeting on March 9.
In a report to the council, City planning officer Lee Reddell recommended the proposal be approved with a long list of conditions attached it.
The applicant plans to build the holiday rental chalets on 14.2 hectares off Caves Road on the same land as Cheeky Monkey Brewery.
The chalets would operate independently of the venue.
They would each include three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two living areas and two deck areas, plus there would be 18 car parking spaces, an admin building and an on-site effluent processing facility.
Some of the conditions the officer recommended for the development included:
- An approved bushfire management plan by the City
- The chalets are not occupied by the same person/people for more than three months within a 12-months period
- Details on the effluent management plan and the setback of 60 metres from edge of Biljidup Brook
- A landscaping plan
- Signage in each chalet to say "This accommodation is within 100 metres of operating agricultural land which can produce odour, noise, spray drift and dust nuisance".
Gralyn Estate, Fraser Gallop, Cullen Wines, Mosswood, Secret Garden, Vasse Felix, Clairault Streicker and Woodlands all opposed the proposal. A spokesperson for the wineries, Scott Baxter, made a presentation to the council at its community access session on March 2.
When the development application was out for public comment there were three submissions - including one from the group of wineries - all objecting.
As a result, the applicant made a number of changes including reducing the number of chalets from six to five, relocating them so the setback from neighbouring properties increased from 18 metres to 71 metres, and canning plans for a swimming pool and mini golf course.
However, Mr Baxter said the changes were not enough to protect the prime agricultural land that the proposal sits next to.
"The development is not adhering to setback and density objectives as set out by state and local government and the developer is seeking 'discretionary use of the land'," he said.
"Discretionary use can be granted, when that use is deemed to not impact the use of neighbouring land."
The development application states "the design and appearance of the chalets will harmonise with its surroundings and is unlikely to have any adverse impacts on the existing development on the land and adjoining properties in terms of its bulk and scale".
However, Mr Baxter said this was not a small scale development and would have impact on the neighbouring properties of Gralyn Estate and Vasse Felix.
"The state planning policy notes current and future use of the prime agricultural land as important assets for the state and that buffers/setbacks are a valuable tool in addressing conflict between land users," he said.
Mr Baxter said the group was not opposed to development in the area and there were already examples of this done which met "basic planning rules".
"[They] are not visible from the road, are setback appropriately from neighbouring properties, adhere to density objectives, do not alter the rural amenity of the surrounding neighbourhood, and do not conflict with existing or potential agricultural, horticultural, or viticultural pursuits of adjoining landholders," he said.
Mr Reddell stated in the report to the council that the city's rural tourist accommodation policy requirement was for a 100-metre setback to provide a "suitable buffer between tourism land uses and viticulture..... in order to protect existing viticultural activity in rural areas".
He continued that the areas where the set back was less than 100 metres was either "inconsequential" and or would have a "minor" impact on the neighbouring property which was 68 hectares in size.
In Mr Baxter's presentation to the council he said the adjoining landholders required "pristine rural atmosphere" to continue the Margaret River wine brand.
"'Rural' zoning policies have been put in place by state government to safeguard viticultural and rural enterprises such as Gralyn, Cullen Wines, Mosswood and Woodlands from unsuitable neighbouring developments," he said.
In the report to the council, Mr Reddell provided alternative motions for the council to consider, including refusing the application or adding or make different conditions to the approval.
A DMG Architects spokesperson said the proponent had engaged with a neighbouring winery over a year ago about the design of the application.
The spokesperson said after seeing the objections through the development application period the proponent made "significant changes" to the design.
They said there was a demand for short term accommodation in the region and five chalets were "low impact" to the area.