With sweeping views over Teralba, it’s a favourite spot among locals who fondly refer to it as “Billy Goat Hill”.
But when Jeff McCloy’s development company made a gambit to give the grassy knoll to Lake Macquarie City Council – instead of paying its developer fees on a new subdivision – the council was less than enthusiastic.
Now the Land and Environment Court has ruled in the dispute, throwing out an appeal by the McCloy Group and ordering that it must pay its full share of Section 94 contributions.
The Newcastle Herald understands the contributions, used to fund the community infrastructure required as a result of new developments, amount to just over $765,200.
Lake Macquarie council welcomed the verdict.
“In 2017, McCloy Group lodged an application seeking to modify the approved development application for the 71-lot subdivision in Teralba known as “Billy’s Lookout”,” a spokesperson said.
“The modification requested that council accept a parcel of land at Billy Goat Hill in lieu of monetary section 94 developer contributions, which are used to fund community facilities.
“Council did not support the application as it was not in the community’s interest.”
In court, the council argued that the land – about 9246 square metres in size – had not been earmarked for acquisition.
A council engineer testified that receiving the land would not reduce the demand among residents for recreational facilities, which would then need to be funded without the developer’s financial contribution.
A town planner engaged on behalf of the McCloy Group argued it was “unreasonable” of the council to require the money over the land, when the law allows either as contributions.
“The land dedication would have a strong physical nexus with the subdivision development and would benefit all residents to some degree,” he said.
But acting commissioner John Maston was “unpersuaded” by the evidence.
Mr McCloy could not be reached for comment on Friday.