Seven Nil

We have an update!

Moments before the council hearing.

Our apologies for being quiet recently on the socials front but we have been bunkered down getting our Development Approval (DA) compliant and ready for our council hearing which occurred last Thursday (4th August). It’s on the public record, so we don’t mind telling you, but going into the council hearing the council assessors had recommended our application be dismissed. We won’t go into details but the grounds for refusal were centered around permissibility issues.

The final assessment only came out a week before the hearing, so the Hoppers had to rally without haste. Our understanding has always been that the zoning of our land permits Artisan Brewing and Distilling and as part of our liquor license we must serve food.  Brewing is classified as light industry and that is the zone we bought our land in. Council assessors determined otherwise.

The Budman

During that very short week we worked with a specialist Sydney based law firm to prepare legal advice to present to council. We also prepared a speech to deliver in council chambers on the day as well as many phone hook ups with our Town Planner to make sure no stone was left unturned. In addition to this we put emails and phone calls into all councilors to introduce ourselves and communicate our point of view.

On Thursday 4th August 2022 at 3.00pm we entered council chambers at Murwillumbah well prepared and ready to present our case. Hopper Ian Kennedy spoke passionately and put forward our case highlighting key rebuttal points as well as our history of brewing.

Council took a short recess before readjourning to discuss the tabled applications. When the time came to discuss ours, a robust discussion was had by the councilors. Remember the recommendation was to refuse/deny the application. If our nerves weren’t already shot, they were at extreme levels at this time.

Moments after the council hearing.

It wasn’t long before a counter motion was put forward which was to accept the application “in principle” and a vote occurred. Seven Nil! Yes, seven votes to accept our application in principle. Nil against. A complete turnaround to the recommendation going into the hearing. Relief started to take over as we grappled with the notion that a big hurdle towards approval was just negotiated positively.

There are a few conditions coming to us in the next week or two that we need to review, discuss and agree to then council, all going well, should sign off on the approval next month. We are not over the line yet but very close to it now. Thanks must go to the support our designer Brad Cole (bradleycole) as well as our town planner Luke Blandford (Planit) provided prior to and on the day. Great teams always make great inroads and these two professionals have been a big part of our success to date.

A few celebratory beers were consumed over the weekend. It’s important to celebrate key moments. But it’s Monday morning now and I find myself back at the desk ready to resume the push forward to “Hopper Brewdom”! Its different now though, seems more real, more exciting, more focused, more fun, closer. And you know what?  I like it….

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