It never occured to me that we might not be able to move the building envelope. From my discussions with council and with the Surveyors there was no reason that the building envelope was there and it was just a formality to change it.
I was told by the Surveyors that the Council had to refer the S.96 application to the Rural Fire Service (RFS) within 2 working days of receiving the application. The application was lodged Tuesday 17th April 2012
I rung the council on 20th April, nothing had been done with it. I was told to call the following Monday.
I called again 23rd April to be told it was sitting on one of the employees desk and nothing had been done and to call back in a couple of days.
I called back on 26th April 2012 to be told that again nothing had been done. When I questioned about the two working days, I was told I needed to speak to the employee that was looking after it. I left a message and did not get a call back.
I rung again to be told that it had not been referred to the RFS. When I questioned the employee about the 2 days he said that he did not think it needed to be referred and he was waiting to speak to the head of the RFS just to confirm, but there was nothing wrong with the application and as far as he was concerned it was all approved.
Another call to chase up on 2nd May, the same employee advised that the head of the RFS did not need it referred and it was all good, just waiting for the tree people to get back to him and then he could send out the official paperwork. He said it would be 2 weeks.
During this time that we were waiting, we gave McDonald Jones the green light to go ahead. Everything had been so positive from council that we thought it was a matter of time.
On 26th April 2012 we went through our initial colour walkthrough. This was an eye opener. The discount that we were given upon signing, this was spent in a blink of an eye.
On 3rd May we received our Consolidated Tender. It came back as BAL 12.5 bushfire. We knew this already and that added an additional $5,610 to the quote. Luckily for us everything else was good, no difference in the slab which I was worried about.
Once we signed off on the Consolidated Tender, the plans were drawn up and we made our appointment to have choose our colours. It was set for 25th May 2012
On Tuesday 15th May I rung up the Council to check on the progress. I was advised that I would get a call back. No call back, so I chased the following day to be told that an email had been sent to the Surveyors and it was suggested that I read it.
Bascially the gist of the email was that there was an additional 8 trees that needed to be cut down with new building envelope (which is complete rubbish as there are not another 8 trees to cut down) and it was a koala habitat area. They were saying 'No' on moving the envelope and if we wanted to pursue it we needed to provide a full flora and fauna report with an animal report, which would have cost in excess of $7,000.
To say I was floored was an understatement. I didn't know what to do. Firstly I had a go at the council employee. He denied ever telling me that it was approved. Denied telling me it did not have to be referred to the RFS.
I went to a Council Councellor, he told me to walk away. He said there was no point to fight the council. It would only cost me money and I wouldn't win. His solution - just choose another house. I didn't want another house - I wanted that house.
So nearly $5,000 down the drain and 2 months wasted.