VCAT says no dog permit

Latrobe City council’s refusal of a planning permit for a greyhound facility at Hazelwood North has been upheld by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The hearing before VCAT Member Katherine Paterson was held on January 17 and was followed by a site inspection on January 23.

In her order made on Tuesday, February 6, Ms Paterson found that the noise and visual impacts of the proposal to keep and train five adult greyhounds were not satisfactorily addressed.

The planning permit application by Charles Dobson for the development in Glen Place, Hazelwood North was refused by Latrobe City last year after finding the proposal would unreasonably affect the amenity of adjoining properties and was incompatible with the purposes of the Rural Living Zone in which it was located.

The council officer’s report to the tribunal said the proposal was for the keeping and training of five adult greyhounds with one litter of pups to be raised at a time until they were old enough to start their racing career.

The application was for the use of existing facilities on site, including a kennel and whelping shed, circular galloping yard and day yards.

The dogs were to be exercised in the galloping yard but there was to be no formal race training with lures.

Ms Paterson noted that any planning permit was tied to the land and not to a particular person.

She found that although the introduction of a new racing dog keeping facility in the area was compatible with the state planning policy objective to strengthen economic resilience by growing a more diverse economy, the Latrobe City Strategic Land Use Framework “expressly discouraged” animal keeping facilities, including racing dog keeping, within rural living areas.

In her findings, Ms Paterson said EPA noise control guidelines stated the problems caused by the perpetual barking of dogs had been known to exist as far as 500 metres from the actual source.

There are 25 dwellings within a 500-metre radius of the kennel shed.

“I am not satisfied that the noise generated by the proposal is able to be mitigated in a way which minimises this impact and for this reason I have refused this proposal,” she found.

No acoustic report was presented at the hearing.

Ms Paterson also found that the circular galloping yard where the dogs would be kept during the day had been fenced but not screened and “therefore it is highly likely that the dogs that use this yard will be enticed to bark by external sources such as other dogs, other animals or people, including alpacas kept on a neighbouring property to the south”.

“The day yards are also unscreened and are located in close proximity to the neighbouring property to the north,” she found.

Ms Paterson also found that the topography of the site in Glen Place, Hazelwood North made it difficult to protect the visual amenity through landscaping.

VCAT decisions can only be appealed at the Supreme Court of Victorian on a question of law.