The NSW Land and Environment has begun hearings into a controversial caravan park proposal for Glossodia, with an on-site visit held this week.
Commissioner Michael Chilcott attended the Wattle Crescent site on Monday, December 2, where more than 100 residents - some of whom waved signs against the development - had gathered peacefully to listen to the proceedings.
Experts for both the applicant and Hawkesbury City Council were present, and council's solicitor Adam Seton introduced five local residents who made submissions opposing the application.
Long-time resident Amy Stubbs addressed the hearing on behalf of her father, Kevin, who lives next door to the site.
"Like a lot of Hawkesbury and Glossodia residents, he is a very working class man and he has all of his assets in his property," she told the hearing.
"His property will be impacted through privacy and security issues."
Ms Stubbs also raised flooding and environmental concerns with the development as well as the area's "big fire risk", which second speaker and local resident John Peters agreed with.
Mr Peters, captain of the Glossodia Rural Fire Brigade, said the site was in a "fire corridor" and the application for 96 movable dwelling sites would put residents in danger.
"You want to jam all these people in here? I am telling you it's dangerous. We cannot evacuate a site that quick," he told Commissioner Chilcott.
Golden Valley Drive resident Don Paice told the hearing the removal of trees from the site would "devastate" the area environmentally, and the increase in traffic would impact the narrow roadway.
Mr Paice also cited a lack of facilities in the area as well as sewerage concerns for opposing the development, urging Commissioner Chilcott to "listen to Hawkesbury City Council and the residents of Glossodia ... and reject this [development] once and for all".
Sabine Donney's property is located at the rear barrier of the site on East Kurrajong Road and she told the hearing she had concerns over the lack of privacy the development would cause, as well as power outages in the area. However, her biggest concern was the fire threat.
"When you're talking about people losing their life in an ever-present danger area like this, it's just crazy," she said.
Paul Watkins of Wattle Crescent was the last speaker to address the hearing, and he spoke on how the development would affect the character of the area.
"This proposed development is completely opposed to what the character of this street actually is," he said. "This development brings a significant increase in the population of Wattle Crescent in one hit.
"We are talking about hundreds of residents that will come here and double or triple the population of Wattle Crescent in one go, and not only does it bring residents, it brings cars. With 96 dwellings you are looking at on average ... 180 motor vehicles.
"I am very concerned about an increase of up to 180 motor vehicles up and down this road."
Commissioner Chilcott thanked residents for attending, saying the opportunity to address the hearing was "an important part of the court process".
Commissioner Chilcott then joined representatives for applicant PRJM Pty Ltd as well as council staff, legal representatives and relevant experts to conduct a viewing of the site before travelling to Windsor Local Court for the rest of the day.
The remainder of the hearings were due to take place at the NSW Land and Environment Court in Macquarie Street, Sydney, for the remainder of this week.
A result on the issue is not expected immediately, with the judgement set to take up to three months to deliver.