Long-standing CBD business takes council to court over $65k
A LONG-standing CBD business undergoing a massive redevelopment is taking the Toowoomba Regional Council to court over a $65,000 charge applied to it.
J Rowe and Son Pty Ltd, better known as Rowes Furniture Toowoomba, will appeal in the Planning and Environment Court an infrastructure charges notice that was levied by the council in June.
The charges notice is in relation to Rowes' $10 million site redevelopment on various parcels of land along Russell St and Keefe St in the CBD.
According to the notice of appeal filed last week, the appellant will allege the council "impermissibly calculated" infrastructure charges based on an increase of gross floor area for each individual lot, rather than looking at the net impact of the 12 lots as a set, or "premises".
QuDA Planning Lawyers' Andrew Davis, who will represent Rowes, said the development's overall GFA actually shrunk as a result of the proposal, and should therefore have no infrastructure charges levied.
"There's a site there and it's made up of multiple lots. It's got the same access and car parks," he said.
"If you've got multiple lots but you've got the same car parking, you've got to include it together.
"The applicant was expecting not to pay any infrastructure charges.
"The council has looked at the gross floor area for each lot and focused on that and ignored the development as a premises."
Rowes unveiled plans for its site bordering Russell, Victoria and Keefe Sts in the CBD in October last year, with the development to turn an old flour mill into office space and creating sites for multiple new businesses.
This would be at the expense of the famous showroom itself, which was to be reduced by up to 1500sq m.
Walkways and green space would also be added to turn the drab rear of the building into a vibrant pedestrian hub in keeping with Toowoomba's growing CBD laneway culture.
Planning and development portfolio leader Cr Anne Glasheen said the council acknowledged the appeal and forthcoming legal case.
"Council has been served with the notice of appeal, but is unable to provide any comment at this stage of the legal proceedings," she said in a statement.
A court date has yet to be finalised.