(Andrews SC DCJ - 18 June 2015)
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Planning and environment – appeals – material change of use – where council approved an application for a development permit for a material change of use for the purpose of Entertainment and Recreation (Outdoor) for a shooting range – where a 'consistent use' in the rural zone – where community opposition – where noise experts expressed joint opinion on a level they regarded as acceptable for a reasonable person – where town planning expert disagreed – whether the adverse noise impacts would be unacceptable.

Facts: This was a submitter appeal against Council's approval of a development application for an outdoor shooting range.

The proposal involved a 50 metre rifle range, a 100 metre rifle range and a shotgun pad for clay pigeon shooting.

Once the whole proposal was established, organised shooting would occur up to 106 days in a year, with up to 70 shooters firing together during a twenty minute session.

The original development application included a 50 metre pistol range, however that range was deleted from the proposal during the course of the hearing.

The land was located in the Rural Zone under the Caboolture Shire Planning Scheme 2005. The subject land and the surrounding properties were predominantly made up of larger rural allotments. The development application was impact assessable.

The primary issue was whether the adverse impact from shooting noise on adjoining and surrounding land uses was an unreasonably or unacceptably adverse impact. The appellants also raised the issue of safety as a consequence of the intensive use of firearms in an outdoor locality.

It was accepted that there would be conflict with the planning scheme if the noise from the proposed range caused "unacceptable impact on the amenity" of the area.

Decision: The Court held:

  1. The changes to the development application were minor.
  2. If there were conditions of approval imposed which were consistent with the opinions of the experts, the proposed range would be appropriately safe.
  3. The proper test was not whether amenity would be degraded but whether it would be unreasonably degraded by a proposed development.
  4. The shooting club had established on the balance of probabilities that, with conditions to achieve attenuation, shooting noise could be kept within acceptable limits.
  5. The evidence was that the sound of shooting would be acceptable to a reasonable ordinary person. Proper conditions would prevent an unacceptable impact on the amenity of the neighbouring and surrounding uses.