LOCAL artist Ken Sealey’s plan to run a small hotel from his Highgate home remains alive, with Vincent councillors deferring the decision.
Planning staff were deadset on refusing the plan, but councillors picked up some oddities in the rules being applied and held off for now.
Mr Sealey, who crafted the big blue head outside council house (fittingly named Beseech as it gazes up at the chambers) pleaded with councillors to give him the go-ahead, saying “I’m not a developer, I’m just preparing for my impending old age”.
He brought his family along to show the council who’d be running the hotel, emphasising it’d be a small boutique operation.
“I could sell it or develop it, but all of those options mean I’d have to leave and I don’t want to leave Vincent.
“This [hotel] is a better scenario, in my opinion, than if the property was sold.”
“I don’t have many options,” he told the meeting, a little choked up at the microphone. “Thanks.”
Staff wanted to knock it back because it didn’t fit the area, there were 26 objections, didn’t have enough parking, and it didn’t meet some lodging house requirements.
Cr Josh Topelberg moved for a deferral, arguing it didn’t make sense to apply lodging house rules to what was a small hotel.
Mayor John Carey pointed out that while Mr Sealey’s application may have been outside the usual rules, someone else could easily build a whopper development on the site: “This [hotel] is a better scenario, in my opinion, than if the property was sold.”
He said people saw the word “hotel” and came out to lodge objections in force, but it was a small operation and closer neighbours were actually in favour.
The plan will go back to staff for rejigging.
by DAVID BELL