A fight over an inner-city swimming pool is set to go to court over a $200,000 council fee for a subdivision the owner has no intention of making.
Elwood dad Paul Jones would be in line for father of the year after buying his neighbour’s home with plans to build a pool next door.
But while Port Phillip Council has cleared the way for his grand vision to take place, it insists he must cough-up $200,000 if he wants to combine the land into his existing home title.
Paul Jones with wife Jane and sons Jesse and Billie. Mr Jones is taking on his local council over its plans to charge him $200,000 to realign the boundaries of his Elwood home
A Victorian father has been left outraged after buying his neighbour’s house so he could build a pool for his two kids, only to be hit with $200,000 in council fees.
An aerial shot of Paul Jones’ Elwood property. He has built a bungalow at the rear of his home in anticipation of building the pool on the vacant lot next door
Paul Jones’ kids already have a great backyard to play in. They will one day have a brand new pool to enjoy whether it goes on the same title or not
The council argues that by combining the two lots it will increase the size of Mr Jones’ property to more than 650sq metres – leaving room for a potential development.
It insists if he wants the proposed pool land to be included on his home’s title, he must pay a $200,000 public open space contribution in case the site is subdivided in the future.
While one could think Mr Jones – who owns a relocation company – might be stirring the pot when it comes to the issue, he thinks the council are just being mean-spirited to a hard working, long-term resident.
‘The pool can go in – that’s no issue. It’s not about the pool going in. It’s the fact they think there is going to be the likelihood of further subdivision down the track,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘My argument is, we’re putting the pool in, and we’ve got a big bungalow at the back there and we’ve no intention of building, and they’re saying: “it doesn’t matter. It can be further subdivided and just in case, you need to pay this $200,000 fee,’ he said.
While the family can continue their plans to build their dream home, with a swimming pool, on separate titles, Mr Jones wants to realign his boundaries so the pool belongs to where he lives.
‘That’s where I live. That’s the big family home. we’ve spent a lot of money on it. I want to make it a big centre piece and stay there. If I don’t realign, it’s got to sit at the back of an old decrepit house that hasn’t been touched in all those years,’ Mr Jones said.
‘Eventually it’s got to happen. Because when it comes to selling it, what do I do? Do I try and sell two big lots together or do I put the fence back up down the middle? I’m just trying to do the sensible thing and realign it. That was the intention.’
Mr Jones said while he has no immediate plans to leave the home in the next 10 years, things could always change.
A dirt pile sits where Paul Jones plans to build a family pool. The local council wants to sting him $200,000 just in case he decides to subdivide the property
A dirt pile now, a swimming pool to come. Paul Jones thinks his local council will dig their heels in over its bid to get $200,000 out of him to realign his boundaries
‘We certainly aren’t going to further subdivide, but someone might buy it in 10 years and they might try and subdivide it. Or someone in 50 years might try and they can pay the fee,’ he said.
‘They want me to pay the fee now and I’m just trying to fight that because I don’t believe I should have to pay that.’
Mr Jones said his ongoing battle had become a fight for ‘common sense’.
He has contacted his local member for parliament, Richard Wynne, who is looking into the matter.
Mr Jones has also gained support from local radio, which has backed his fight.
‘I’m just seeing if common sense can prevail. This fee is normally for developers who subdivide, create additional lots and put in dwellings and bring families into the area and it’s just not for people like me,’ Mr Jones said.
The determined resident believes there are sections of the Act, which work in his favour, but has not ruled out taking his fight to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which acts as the watchdog for council disputes.
‘Before I do that I’ll just get all my ducks in a row and make sure that I’ve got a good chance to win,’ he said.
Either way, Mr Jones is ready to endure the pain.
‘They’ll just dig their heels in if they think they’re in with a chance for $200,000. Even though I’m not going to pay it,’ he said. ‘They’re just being what councils are.’