Council’s ‘heartbreaking’ fee for new Coast bar
Hastings St cafe and gin bar Moonstruck Noosa has very quickly become a popular spot to enjoy a barista-made coffee or alcoholic beverage.
But the new business, which opened in June, has quickly become a victim of its own success.
To cope with the added demand, owners Boy Driessen and Melonie Thompson have been forced to submit an application with Noosa Council to expand their current operations and use outdoor dining.
Their intention to add outdoor seating triggered a material change of use requirement and therefore needs council approval, and an application fee to the tune of $4435.50
Which is a 25 per cent reduction on the $5914 for being in an existing building.
Given the tough start the business owners have endured, they were less than impressed with the cost.
"It is pretty heartbreaking," Ms Thompson said.
"It has already been a struggle and then to make us pay that, I don't feel like it is supporting local business."
Submitting the application on behalf of the owners, Russell Green from RG Strategic claimed the cost did not represent such a "minor" application.
The town planner has formally requested a 50 per cent reduction in the fees.
"It is our belief that the application is very minor in nature and as such will require minimal assessment by council's planning officer," Mr Green said.
He said he had requested fee discounts in the past and, on occasion, had been successful.
"We have had councils agree in total, agree partially or totally disagree, but it is important that as planners we make reasonable requests on behalf of our clients," he said.
Ms Thompson was optimistic they would be successful with the reduced fee application but still felt the cost was unreasonable.
"Three grand is still a lot of money," she said.
"There are restaurants three times the size of ours and they pay the same amount."
Noosa Council was contacted for comment.