AN attempt by three councillors to force a developer to pay a parking contribution has been branded "an absolute cash grab".
A development application for The Oxford Hotel was approved by Bathurst Regional Council last Wednesday with the support of five of the eight councillors there.
They scrapped the requirement to pay contributions for a shortfall of parking, which would have cost the developer more than $200,000.
The next day, deputy mayor Ian North and councillors John Fry and Graeme Hanger lodged a rescission motion to bring the matter back before council. They will attempt to reverse the decision, with Cr North in favour of deferring the payment for 12 months to give the developer more time to pay.
But The Oxford Hotel owner Ash Lyons has slammed the decision, saying that rescission motions "weren't designed for this purpose".
"They were designed so if the evidence presented itself, if there was evidence that would change people's minds, it gives them a last minute to put that on the table," he said.
"There's no new evidence, no new information. This shows that zero respect was shown for those other five councillors and their votes.
"This is the third time we've gone to vote. This is absolutely ludicrous and an absolute waste of our resources, of ratepayers' money, to be going through this process over and over again."
In September, council asked Mr Lyons to provide a traffic study to prove that the amount of parking on-site was sufficient for its usage.
Mr Lyons said the study proved that there was more than enough available.
"The traffic survey came back and, I quote, that our car park during a very busy weekend was underutilised," he said.
"They also said within a 200-metre radius there were over 100 car parking spots during that busy time. They also said 'any car parking contributions required by council are considered to be excessive, as any car park provided by council is likely to be closer to the main shopping area of the CBD and not in close proximity to The Oxford Hotel'."
If Mr Lyons must pay the contribution, the additional cost will impact the development and may see him invest his money in Orange instead.
"We've had businesses in Orange for the past seven years. If I start this development $200,000 out of pocket before a shovel has touched the dirt, it highly, highly puts this development at risk and I'll be looking at our options being presented to me in Orange," Mr Lyons said.
Councillors worry that scrapping the contribution would set a precedent for future DAs and impact the amount of cash available to council to increase parking availability, but Mr Lyons disagrees.
"I wouldn't call this a parking contribution, what I would call this is a developer's tariff. Let's call it for what it is, a developer's tariff," he said.
"... It's got nothing to do with parking whatsoever - this is an absolute cash grab."
The rescission motion will be considered at an extraordinary meeting of council on Wednesday at 1pm.
If it fails, Mr Lyons will not have to pay the contribution.