THE fate of a $1.85 million cutting edge data storage centre within the Albury airport industrial estate rests with councillors after an independent assessment of the proposal recommended its refusal.
Given the council owns the airport estate it engaged planning consultants Blueprint Planning to assess the proposal with councillors given the task of ultimately determining the application because of its $1 million-plus price tag.
But the assessment concluded the data storage centre wasn't an airport related business as required under the Albury airport master plan released in 2018.
Albury councillors will determine the data centre development application on Monday night.
Blueprint Planning believed it was a commercial development and not a public or volunteer emergency service organisation facility which was permitted under the conditions of the master plan.
"The proposal is contrary to the desired future use of the Albury airport," the independent assessment, in part, stated.
"(It) will therefore generate incremental social and economic impacts from taking up land otherwise intended for a publicly exhibited and adopted purpose."
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But, councillors may determine that the proposed development is not inconsistent with the airport master plan because of its definition as a telecommunications facility under the provisions of state planning policy and is therefore permissible with their consent.
With the state policy being a higher order document it prevails over any council controls.
The data centre is earmarked to be built next door to the city's emergency management centre and its construction will provide "connectivity benefits" when the centre expands.
A council employee refutes the suggestion the data centre is a commercial business.
"It is not unreasonable to conclude that whilst this is a business owned by a commercial enterprise, it is not a commercial business as envisaged under the airport master plan," the staff member said.
"Commercial businesses are those with an element of public interactivity and/or physical location of staff on-site as seen at other airports around Australia."
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