'Ridiculous' council costs force Valley business to close
THREE years ago Trent Mitchell arrived in Kandanga with $1000 and a business dream.
Now he has been forced to shut that dream down after becoming tangled in town-planning red tape.
The Mitchell Custom Engineering and Restoration owner has shut his Main St business after discovering the giant shed, built in the 1950s, is now sitting in a residential zone.
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"They want more money in application fees than I can even come up with," Mr Mitchell said.
This includes $4000 for the initial application fee and, because he uses an angle grinder, a noise report is also required.
"That's another $5000," he said.
Wife Lauren Mitchell said it was not a case of the couple trying to dodge obligations.
"We've done everything the council has asked us to do so far," she said.
"The amount of money they want is ridiculous."
A council spokeswoman said the options open to the Mitchells were "the same for every business owner operating within the Gympie region".
"To comment further on this is inappropriate for privacy reasons," she said.
"Council is committed to supporting all residents as part of its planning and development processes."
The spokeswoman said a complaint had been received about the business last November and they "had ongoing discussions with him attempting to assist him in continuing to operate from the property".
The Mitchells took over the shed after it sat abandoned in the wake of the Traveston Dam debacle. Mr Mitchell believed it was rezoned at that time.
Without the engineering business they still want to continue running a retail shop, Random Allsorts, from the site.
Mr Mitchell said they would be allowed to do that - but only once they prove the site had been commercial in the past.
"They're making me do the homework of proving it was," he said.
The spokeswoman said this was needed because the site's business operations "pre-date planning requirements and/or were operated by the state government".