A LOCAL citrus farmer has vowed to fight back after a community uprising saw his Hanwood juicing plant rejected by council.
More than 120 residents petitioned against the citrus processing facility proposed for Louis Sartor's Leonard Road property and 50 protested at Tuesday's council meeting.
The plant, which Mr Sartor referred to as a "boutique juicing operation", would have been capped at 500 tonnes of oranges per year and would have been allowed to operate for only three years.
He then planned to move the factory to an industrial area, where he would significantly expand his operations.
But the residents' fears that traffic movements and odour would increase exponentially as time went by were enough to turn the city's councillors against the development.
Mr Sartor declared he would pursue the matter further, most likely taking his case to the Land and Environment Court.
In a further blow for council, he intended to seek full recovery of his court costs if successful.
"We've been forced into a corner," Mr Sartor said.
"It's pretty disgusting to see, when council staff have done their due diligence to appease residents' concerns and we had met all the conditions we had to, councillors didn't feel council staff have the capacity to ensure we meet them.
"Councillors may be confused, but Land and Environment Court won't read this DA (development application) as a potential 30,000-tonne operation that's going to disturb the serene environment of the village of Hanwood."
Mr Sartor believed the residents had misinterpreted information in the DA to assume the facility would be allowed to expand to 30,000 tonnes, pointing out that a plant of that size would be one of the biggest in the nation.
But former councillor Allan Bennett, who spoke on residents' behalf at Tuesday's meeting, said the residents fully understood Mr Sartor's intentions.
"The fact that the application says the facility will initially process 500 tonnes leads one to believe there's an intention to process more," Mr Bennett said.
"What we have here is not a misconception; it is caution and a substantial amount of mistrust.
"Once you're in there, it'll be very hard to get you out and that's a major concern."
Of the nine councillors present at the meeting, only Crs Pat Cox and Anne Napoli voted in favour of the proposal.
Cr Cox commended Mr Sartor, pointing out that he lived on the site in question and was unlikely to do anything that would threaten his own environment.
"There are certainly a large number of objectors, but quite a few didn't take into account that here is a businessman endeavouring to value-add, who wishes to try the business in a small way first," Cr Cox said.
"I would have liked to see more support for someone willing to do business in the community."