A SUPERMARKET war has erupted after councillors controversially approved a new store in Griffith after more than 90 minutes of heated debate on Tuesday night.
Lines of spectators stretched along the chamber walls and out the door as locals strained to hear councillors go toe-to-toe over the suitability of a new shopping development at the Ferraro Foods site on Blumer Avenue.
Despite a plea from Mayor John Dal Broi to respect councillors' rights to scrutinise every detail of the development application, the crowd heckled councillor Bill Lancaster and one gallery member called out "what a circus" in relation to confusion surrounding the nuanced rules governing debate procedure.
After arguing whether the development would be appropriate or legal in an industrial zone and whether it would prove too disruptive to traffic flow, councillors voted eight to four in favour.
Councillor Anne Napoli, who received applause for her support of the new supermarket, said a family's livelihood was at stake.
"I've never seen so many town planners and engineers stood before council and I'm sure they didn't just say we'll give this approval without extensive research," Cr Napoli said.
"Don't forget a family will be deprived of an income if we refuse this DA.
"I sympathise with other businesses that have concern about losing customers but everyone is free to shop where they want to shop and if you treat your clientele well they will come back."
Speaking against the motion, Cr Lancaster said approval would contravene planning laws and paint council as inconsistent.
"Public interest will not be assisted by another supermarket in a very obstructive and difficult spot with a lack of parking," Cr Lancaster said.
"Since 2002 we've said no shops in industrial areas and we'd be one off against the rest of the state if we allowed this.
"There is a better than 50 per cent chance the Land and Environment Court will overrule this."
Driver IGA owner Adele Snaidero objected to the development and said she will take the matter to a higher authority.
"It's a point of law that the location is not zoned for retail and it's as simple as that," Mrs Snaidero said.
"It's a tough business climate as it is and now our sales are going to drop, meanwhile empty shops on the main street are crying out for new business.
"We asked for this decision to be made outside of council because Pam Young owns the property in question and she manages the library, but council refused."
Council's legal advice suggested the development application was legally permissible and generally satisfactory under the appropriate legislation.