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Our Father cafe at Burraneer refused 6am opening because of noise complaints

A popular new cafe at Burraneer has been refused permission to open at 6am after complaints about noise from a handful of nearby residents.

The council decision to enforce a 7am start has shocked and perplexed the owners of Our Father cafe, brothers Gerard and Jerome Manion, who intend to appeal.

They say 6am is the standard opening time prescribed in the shire Development Control Plan (DCP) and they have done everything possible to comply with council requirements.

The brothers established the cafe five months ago in a former corner store next to two other shops opposite Burraneer Bay Public School.

The cafe, which is painted totally white, is regularly overflowing with customers.

The owners said they believed they could open at 6am under existing use rights.

However, a Sutherland Shire Council officer, who contacted them after a call from a resident, said they were restricted by their complying development certificate to a 7am start.

The owners said the council agreed they could continue to open at 6am, but not use outdoor tables until 7am, until a DA was processed.

They were shocked when they were advised this week their DA seeking approval to continue this arrangement had been refused.

The council's assessment report said, while the 6am opening was within the base hours for a low activity area as set down in the DCP, the site was not considered suitable for such an early start because of several factors.

These factors included the proximity of homes and that the premises were already operating from 6am and setting up from as early as 5.30am.

Other reasons were that a large percentage of the seating was external, which worsened potential noise impacts, and parking was largely in front of homes.

Gerard Manion said the decision was contrary to the DCP and the council's successful trial of allowing cafes to open early, which led to permanent changes.

"We are somewhat perplexed," he said.

"We are a local family and it is our intention to provide local investment into this run of shops, as well as fulfill the dream of Jerome to have his own coffee shop.

"We have complied in all areas with Sutherland Shire Council and, being a community focused cafe, wanted to make sure we weren't upsetting the local residents.

"We have made huge improvements to the area and the success of the place has shown that it's a long overdue local offering.

"The decision has left us left us in limbo and unable to operate within a key morning period.

"This will result in the loss of key trade business per week and this significant revenue is important given that the shop tends to be quieter in the afternoon period."

The council report said 14 adjoining or affected owners were advised of the 6am opening application, and three submissions were received opposing it.

One submission said, "The impact upon my family is already inconvenient at best, with cafe patrons talking loudly to each other and opening and closing car doors at 7am, or earlier, during the week and on weekends - even Sunday, as they pass my house to and from the venue or park in front of my house".

"When we purchased our house 17 years ago the businesses were not places where people congregated - until now," the resident wrote.

"Similar cafes in the area with a 6am opening time are not situated as close to residential dwellings as this cafe is to our house."

Another resident wrote: "This morning, I took photos of the cafe open at 5.40am fully set up outside after being woken by them making noise and people walking past my house...".

"If a 6am start is allowed, then based upon the current disregard for neighbours, the owners/manager will be setting up at 4.30am."

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