Hi everyone! This is my first post here, and I hope it's in the right place and everything. If not, feel free to sort me out.
My friend and I are looking at rural properties with the intent to move and start our own... well, not farm exactly, but place to grow our own food, keep chooks, care for horses, maybe have some alpacas, that sort of thing. We're looking for a more sustainable way of living, basically.
We've found a particular property that we really like, but there's an issue related to the driveway. The current owners have put in a driveway up to the (intended) house site, which has compacted road base on it. The driveway goes up a hillside, and has gradients ranging from 7% to 13%.
Apparently Sydney Catchment Authority have overriden the local council's rules regarding driveways, and have stated that for any gradient over 10% on this property, the driveway needs to be double sealed, and that the whole driveway needs table drains and mitre drains with bitumen lining and jute matting and level spreaders and what have you.
A local councilor has advised the current owners to lodge a section 96 (modification of development consent) because they feel it is "ridiculous". But currently, this is what stands on the property.
We don't want to seal the driveway or put in any of that stuff because aside from the outrageous cost, we feel it will be detrimental to the property. We're really interesting in the ideas of permaculture and sustainable living, and we believe that the erosion issues they're concerned about could be much better handled with something more natural, like the use of swales, and using vetiver along the sides of the driveways, and things like that. We'd much rather do something natural and conducive to managing the water effectively than just pave the road and put a bunch of drains in that run the water straight off the property where we can't use it.
So we'd really like to lodge the section 96, and submit some sort of alternate proposal to show how we can effectively manage the water on the hill.
Thing is, we're really new to permaculture in general, and so we don't know a lot about this sort of thing. We have plenty of ideas from what we've read on the internet, and we're still trying to research as much as we can. But I'm really having trouble finding out information this specific.
So I was wondering, does anyone have any advice, or any ideas, or know anyone we could talk to who'd know better about this?
We were thinking that if we could get someone who knows permaculture better than us to come and look at the place, that perhaps they could give us a detailed report or something that we could lodge with our section 96. Again, I don't really know whether that's feasible (it's not just permaculture, but all the legalities involved with buying a property that are all new to me!) but it's where I'm starting with my ideas.
I'd really love anyone's feedback and advice regarding this issue. We love the property as it is, and we'd really love to build at the current house site as it's gorgeous. But we just don't want to bitumen that driveway, and we can't afford it even if we wanted to. ;P
I don't know if it helps, but here's a picture of the property, with the driveway - it's a little hard to see but the driveway is the line that goes up the across the three 'bumps' of hills:
Thanks so much in advance!