Hi all, I'm new to the forum - only just discovered it as I was searching the web for answers in relation to ethical conduct in relation to additional reports in support of a DA application. I hope someone would be kind enough to provide perspective and advice please.
Our neighbour (an architect) moved in 6 months ago and wants to add a massive pavilion and 3rd storey (which he calls a 1st floor in his application) that will completely overshadow our home, minimise sunlight coming into our home in winter and that would completely block all our water views from our backyard including from our fire-pit. He provided his own shadow diagrams which is inaccurate and inconsistent as we've proven by providing photos of the amount of sun currently into our living room and principal outdoor living space adjacent our living room on 18 June. His shadow diagrams show us only receiving a small amount of sun (less than 3 hours a day into our living room and no sunlight onto our principal outdoor living space, which is incorrect) and he is arguing that seeing as we're not having a lot of sun anyway, it will not matter that he is reducing our sun to about 30 mins to our living room and zero to our principal outdoor living area. He also argues that as our views include trees, they're not important. His DA will involve extensive excavation only 2m from our existing house and he sent his 35 year long friend to do the dilapidation report required by council.
We're questioning the integrity of this process due to a conflict of interest in relation to the shadow diagram and dilapidation reports (and possibly other reports). Would it not have been ethical to use someone independent to ensure there is no bias or that the reports aren't slanted in his favour? Should the engineer who performed the dilapidation inspection hot have recused himself in the interest of integrity? Is it normal for our security cameras to be specifically photographed for a dilapidation report?
Are we entitled to insist on an independent shadow diagram, not provided by the owner himself? We've already requested the opportunity to provide an independent dilapidation report based on the fact that the engineer and the owner are longtime friends (pending council's response).
Background: The owner is unapproachable (has been since day one for many reasons - the list is endless) and he made it known that he knows many people in council (true or simply a way to get us to back off, we don't know). He's made many tiny, useless changes to his design (30 cm here and there) and every time we have to go through his entire lengthy application and respond to yet another ridiculous aspect and blatant untruths about the facts - 4 submissions in total. We don't trust him as far as we can throw him based on his conduct over the last 6 months.
What should we do? I feel so sorry for the poor guy at council who has to read through all those submissions (including multiple submissions from 3 other neighbours) and I do not doubt his integrity but what recourse do we have to make sure the process is fair if the information provided by the applicant is inaccurate, biased and slanted?
Thank you for reading this and apologies for the long rant but we're fighting for our home.