THE long-running saga of Mackas Sands proposed sand mining access route off Nelson Bay may be over after the independent Planning Assessment Commission on Monday recommended the plan be approved.
The two-man commission found that a previous report from the Department of Planning had sufficiently addressed concerns raised by public submissions and at last month's public hearing.
However, the commission also added a condition - that Mackas Sandget an independent road safety audit based on the existing design for the proposed intersection off Nelson Bay Road and alternate access road.
"The road safety audit should assess the impact of construction of the proposed acceleration lane and the safety of vehicles turning into existing driveways of the properties located on the northern side of Nelson Bay Road and into Sansom Road," the report read.
"The road safety audit should also identify appropriate safety measures to make right-turn manoeuvres from Nelson Bay Road safer."
It made the recommendation after finding one resident had the potential to be adversely impacted by the acceleration lane.
While it does not state it explicitly, it is believed this refers to the Buman family on Nelson Bay Road - vocal opponents of the plan.
In reacting to the news on Tuesday, Heath Buman said the traffic report was cold comfort.
"I'll have to move. The modification is still going ahead so the trucks are still going to be coming onto the road," he said.
"How can they make it safe for us - they can't."
The decision is a win for the company, of which Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie is a director, though Cr MacKenzie's son, Robert, declined to speak on the record about the decision.
At a public meeting on September 19, some residents argued that a previous agreement between Mackas Sands and the Towers family for access via Lavis Lane should stand but the commission dismissed this argument.
"The commission noted submissions from Towers site residents and the proponent regarding an access agreement for the site," the report stated.
"This is a commercial issue between those parties and not an issue for determination by the commission."