A Greek Australian is learning the hard way that the Greek common practice of building an unlicensed structure and having it approved retroactively does not work in Australia.
Sydney man Vasilios Perdikaris did not get permission to build an oversized shed on a concrete slab in the back yard of his Menai home at the Sutherland Shire.
He has now been ordered to demolish the 72-square-metre garage following a long-running dispute with the Sutherland Shire Council. A criminal charge has been filed against him as well as a hearing in the NSW Land and Environment Court this month.
The structure was constructed by Mr Perdikaris and his wife, Irene, in December 2017.
When council officers found that the shed had been built without approval, they ordered that it should be abolished however Mr Perdikaris did not adhere to the council’s repeated requests.
A meeting with Mr Perdikaris in person in early 2019 had not taken place because of his “abusive language when dealing with council officers”.
In a judgment published last week, Justice Rachel Pepper described Mr Perdikaris’ communication with the council as “fractious”.
A criminal charge was filed after Mr Perdikaris used a carriage service to menace Sutherland Shire mayor Carmelo Pesce, and as a result Mr Perdikaris was fined $2,500 and has been restrained from approaching Cr Pesce for two years.
Mr Perdikaris said that he hired a contractor to build a bigger shed to store his cars and a hoist as he stated that the existing shed had been too small for his needs.
“I told various companies that I did not have council approval and I was told that many people build their sheds without council approval and that it really only mattered if someone complained,” he said.
A council town planner described the garage as a “dominant element” and “highly visible” and the subject of many complaints.
Justice Pepper pointed to the shed’s “enclosed nature, its dimensions and the fact that there was already a garage and carport on the premises”.
Mr Perdikaris has been ordered by the court to demolish the structure within 28 days and awarded the council costs.