COUNCILLORS should oppose a push for a petrol station in Elphinstone, a report has recommended.
Mount Alexander Shire staff say the servo at 2355 Harmony Way would take away valuable agricultural land and "detrimentally affect" existing retail areas.
The servo would sit at the corner of the Pyrenees Highway, close to a junction with the Calder Freeway.
Developers have already taken the council to the state's planning umpire, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, after it failed to make a ruling within a prescribed timeframe.
Councillors will on Tuesday decide whether to oppose the service station when VCAT considers the matter.
The servo would be able to fuel cars and trucks and sell convenience goods.
It would have 13 car parks, as well as three spaces big enough for vehicles towing caravans.
The service station would permanently remove farmland from agricultural production in an area zoned for farming, the council's strategic planning team said.
"Whilst the site is not significant in size, it is recognised that there is renewed interest in part-time small-scale farming, therefore the site must be considered to have capacity to sustain an agricultural use," they said.
Council officers were also concerned the servo could limit intensive farming nearby.
A service station could risk farmers' ability to use heavy machinery and large scale irrigation equipment, staff said.
"All-hours operation, dust, and the application of chemicals and fertilizers that may disrupt the normal operation of a service station," they told councillors in their report.
"Similarly, the siting of a service station on the subject site has the potential to create noise, air and light pollution, which may limit the use of adjoining land for agricultural uses."
Shire officers said the council already had policies encouraging people to build in other parts of the shire, including fast-growing areas around Castlemaine.
They pointed to a 2012 study that found development outside the town was a key threat to efforts to consolidate it as the main retail and commercial centre in the area.
The officers also raised questions about signage and whether the building would suit the character of the surrounding area.
They did not have concerns about any amenity impacts on a number of "lifestyle" properties near to the site or any extra traffic.
Six members of the public objected to the servo plan, including over traffic safety and amenity concerns.
Other objections included environmental water runoff, though both Goulburn Murray Water and Coliban Water did not object to the service station after reviewing the plans.
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