A father and son have been ordered to close an illegal cheese factory, run from their suburban backyard.
A father and son have been ordered to close an illegal cheese factory, run from their suburban backyard.

Man operates illegal cheese factory in suburban backyard

A man who was operating an illegal cheese factory from his West Croydon home with his son - a former mayoral candidate - has been ordered to close the business.

The Environment, Resources and Development Court found John Kitsis and son Paul - who ran for mayor of Charles Sturt in 2018 on policies including raising Centrelink payments - did not have approval for the dairy operation at their Cedar Avenue home.

A garage and rumpus room at the back of the property had also been illegally converted into a home.

In April 2016, John Kitsis lodged a food business notification form with Charles Sturt Council, which sent him back a notification that it had been received.

When council officers visited the property on April 17, 2018, after a complaint from a neighbour about fire safety, the father and son said they had approval for a dairy business, but had not yet started trading.

The council then made multiple attempts over several months to inspect the property, but were not given access.

John Kitsis was granted an extension until September 2018 for the inspection.

Meanwhile, he lodged a development application for a carport and veranda, to enable him to run the business, that was refused in May 2019.

He told the council he would pursue it for alleged breaches of development laws if staff continued to question him.

He again refused council officers access to his land in August 2019, using "verbal threats" and "offensive words", according to court documents, after which the council gained a court warrant to inspect his property.

The father and son were then summonsed to court for a conference with Charles Sturt in December.

Five days before that meeting, they said they could not attend because of "headaches, stress and anxiety".

They again said they were too sick to attend a rescheduled conference in February and that "there has to be equal protection to attend court in accordance of human rights law".

The pair was ordered by Judge Michael Durrant to stop the cheese business and use of the garage and rumpus room as a home.

However, Judge Durrant refused to award costs to Charles Sturt Council, because the notification in response to the food business application "was presented in such a way that it was capable … of conveying an inadvertent but reasonable impression that the business … had been approved".

It is understood Mr Kitsis made halloumi, which he sold locally.

 

Originally published as Man operates illegal cheese factory in suburban backyard


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