Residents of Enniskerry and public representatives have expressed vehement opposition to plans for a development of 219 residential units at Kilgarron Hill.
'If this development goes ahead, it will destroy the natural heritage character of Enniskerry village and result in reputational damage to County Wicklow as the Garden of Ireland,' said residents in a statement.
The proposal consists of 135 houses, 84 apartments and a childcare facility.
A similar application for the same site has previously been refused, on the grounds that there were environmental concerns surrounding Knocksink Woods.
Members of Bray Municipal District heard last week that An Bord Pleanála had informed developers that their original plans for under 200 units were too low-density. Members were also told that the board does not consider it a material contravention of the Local Development Plan to have density higher than allowed in the plan.
Residents of Enniskerry said that in their view the development will irrevocably alter the intricate groundwater systems that feed the petrifying springs which are very sensitive to any disturbances in the land.
They are also concerned that Knocksink Wood, a Special Area of Conservation, would be vulnerable to habitat and biodiversity loss from human activities, that there could be potential flooding, and that a precedent would be set for further large scale developments.
They say that the development will 'inevitably lead to infrastructural problems for the locality as we do not have the roads, lighting, paths, water and waste systems in place to handle a development of this size.'
The application is for a strategic housing development, meaning that the decision will be made by An Bord Pleanála rather than Wicklow County Council. However, the chief executive of Wicklow County Council will make a report to the board.
The views of members of Bray Municipal District will be included in that report. They include a request for a full environmental assessment, the view that the roads will not be able to cope with the increased traffic, and that the density of the development is too high.
In their current application, the applicant Capami Limited addresses reasons for the previous refusal. They said that they have a hydro-geological report and other reports which shows the development will not interfere with the eastern spring cluster in Knocksink Wood.