Planning democracy? Not from this council

Letters to the editor

Mathew Wales’ claim that reducing the number of DA objections required to trigger a referral to Council will “impede the orderly development we need” is, of course, patent nonsense.

Orderly development is not a planning policy and, if Mr Wales considers what is happening in the Peninsula’s backyards to be orderly development, he really needs some help. Ad hoc, ill-conceived, poorly designed granny flats make a mockery of the so-called planning of the Peninsula. You can’t drive down some lanes at night and rubbish is piled in heaps beside the broken down cars, while residents have to drag their rubbish bins half a block to the nearest side street for the weekly pick up. Mr Wales’ further assertion that “Council staff who assess and liaise with applicants to ensure that such developments meet all the require code and standards” (Insulting to building industry and council planners, Peninsula News 439) is astonishing.

Mr Wales in his haste to read his and others published letters and comment has missed your front page articles on a monthly basis. For example, “Another noncomplying application is lodged,” Peninsula News 439. Developers are so used to getting any shonky buildings they like through Gosford Council they aren’t even bothering to give the council the courtesy. Why would they? This Central Coast Council is no better, just Gosford Council but bigger and more disinterested. While developers are flaunting council processes, council and developer spruikers like Mr Wales are actively seeking to stop residents involving themselves in the democratic process.

Considering that the 15 objections required to bring a non-complying development before council is inadequate (because all development is good development), these people now want a return to 50 responses before they act. The reality is that only the near neighbours, typically five adjoining, are notified so someone has to have the time and nous to wrangle up some objectors and you usually get a fortnight. Once the objections are in, that is it. You then have to constantly ring the planner responsible for updates while the developer reads your submissions then has access to Council staff to “assess and liaise” ways around your objections. Objections are usually “ill-informed” and variations are conveniently allowed which are invariably “well-founded and minor”. Objectors then find out about it by mail or by reading about it in the paper. In my recent experience, a “minor” variation allows a two storey monstrosity to shade my entire property and my neighbour’s breakfast area at mid-winter. The non-complying side setback should be double what is being allowed. Due process? Planning democracy? Not from this council.

Email, 8 Mar 2018 Bryan Ellis, Umina