The number of submissions required for a development application (DA) to be referred to a public Central Coast Council meeting has been dropped from 50 to 15, following a debate in Central Coast Council on August 13.
The proposed amendment to the Policy for the Determination of DAs Subject to Signifi cant Public Objection, was placed on public exhibition with a threshold of 15 objections for automatic referral. However, a report from Council’s Environment and Planning Directorate had recommended the adoption by Councillors of a threshold of 25 submissions. Clr Jeff Sundstrom amended the staff recommendation back to 15 submissions and it was that resolution which was passed by Council. According to the staff report: “This draft Policy seeks to provide clear guidance and consistency as to when development applications that receive public submissions by way of an objection, will be automatically referred to Council for determination, and when they will be determined by Council staff. “Irrespective of how many submissions are received to a development application, two Councillors may at any time, prior to the determination of the development application, request a development application to be considered and determined by Council.” The former Gosford Council had a threshold of five submissions to trigger referral of a DA to Council for determination.
The former Wyong Council had a threshold of 50 submissions to trigger a Councillor Business Update to all Councillors and a threshold of 100 submissions to trigger a report to Council. In November, 2016, when Central Coast Council was under Administration, the policy for referral of a DA to Councillors was changed to the requirement that Council received 50 or more letters of objection. According to the latest staff report: “Having reviewed the community feedback on the draft policy, it was considered there was merit in reducing the threshold from 50. “However, it is recognised that the threshold proposed in the draft policy (15) may have not achieved an appropriate balance between applications of high community interest and ensuring development applications are not unnecessarily delayed. “Accordingly, a threshold of 25 objections is recommended so that the Policy is consistent with thresholds set by the Department of Planning and Environment, and those which are set under the Local Government Regulation,” it said.
Source: Agenda item 3.1, Aug 13 Central Coast Council ordinary meeting Jackie Pearson, journalist