Threshold of 25 objections is recommended for a DA

Councillor Kyle MacGregor speaks up at a council meeting. Image archiveCouncillor Kyle MacGregor speaks up at a council meeting. Image archive

The number of submissions required for a development application (DA) to be referred to a public Central Coast Council meeting may be dropped from the current 50 to 25, if a recommendation to the August 13 meeting is adopted.

The proposed amendment to the Policy for the Determination of DAs Subject to Significant 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 has recommended the adoption by Councillors of a threshold of 25 submissions. If passed, the recommendation will “establish a threshold for automatic referral of DAs to Council for determination, where 25 or more submissions objecting to the proposal are received”. In full, the staff recommendation that will be debated on August 13 said: “That Council adopt the ‘Policy for the Determination of Development Applications Subject to Public Objection’ (as amended).

“Specific amendments to the policy include: any application receiving 25 or more submissions by way of objection is to be reported to Council for determination. “Any application receiving petitions of objection with 50 or more signatures requires the preparation of a Councillor Business Update. “Any application receiving 10 to 24 submissions requires the preparation of a Councillor Business Update. “Removal of the word “Significant” from the title of the Policy. “That Council provide a public notice with regard to the adoption of the policy and that Council advise those who made a submission of the decision.”

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 that 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

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