Planning Bill Passes NSW Upper House – 28th November 2013

The Government’s planning law reforms have passed the state upper house after amendments with only the Greens voting against it.

Greens MLC David Shoebridge describes it as an “historic failure of planning reform“.

Local Greens Councillor Murray Matson says that although amended the legislation will still be a problem for Councils trying to enforce local planning controls such as Randwick’s Local Environmental Plan 2012.

He warns that Strategic Compatibility Certificates will allow overreaching developers to bypass the Council plan. He said this week,

Strategic Compatibility Certificates can now bypass our local planning controls, which is hardly in the spirit of returning planning controls to local Councils.”

He stated that the old Act had obliged developers to come to the Council to justify non conforming applications. He explained.

Up to now applications that were over our height or floor space ratios had to convince us that it would be unreasonable or unnecessary for those limits to be imposed on them. We just knocked one back this week at 2-8 Anzac Parade Kensington that was too big by 283 square metres because they were unable to mount a convincing argument.

He says developers can now bypass Council by appealing to higher level regional plans that could be set up by the Government. He elaborated,

Strategic compatibility certificates can be issued by a regional planning panel or by the NSW Planning Director-General. All it would take is for the Government to set up a regional plan over the Council allowing greater heights and densities than those under our Local Environmental Plan 2012. We would be bypassed!

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