Extraordinary Council Meeting
24 May 2016
Subject: Administrator's Minute: Improving Planning Practices for the new Inner West Council
File Ref: 16/4718/58005.16
From Richard Pearson, Administrator
It is RECOMMENDED that the Administrator request a report from staff be brought forward to the next meeting of Council which proposes the establishment of an IHAP across the Inner West Council area, the categories of applications which should be referred to the IHAP and opportunities to extend electronic DA tracking across the LGA.
As a result of creation of the new Inner West Council, there are different planning approaches in place for the determination of some categories of Development Application and the tracking of Development Applications. Leichhardt Council had in place an Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) for the consideration and determination of certain categories of Development Applications, whereas in Marrickville and Ashfield equivalent applications were determined by Council. Leichhardt and Marrickville also had in place electronic DA tracking systems, whereas Ashfield was developing but had not yet finalised such a system.
IHAPs are comprised of independent experts and community representatives and in my view add increased rigour, predictability and transparency to the assessment of DAs. There is no diminution of community involvement in the assessment of DAs where there is an IHAP in place, and indeed arguably the reverse as a result of having a community representative on the panel.
Electronic tracking of DAs allows all participants in the development assessment process, including the community and applicants, to have access to key documents associated with particular DAs and to keep abreast of progress with applications.
It is requested that a report be brought forward for the next meeting of Council which looks at the opportunity to extend an IHAP across the entire new local government area, including the types of applications which should be considered by the IHAP and membership, including if necessary opportunities for additional community representatives. It is also requested that the report consider the timing for extending electronic tracking of DAs across the new LGA with a view to implementing such as system as soon as possible.