'Significant' applies to issues raised, not numbers
Why has the matter of the development application policy subject to "significant public objection" remained unresolved since July 2016?
Firstly, the use of the term "significant" in a policy based on numbers is wrong.
"Significant" applies to issues raised and can apply to a single objection.
The council has simplified the assessment process by applying this term to numbers only, conveniently avoiding a description that will engage the public.
At the council meeting on February 12, there were shared opinions about submission numbers relevant to areas with low population density and the inability to reach quota numbers for referral to a council meeting.
It is my understanding from the discussion that councillors agreed that this issue would be addressed in the policy.
I have failed to find any reference to areas with low population numbers.
Has this been omitted from the policy?
The policy contains constant reference to the number 50 or near and adheres to previous unacceptable administration standards.
My understanding from the meeting was the number of objections would be reduced to 15 and with no fine print referring to situations requiring 50 objections.
Is this not the case?
In July 2016, Council administrator Mr Ian Reynolds proposed a number of more than 100 public submissions to be eligible for higher assessment.
Simplification of the assessment process was justified on the basis that it was impossible for a single administrator to personally manage a huge local government area with a population such as ours.
The "significant public objection" policy continues the simplification of the assessment process raising the same questions.
Is the local government area too big for the council and councillors to responsibly administer?
The policy follows the business-per-usual approach, meaning simplification of documents to reduce council's management time and costs, while further disengaging the public.
This leads to a confusing situation.
While on the one hand the council accepts and assesses non-complying applications confirming that development is supported based on vague planning instruments, on the other hand there are clear and precise numbers for submissions.
However when discussing development proposals, variations, trade-offs, bonuses and so on are standard practice.
Let this assessment standard apply to public submissions.
Advertising in the foyer of the Gosford office promotes staff support for the lodgement of development applications.
This service is not provided to objectors.
The policy is convoluted and favours the council not the public.
After years of questionable local government administration, the public will not trust the Central Coast Council and councillors until it has been proven without doubt that trust is well-founded and enduring.
Email, 26 Feb 2018
Norman Harris, Umina