Mayor criticises non-complying development approvals
Central Coast mayor Cr Jane Smith has criticised the number of non-complying development applications being approved by the Council.
She said findings from ICAC reports showed that it was when councils did not enforce their own planning controls that it created problems.
Cr Smith said it was extremely disappointing "that our community spends a lot of time and effort in developing and consulting and being a part of the development of local environment plans and development control plans with the expectation that our council will enforce those planning guidelines and controls".
She said Gosford Council had a reputation for not enforcing its planning controls.
"So I had hoped that, as a new council, we could provide certainty to our community and certainty to developers by adopting a decision-making process that did reflect our community's expectations from being involved in that planning," she said.
Most recent applications for multiple dwelling developments on the Peninsula have been approved, despite not complying with the council's development control plan (DCP).
"Although the DCP perhaps does not have the strength of a local environment plan and one non-compliance may be considered acceptable to have so many non-compliances I would think sets a poor precedent for future development," Smith said.
Cr Kyle MacGregor said: "The most important issue we are dealing with here is what is the point of having planning controls if people won't comply with them.
"I believe we should be getting people to do their best to comply," Cr MacGregor said.
"In the event there is massive variations and they are not able to comply I think we should have a very stringent look at that," he said.
The councillors were speaking at the final Council meeting for 2018, successfully arguing for the refusal of not a Peninsula development but a Terrigal development which council planners had recommended be approved.
Cr Smith's grounds for refusal were based on nine non-compliances with the development control plan.
The non-compliances she listed were similar to, or the same as, non-compliances with a growing number of residential developments that are being approved by Council on the Peninsula.
"To approve this development when there is such non-compliance with the DCP would be to create an expectation for similar concessions," Cr Smith said.
Cr Smith's reasons for refusal included non-compliance with setbacks, communal space, deep soil zones, and side boundary setbacks, activation of a laneway.
Such non-compliances have been regularly accepted, and used as precedents, when included in Peninsula development applications but Cr Smith appears to have drawn a line in the sand when it came to the Terrigal development.
Cr Smith said she was interested in reaching out to the Peninsula community to learn more about their concerns regarding the number of developments applications lodged with Council that did not comply with the current Local Environment Plan or Development Control Plan.
Central Coast Council agenda, 10 Dec 2018
Reporter: Jackie Pearson