Objectors may address planning panel for second time
The Planning Panels Secretariat has told an objector to the proposed 160-bed nursing home at 45 Hillview St, Woy Woy, that he will have another opportunity to address the Joint Regional Planning Panel when it reconvenes to consider its decision on the application.
Umina resident Mr Norm Harris wrote to the Secretariat claiming that the Panel had not followed procedure when it allowed the developer to address the panel for more than an hour, well beyond the 15 minutes stipulated.
He said objectors were not given the same opportunity.
Secretariat manager Mr Stuart Withington confirmed that the operational procedures stated that "individual submitters" were given three minutes to speak and community groups 10 minutes.
"The speaking time for the applicant/proponent, including their consultant(s), will be at the discretion of the chair, but will generally be 15 minutes."
Mr Withington told Mr Harris that panel meetings were not an opportunity for speakers to debate issues or cross examine each other.
"The meetings are for the panel to hear the views of those wishing to address it and for the panel to clarify issues with objectors and the applicant,'' he said.
"It is open to the panel to continue to question the applicant for as long as it needs to get clarity on the matters concerning it prior to making its decision.''
"As you are aware, you will have another opportunity to make your concerns known to the Panel when it holds a further public meeting on the proposal."
A media statement issued on March 6 by the NSW Planning and Environment department stated: "Both the applicant and Council are required to address the matters outlined in the Record of Deferral within six weeks from the meeting.
"Based on this, Council are expected to provide the supplementary assessment report to the Panel shortly.
"Once this is received, the Panel will decide on the matter and publish its decision online."
At the conclusion of the public Panel hearing in January, the panel voted three to one to give the proposal conceptual support but it wanted more information or changes before it made its final decision.
The Panel wanted more time to consider a number of items.
It asked for an amended submission from the applicant on why it should allow variations to the planning controls.
It asked for verification that requirements of the Gosford Local Environment Plan had been met.
It wanted to know whether current obligations regarding bushland conservation outcomes had been met and that the bushland conservation outcome related to the proposal was equivalent to or better than the existing regime.
It wanted confirmation that a planned boardwalk would not be built in the conservation land, which the applicant verbally supported.
It also sought improvements to the indoor-outdoor relationship for residents and visitors and passive recreation on site.
The developer sought variations to planning provisions to allow a three-storey building in an area permitting only single and two-storey buildings and to exceed the designated floor-space ration.
Objections to the proposal included that it would be out of character with the area, that its bulk, scale and intensity would be too great, that it would create traffic and flooding problems, and that it would detrimentally effect the Umina Coastal Sandplain Woodland endangered bushland on the site.
Letter, 26 Feb 2019
Stuart Withington, Planning Panels Secretariat
Media statement, 6 Mar 2019
Courtney Taylor, NSW Planning and Environment