Council appoints panel, but records its objection
Central Coast Council has appointed its Local Planning Panel, but at the same time has recorded a resolution that "Council opposed the implementation of the panel".
The panel was appointed for a period of 14 months, rather than the recommended three years.
It has appointed 12 community members, including Anthony Tuxworth, Stephen Glenn, Lynette Hunt, Geoffrey Mitchell, Paul Dignam, Glenn Watts, Scott McGrath, Marc Elsie and David Kitson, who were chosen from expressions of interest submitted.
It is understood that none are from the Peninsula.
The expert members will include Gregory Flynn, Sue Francis, Stephen Leachley, Linda McClure, Grant Christmas and Garry Fielding, who were chosen from a field of 220 provided by the State Government.
Council staff kept the background of the appointees confidential in attachments given only to the councillors, not the public.
The chair Ms Donna Rygate and two alternate chairs, Mr Jason Perica and Ms Kara Krason, had already been appointed by NSW Planning Minister Mr Rob Stokes.
Before coming to its decision, deputy mayor Cr Jane Smith put forward the list of 12 community members for the panel which included only one name from the list the staff had recommended.
Cr Louise Greenaway said it was important to record the council's opposition to the panel, because she had been contacted by despondent community members who felt the panel would make development decisions less visible, it would cost council more money and be less accountable.
Cr Smith said: "Councillors are accountable to the community - the panel members are not - and I think that's the great loss.
"The community should be rightly outraged by this process.
"Council will now need to look at its role in representing the community in this process."
Cr Troy Marquart tried to get the original list of community names passed but his amendment was lost.
When the final vote was counted, he and four other councillors abstained. They were Crs Greg Best, Jilly Pilon, Rebecca Gale and Bruce McLachlan.
Cr Burke voted against it.
Cr Holstein did not take part in the debate as a family member had been one of the names staff had put forward for the community member.
The planning panel will meet with two expert members and one community member from the appointed pools.
The planning panel will now decide development applications that are contentious, depart from standards by more than 10 percent or are sensitive such as those involving heritage, liquor licences, or more than three storeys.
Council staff will deal with lesser developments by delegated authority.
Regional significant and State significant developments are already out of councillors' control.
Central Coast Council agenda 3.2, 11 May 2020