Government reviews planning provision variations
The NSW Government is reviewing the provision in its planning standards which allows "consent authorities, such as local councils, to approve a variation to development standards".
The Department of Planning is proposing changes to clause 4.6 of the Standard Instrument LEP "to clarify the requirements for varying development standards, and improve transparency and accountability in the planning system".
The review has not been prompted by community submissions, but by "feedback from council and industry stakeholders".
The department had been told that "a convoluted and unclear application of clause 4.6, contributing to delays and cost burdens for applicants and councils in the development application process and resourcing implications for local councils and the courts".
The department also noted "the recent NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry into ... Canterbury Council" had raised "concerns that varying development standards can dilute transparency in the planning system and subsequently open up opportunities for corruption".
The department claimed that "the proposed revised clause 4.6 will ensure that applications to vary development standards have a greater focus on the planning outcomes of the proposed development and are consistent with the strategic context of the site".
"The proposed revised clause 4.6 gives weight to the relevant planning objectives that have been developed by councils in consultation with communities and ensures variations are considered in that context.
"The Explanation of Intended Effect also seeks feedback on proposed measures to increase transparency, accountability and probity by strengthening council reporting requirements on variation decisions, in line with ICAC recommendations."
Further details can be found at https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/variations-review.
Website, 17 Apr 2021
Variations review, NSW Planning Portal