Sunday, January 22, 2012

Time to Respond to Big Developments

Hornsby Shire Council argues that 21 days is sufficient notice for interested parties to respond to DAs.  The counter to that is, that it is Council's responsibility to ensure that all affected individuals are notified of the receipt of the DA.

Clearly for a car port or a swimming pool, Council can send letters to the next door neighbours and post a sign outside the property, but clearly this is inappropriate for a $17M development affecting the whole of Beecroft and Cheltenham and posing a significant precedent to all residents.  Council's Notification and Exhibition Development Control Plan stipulates that the DA shall be exhibited for "A MINIMUM of 21 days".  So Council's planning officer Garry Mahony clearly has authority to extend the exhibition period if enough people request this.

One response to our survey covers this issue in response to Q6:
"We only learnt about the development proposal via this Civic Trust email and a small article in the Northern District Times.  There would be no normal  statutory obligation to notify non-adjacent residents.  However, in the current situation of consideration of high rise development precincts in Hornsby Shire, we all have an interest in what happens in our local community".

In other words technically Council is entitled to limit both notification and exhibition time, but they should recognise the huge community interest that will be generated once the general population finds out about what the Shire has done.  So far hardly any respondents to the Trust's survey say they heard about the DA through Shire communications. 

This Hannah Street precedent bodes very badly for the zoned development of the Beecroft Shopping Village.  We can now see the council will only give 21 days to respond when that DA is submitted.

If you join the BCCT, and give us your email, we can contact you as soon as we hear about such DAs.

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