One of the most challenging areas of work for Council in coming years will be balancing requests for development approval against the sentiment of preserving village atmosphere throughout the Shire.
In recent months, Council staff have spent countless hours on assessing and analysing development applications that have been submitted for apartment blocks in Crescent Head and South West Rocks.
This work often involves multiple meetings with developers and architects to consider developments against the planning regulations and to provide advice on how Development Control Plans and Local Environmental Plans are applied.
In conjunction with the contact with developers, Council staff often answer questions from community members making submissions regarding developments that are on public exhibition and then assess those submissions against the planning regulations. Depending on the complexities, cost and variations to legislation for each development, the application is then determined either under staff delegation, by the Council or in some cases by the Regional Planning Panel.
It is often hard for community, and particularly residents immediately adjacent to proposed developments, to understand the complexities of planning regulation and what matters come into consideration for determining applications for new developments.
Council encourages residents to review the planning guides, the area master plans and the environmental guidelines.
Manager of Development and Compliance, Graham Snow, said Council has introduced a duty planner service to help increase the level of information available to the public and to help explain the complexities of planning regulations.
“There is often significant information in reports to Council about how all these matters are taken into consideration in forming recommendations and I’d encourage interested residents to take the time to read these reports,” Mr Snow said.
“Council is working to increase our level of community engagement and work with people living in our towns and villages to understand what they love about their areas and how they see the future. These conversations help guide Council’s planning documents and therefore influence decisions on planning and change.”