Local planning panels to be mandated across Sydney and Wollongong

Local planning panels to be mandated across Sydney and Wollongong.

  • Local planning panels will be mandated across Sydney and Wollongong from 1 March 2018.
  • These panels –not councils -will determine most new developments with a capital investment value between $5 million and $30 million.
  • Local planning panels will also:

    • determine applications for new developments and modifications to existing developments that:

      • have received 10 or more objections;
      • are accompanied by a proposed voluntary planning agreement;
      • seek to depart from a relevant ‘development standard’ by more than 10%; or
      • relate to ‘high-risk development types’, including proposals involving the demolition of heritage items, some residential flat buildings and ‘designated development’; and
    • provide advice on planning proposals referred to the panel by councils or the Minister.
  • It is open for councils outside of Sydney and Wollongong to create similar local planning panels.
  • Developments with a value of more than $30 million will now be determined by regional planning panels. This is an increase from the $20 million threshold, but the reforms will not impact pending applications.
  • The reforms associated with local planning panels are different in two key respects to the proposed reforms included in the Consultation Draft Bill released in January which we previously reported on here

    • Firstly, joint local planning panels, being panels to determine applications across two or more council areas, may be a created at the direction of the Minister; and
    • Secondly, council’s influence on the composition of local planning panels will be more limited –panels will comprise three independent experts and a community representative nominated by the council, however that representative cannot be the mayor or a councillor.
  • The Minister will release more details of panel procedures in the coming months.
  • The reforms reflect the calls from a number of stakeholders to removepolitics from high value development proposals.

Consultant Town Planners