Development Assessment Panel Charter Review

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Consultation has concluded

One of Council’s key regulatory roles is to assess and determine development applications for local development proposals. While most decisions are made by planning staff under delegation, there is a need for an open decision-making process for applications where submissions have been received following neighbour notification and / or public exhibition of a development application.

Council’s Development Assessment Panel (DAP) plays an important role in the local development assessment process, providing a forum for decisions in these circumstances.

The current DAP Charter has now been in operation for approximately 2 years. During this time, feedback has been received from proponents and submitters involved in the DAP meeting process that suggests further opportunity exists to improve the DAP model and charter.

Further to the above, the NSW government released the findings of a governance review on the NSW planning system, (including planning panels), ‘the Kaldas report’, in 2018. This report provided a series of findings and recommendations that reinforce the important role in which planning panels play in delivering transparent planning decisions on contentious applications. Some key points in this report relevant to Council’s DAP model include the need to regularly review Panel membership, rotating panel members and setting clear meeting procedures. The report also recommends Panels should be able to deliberate in private before making a public decision. However, this would potentially appear as a less transparent process than Council’s current DAP, which deliberates on decision in the presence of the public.

Noting the above commentary, a draft amended DAP Charter has been developed along the lines of the following principles:

  1. Review composition of DAP membership, so as to provide for a greater pool of members.
  2. Rotate independent members on the panel from a pool of appointed members.
  3. Review the appointed DAP members biennially via formal expression of interest process.
  4. Not have Council development assessment staff as a voting member on the DAP.
  5. Tightening meeting procedures by requiring speakers to register to speak and time limiting submissions, similar to a Council meeting (it is considered that any amended Charter would need to be supported by improved literature made available to both applicants and objectors on how the DAP operates so as to better manage expectations).
  6. Focusing DAP member considerations to issues raised in submissions.

There is also considered to be a need to review the thresholds for applications to be referred to the DAP. This would require a review of staff delegations noting that the DAP Charter simply references those applications as being outside staff delegations to be referred to DAP. A review of staff delegations will be part of a future report to Council, should the draft charter be endorsed.

The draft Charter as presented is considered to provide a further step to improving the transparency of Council’s DAP. The proposed draft has not proposed to increase the number of independent members on the DAP and adopt the formal Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) model of the State as this would come at a significantly greater cost and is not necessarily considered to provide for a significantly better operating model.

Have Your Say

The Draft Charter is on public exhibition from Monday, 17th February to Sunday, 15th March 2020 and is available to view in the document library to the right (or below if viewing this page on a mobile device) and at Council’s offices in Port Macquarie, Wauchope and Laurieton.

During the exhibition period, all interested persons are encouraged to view the Draft Charter and provide written comments. All comments received will be reported to a future Council meeting for consideration before a final decision is made.

Please note, any submission may be made public. Contact details remain confidential; however let us know if you would like your name to remain confidential too.

Submissions

Please share your thoughts with us on the Draft Charter by:

  • Completing the online submission form below; or
  • Sending an email to council@pmhc.nsw.gov.au; or
  • Posting your response to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, PO Box 84, Port Macquarie NSW 2444.

You don’t need to write your comments in any particular style or format, as long as you tell us what you think.

Comments should be received no later than 5pm, Sunday, 15th March 2020.

Further details may be obtained by contacting Dan Croft, Group Manager Development Assessment, on (02) 6581 8111 or by email at council@pmhc.nsw.gov.au

One of Council’s key regulatory roles is to assess and determine development applications for local development proposals. While most decisions are made by planning staff under delegation, there is a need for an open decision-making process for applications where submissions have been received following neighbour notification and / or public exhibition of a development application.

Council’s Development Assessment Panel (DAP) plays an important role in the local development assessment process, providing a forum for decisions in these circumstances.

The current DAP Charter has now been in operation for approximately 2 years. During this time, feedback has been received from proponents and submitters involved in the DAP meeting process that suggests further opportunity exists to improve the DAP model and charter.

Further to the above, the NSW government released the findings of a governance review on the NSW planning system, (including planning panels), ‘the Kaldas report’, in 2018. This report provided a series of findings and recommendations that reinforce the important role in which planning panels play in delivering transparent planning decisions on contentious applications. Some key points in this report relevant to Council’s DAP model include the need to regularly review Panel membership, rotating panel members and setting clear meeting procedures. The report also recommends Panels should be able to deliberate in private before making a public decision. However, this would potentially appear as a less transparent process than Council’s current DAP, which deliberates on decision in the presence of the public.

Noting the above commentary, a draft amended DAP Charter has been developed along the lines of the following principles:

  1. Review composition of DAP membership, so as to provide for a greater pool of members.
  2. Rotate independent members on the panel from a pool of appointed members.
  3. Review the appointed DAP members biennially via formal expression of interest process.
  4. Not have Council development assessment staff as a voting member on the DAP.
  5. Tightening meeting procedures by requiring speakers to register to speak and time limiting submissions, similar to a Council meeting (it is considered that any amended Charter would need to be supported by improved literature made available to both applicants and objectors on how the DAP operates so as to better manage expectations).
  6. Focusing DAP member considerations to issues raised in submissions.

There is also considered to be a need to review the thresholds for applications to be referred to the DAP. This would require a review of staff delegations noting that the DAP Charter simply references those applications as being outside staff delegations to be referred to DAP. A review of staff delegations will be part of a future report to Council, should the draft charter be endorsed.

The draft Charter as presented is considered to provide a further step to improving the transparency of Council’s DAP. The proposed draft has not proposed to increase the number of independent members on the DAP and adopt the formal Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) model of the State as this would come at a significantly greater cost and is not necessarily considered to provide for a significantly better operating model.

Have Your Say

The Draft Charter is on public exhibition from Monday, 17th February to Sunday, 15th March 2020 and is available to view in the document library to the right (or below if viewing this page on a mobile device) and at Council’s offices in Port Macquarie, Wauchope and Laurieton.

During the exhibition period, all interested persons are encouraged to view the Draft Charter and provide written comments. All comments received will be reported to a future Council meeting for consideration before a final decision is made.

Please note, any submission may be made public. Contact details remain confidential; however let us know if you would like your name to remain confidential too.

Submissions

Please share your thoughts with us on the Draft Charter by:

  • Completing the online submission form below; or
  • Sending an email to council@pmhc.nsw.gov.au; or
  • Posting your response to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, PO Box 84, Port Macquarie NSW 2444.

You don’t need to write your comments in any particular style or format, as long as you tell us what you think.

Comments should be received no later than 5pm, Sunday, 15th March 2020.

Further details may be obtained by contacting Dan Croft, Group Manager Development Assessment, on (02) 6581 8111 or by email at council@pmhc.nsw.gov.au

Development Assessment Panel Charter Review Sumbission

Consultation has concluded