Vincent to push for end to DAP rulings

THE City of Vincent will advocate to abolish the Development Assessment Panel (DAP).

A council report said because of the majority of unelected membership, DAPs were not democratic bodies representing ratepayers and accordingly, they did not reflect the aspirations or values of the community.

“Previous decisions made by the Metro West Joint Development Assessment Panel have gone well beyond the purpose, intent and application of relevant local planning policies adopted by the City of Vincent,” the report said.

Councillors supported Mayor John Carey and Cr Emma Cole’s motion but then deferred its decision on whether to advocate several reforms at a March 8 meeting.

Mr Carey said DAP had received recommendations that had not been in accordance with Vincent policies.

“I am a realist and a pragmatist,” Mr Carey said.

“Probably in this political context we won’t see DAPS abolished but we (Mr Carey and Cr Cole) are suggesting these are all potential reforms we can put forward.”

Cr Cole said it had been argued DAPs were required to ensure local governments delivered on density targets.

“It’s my belief elected members should be decision makers – councils are invested in local communities,” Cr Cole said.

“We are well on track to meeting our density targets and I believe we have a proven track record.”

City of Vincent chief executive Len Kosova will complete a review of the DAP with a report due in April.

The reforms included abolishing the opt-in mechanism, equal membership of DAP and local government-appointed specialists, ensuring the DAP agenda was published at least 10 days before the meeting and providing a public template for ratepayers to give feedback as part of the community consultation process.

Planning Minister John Day said the DAP system was working.

“Since being introduced in 2011 there have been 994 DAP applications – only a small number of these have been contentious, most have been decided in accordance with the local government’s planning recommendations,” Mr Day said.

“DAPs, like local councils, must make decisions based on a local government’s planning scheme and policies.”

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