THE Joondalup council has deferred making a decision on requesting to advertise a draft new planning framework on infill development for one month.
In November 2017, the council committed to preparing a framework following growing community concerns with the quality of developments being built at a higher density.
The framework is comprised of the draft Place Neighbourhoods Local Planning Policy, with ‘housing opportunity areas’ now known as ‘Place Neighbourhoods’, and a draft amendment to the City’s Local Planning Scheme 3.
A report was presented to the council at its briefing last week, to seek approval to advertise both documents for public consultation.
At the briefing, some residents requested the decision be deferred to give them more time to assess the “imposing document” and to allow for more community engagement.
“Three days is clearly not enough time to comprehend the outcomes and impacts of this new framework,” Tim Green said.
“We need at least three weeks to consult, ask questions and seek clarity.”
Dr Green said there was “significant confusion” and several issues had still not been addressed and it would be more difficult to make changes to the documents once they were initiated.
Cr Christopher May asked if residents were aware that deferring a decision for another month could result in more development applications coming through but Dr Green said they had “considered the risk” and believed the delay was not too much given they had “waited so long already”.
Planning and community development director Dale Page reminded residents that once the council approved advertising the documents, the City still needed to seek approval from the Environmental Protection Authority and the WA Planning Commission (WAPC), and they would need to be advertised for 60 days.
She said deferring to seek permission to advertise would be a further delay when “the community is urging us to move ahead quickly”.
She also said the council would still be able to make changes after the documents were initiated.
Joondalup chief executive Garry Hunt further clarified that seeking permission to advertise did not stop engagement but helped it.
“All manner of engagement can happen between initiating the documents for advertising and the WAPC giving us permission to advertise,” he said.
At the meeting, Mayor Albert Jacob moved to defer the decision for one month.
He said he was “very keen” to have the opportunity to brief the Planning Minister on the draft framework and he only received a response about a meeting late last week.
“The infill targets are driven at a State level … and they are also largely constrained by State policy and direction such as close to activity centres and train stations,” he said.
“I think these are the right parameters but when the City receives criticism for them, I need to know if we have interpreted them correctly.
“It’s very important, noting the community’s concern, for the council to discuss this at a State level before we make a decision whether to progress it or not because they are the final decision-makers.”
Mr Jacob then called for a report to consider establishing a community reference group that would be facilitated by an external party to the City, independently chaired and consist of two representatives from each Place Neighbourhood.
The group would be briefed on the draft new planning framework and would then communicate the information to other members of the community.
It would also help to prepare submissions on the draft framework once formal consultation starts.
The motion to defer and call for reports were unanimously approved, with both items to be presented to the council in May.