MELVILLE councillors are being advised against changing local planning policy to allow them to take control of the application process for controversial major developments.
In December, councillor Nicholas Pazolli floated two amendments to the existing policy that would allow elected members to call-up any development application comprising 10 or more units for determination by council rather than the City of Melville planning department.
“Currently we have a catch 22 situation where councillors have no opportunity to call-up a major development application once a planning officer has determined the DA to be compliant, even if that compliance is dependent on the application of discretion on often subjective planning parameters,” Cr Pazolli said.
“There have been recent examples like 21 Kishorn Road and the proposed Woolworths development on the corner of Reynolds Road and Canning Highway where independent planning professionals have assessed developments deemed compliant by City officers as being non-compliant.
“The exercise of this kind of judgement should be undertaken by the council in the public forum of a council meeting.”
At the December ordinary meeting of council, councillors directed City officers to compile a report considering a range of amendments to the existing local planning policy, including Cr Pazolli’s suggested changes.
That report supports a new requirement for the details of any major development application to be advertised via onsite signage but urges against changes to the existing method of processing applications.
“The introduction of the ability for elected members to call up any item to council, for any reason, could impact on the ability to provide a responsive and effective planning service and may be seen to undermine the council and State planning policy framework,” the report reads.
It also states that councillors have approved the suite of local planning policies that guide City officers in their determinations.
Melville council will vote on whether to adopt Cr Pazolli’s amendments on February 21.