WANNEROO Council has voted to support third party appeal rights against development assessment panel decisions, but not by residents.
At its February meeting, the council reaffirmed its 2017 position to advise the WA Local Government Association that it did not support comprehensive third party appeal rights.
However, it said there was merit to introduce those rights where decisions were made by panels and if they extended to a responsible authority such as the City in cases where the panel’s decision was inconsistent with its recommendation.
“The WALGA preferred model would allow community members and public authorities who have made submissions on a proposal assessed by DAPs to then lodge a third party appeal if they feel aggrieved by a decision made by a DAP,” the February council report said.
“Administration’s recommendation is that third party appeal rights should not extend to community members and public authorities.”
The report said reasons for the City’s position included that there was sufficient time for people to raise concerns during consultation, and they could ask to give presentations at panel meetings.
It said local government had a “more holistic understanding” of issues and could represent a wider community, while community members would be more likely to represent their own interests.
It said responsible authorities were also “less inclined to lodge a third party appeal on emotive or vexatious grounds”.
The report said the City currently received about 10 appeals a year, which would probably increase if third party appeal rights were introduced.
It said the cost to respond to each State Administrative Tribunal appeal varied, but could sometimes be dealt with in house as an operational cost.
“When the City does engage external consultants to assist in responding to a SAT appeal, monetary costs on the City typically vary from $10,000 to in excess of $20,000,” it said.
DAP decision prompts review of strategic development sites
At the same meeting, councillor Russell Driver and Deputy Mayor Nat Sangalli successfully moved a motion on notice to review the planning framework for landmark sites in the City to introduce tighter development controls.
A panel member, Cr Driver said he realised through a few decisions that there were “sensitive and strategic” sites where uses were allowed under planning schemes but did not necessarily suit future planning.
He cited last year’s decision to approve a BP fuel station on Yanchep Beach Road because it was defined as a convenience store, despite residents objecting to it.
“We’ve had some backlash through the community to this,” he said.
Both he and Cr Sangalli welcomed a move to change the definition and restrict ‘convenience store’ use to a corner shop so it could not be used for petrol or service stations.
Mayor Tracey Roberts said she had been “incredibly disappointed” council chambers were used for a panel meeting last November when it considered the Yanchep BP plans and asked chief executive Daniel Simms to not allow any panel decisions in that room.
Responding to questions from Community News, the mayor said panel meetings usually took place in the Leschenaultia room at the civic centre, which could accommodate up to 50 people and currently had 31 seats.
Mrs Roberts said the large number of submissions (173) received during consultation and responses to invitations to attend the meeting meant the City decided to hold the November 19 meeting in the larger capacity council chambers.
Mrs Roberts said the Banksia Room could accommodate up to 200 people if needed for future panel meetings.
“As JDAP is a decision making body of the State Government through the WA Planning Commission the use of the Banksia Room and not the council chambers will assist in ensuring that our community understand the decisions are made by JDAP and are not decisions of the City of Wanneroo Council,” she said.