City of Belmont set to make a call on third party appeals against development decisions

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE City of Belmont will clarify its position on third party appeals against development decisions next week after previously showing some resistance to the concept.

The WA Local Government Association (WALGA) has put forward its preferred model, which would allow councils and residents to appeal Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) decisions.

Currently, only applicants can appeal against JDAP decisions that go through the State Administrative Tribunal.

At Tuesday’s briefing session, the issue was discussed with Mayor Phil Marks showing some concern that the council would foot the bill for appeals on behalf of residents or be put in the “awkward” situation of declining to do so.

Five models were debated following consultation with local governments, including a broader version that would have allowed appeals against development application approval made by local governments, JDAPs, the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority and the WA Planning Commission.

The City’s reporting officer recommended that the council support WALGA’s preferred model, although it made a submission to the association in which it claimed “widening the scope for third parties to be involved is unlikely to bring further significant benefit to planning decisions.”

Chief executive John Christie said the submission provided a technical officer’s view on implementing broad provisions for third party intervention.

“It was considered that third party appeals are not as constructive as dedicating resources to ensure that planning schemes and policies are developed in a contemporary and adequately prescriptive manner,” he said.

There have been occasions when the Metro Central JDAP went against the City’s wishes, including a $9.5m service station, medical centre, pharmacy and multiple takeaway development on Great Eastern Highway between Epsom Avenue and Moreing Street in October 2017.

WALGA president Lynne Craigie said all submissions received from the local governments would be presented to the next State Council meeting on May 4.

“The submissions will help to determine whether WALGA needs to change its position on third party appeal rights, currently opposed,” she said.

“The State Government will be advised of the sectors recommendation after the meeting in May.”

Other councils to support WALGA’s preferred model include the Cities of Subiaco and Stirling – although the latter recommended WALGA refer it to the State Government for incorporation into the review of the planning system – and for it to also apply to structure plans, activity centre plans and local development plans.

Councils that have previously shown support to third party appeals include the Town of Victoria Park and the Cities of South Perth, Perth, Vincent, Joondalup, Wanneroo and Fremantle.

Councillors at the City of Armadale were asked not to support the model by its staff and the City of Gosnells have not supported third party appeals previously.

Belmont councillors will consider the issue at the counil meeting on Tuesday, February 27.

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