WHAT IS COUNCIL’S APPROACH TO DEVELOPMENT ASSESSMENT?
Before explaining the various requirements that relate to lodging a development application it is useful for you to have an understanding of Council’s approach to assessing development applications. This is particularly relevant if you have experience with different councils.
You would have noticed that there is a lot of construction activity happening across Sydney to house a growing population. Sutherland Shire is part of the growing city and has experienced unprecedented levels of development activity over the past few years.This change brings challenges, including achieving high quality outcomes in the urban environment that provide good places for people to live, and resourcing and managing the higher volume of development proposals lodged. Council faces strong competition in the marketplace for qualified and experienced professionals to undertake assessment work, and has finite financial capacity. It is essential that we use the resources we have in the most effective way while also ensuring the best possible experience for our community in the development application process, which is why we have made some changes to our processes. This is particularly the case when managing development assessment under Public Health Orders and a work from home environment.
We have been committed to working closely with applicants to support them throughout the application process and up to the approval stage. In doing so, we have identified that in some cases this involves working through multiple revisions of proposals that have substantial non-compliances. The repeated re-assessment of amended plans consumes a large amount of resources, which can hinder the process and provides a frustrating experience for everyone.We want to continue to support all applicants in the best possible and most efficient way.
THE DEVELOPMENT ASSESSMENT PROCESS
- We will undertake an initial assessment, hear what neighbours have to say, gather input from internal and external experts, and then let you know in writing what issues need to be addressed.
- We will ask you to consider the issues we raise, come up with possible solutions and options in draft form, and communicate them to us.
- We will offer an opportunity to provide an amended submission.
- Once an amended submission is made, we will re-assess it, and re-notify neighbours if necessary.
- If the issues we raised have been addressed or can be resolved with conditions or minor amendments to the plans, we will finalise the assessment and approve the application.
- If the issues we raised are not addressed, we will refuse the application.
We are doing our best to keep communication channels open with applicants and find that email is the most efficient way, at least initially. Applicants are then able to relay the appropriate information to their client. Furthermore, DA Track auto updates at certain points in the assessment process and is a useful tool for keeping all development stakeholders informed.