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Thread: Planning NSW Australia

  1. #1
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    Planning NSW Australia

    Any one interested in recent devlopments in planning legislationin NSW Australia? I would welcome the opportunity to exchange ideas.

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    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by LizT View post
    Any one interested in recent devlopments in planning legislationin NSW Australia? I would welcome the opportunity to exchange ideas.
    Where does one start with Franks changes?

    I havent had a good read of the bill that is going to go to parliment about changes to development etc, but i have had a look at changes to the infrastructure SEPP, Heritage Act and more recently Complying Development Provisions in for Housing. Its a lot to take in especially if your still writing your standard LEP!
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

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    Cyburbian urbanrenewal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by LizT View post
    Any one interested in recent devlopments in planning legislationin NSW Australia? I would welcome the opportunity to exchange ideas.
    Hi there,

    I've been following the half-hearted attempts at legislative reform in NSW for a while, when I've been working there and even now when I'm working in another state.

    Really I don't see the point in fiddling with an old piece of legislation, and particularly in a state where planners can be very conservative. Why not follow the Western Australian lead and develop a completely new statute, over time with proper preparation?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    I've suggested this to the Minister and he counters that he wouldn't get it through Cabinet and it will take too long (12 years is his estimate - not sure of the source). I think the Minister and his advisors are aware of the desirability of this approach but are targetting achievable outcomes.

    The NSW Government is generally very hostile to local government BTW, so I think there is likely to be less and less local involvement in planning decision making going forward - if they started from scratch, my guess is LG's role would be next to zero in decision making - probably just compliance checkers and cleaner-uppers.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rem View post
    I've suggested this to the Minister and he counters that he wouldn't get it through Cabinet and it will take too long (12 years is his estimate - not sure of the source). I think the Minister and his advisors are aware of the desirability of this approach but are targetting achievable outcomes.

    The NSW Government is generally very hostile to local government BTW, so I think there is likely to be less and less local involvement in planning decision making going forward - if they started from scratch, my guess is LG's role would be next to zero in decision making - probably just compliance checkers and cleaner-uppers.
    But isnt that what the new exempt and complying provisions are attempting to do? Turn LG into compliance? I dont believe that is a positive and sustainable approach to planning at all.

    I am in two minds about changes- i think there needs to be a better streamlined approach to development assessment- but not done ad hoc like what is being proposed
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  6. #6
    Cyburbian urbanrenewal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by natski View post
    But isnt that what the new exempt and complying provisions are attempting to do? Turn LG into compliance? I dont believe that is a positive and sustainable approach to planning at all.

    I am in two minds about changes- i think there needs to be a better streamlined approach to development assessment- but not done ad hoc like what is being proposed
    I agree that ad hoc approaches are a problem - this can make things worse rather than better.

    However, local authorities have done an awful job in managine planning policy. Policies in NSW seem to be about control rather than outcomes. Who cares if someone is renovating their house, big deal. Planners should be concerned with the truly important things like roads, parks (and getting people to use them) sorting out social provision of housing etc. Establishing policies which zone land for residential purposes then require permits for that same purpose is just dumb - as is notifying neighbours that a house is going to be built next door.

    "What's that, a house is going on that block next door, the one in a residential street in a residential zone? No way!"When am I going to be notified so I can object and annoy the neighbours?"

    So if the established patters shows local authorities doing a bad job, then get rid of them, or at least ensure people without bias an djealousy make the decisions. I worked under commissioners in my past life and it went very smoothly compared to the chaos encountered when you let elected "butchers, bakers and candlestick makers"(thanks to Mary Lynn Taylor for that one) make descions.

    Is certification the solution? No. I think the solution is to specify parameters for a locality or zone and leave it at that. Allow the normal process of needing a building surveyor's permit for structural safety, of course, but nothing else. Maybe then provide a trigger for a planning permission IF the dwelling is out-of-scale or over a certain height. Not a discretionary thing, but a standard.

    This would mean streetscapes would change in some areas, and that is where the resistance will be motivated from. That and people seem to love being able to jealously interfere in their neighbours business.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by urbanrenewal View post
    I agree that ad hoc approaches are a problem - this can make things worse rather than better.

    However, local authorities have done an awful job in managine planning policy. Policies in NSW seem to be about control rather than outcomes. Who cares if someone is renovating their house, big deal. Planners should be concerned with the truly important things like roads, parks (and getting people to use them) sorting out social provision of housing etc. Establishing policies which zone land for residential purposes then require permits for that same purpose is just dumb - as is notifying neighbours that a house is going to be built next door.

    "What's that, a house is going on that block next door, the one in a residential street in a residential zone? No way!"When am I going to be notified so I can object and annoy the neighbours?"

    So if the established patters shows local authorities doing a bad job, then get rid of them, or at least ensure people without bias an djealousy make the decisions. I worked under commissioners in my past life and it went very smoothly compared to the chaos encountered when you let elected "butchers, bakers and candlestick makers"(thanks to Mary Lynn Taylor for that one) make descions.

    Is certification the solution? No. I think the solution is to specify parameters for a locality or zone and leave it at that. Allow the normal process of needing a building surveyor's permit for structural safety, of course, but nothing else. Maybe then provide a trigger for a planning permission IF the dwelling is out-of-scale or over a certain height. Not a discretionary thing, but a standard.

    This would mean streetscapes would change in some areas, and that is where the resistance will be motivated from. That and people seem to love being able to jealously interfere in their neighbours business.
    I generally agree with you but...

    I think that neighbour notification is a positive thing absolutely totally. Of course people know that in a residentially zoned area, people are going to build residential type buildings- thats a given. But hey i would like to know if their proposed development is going to overlook/overshadow my property etc. By not giving people the opportunity to comment on that, is just unfair i believe and goes against what the EPA&A was set up to do in the first place.

    I also believe that streetscape and character is also important. I know i Victoria this is governed by some form of zoning style layers (i only know a little about it) and i think is something that NSW can implement- through DCP controls etc. You move or locate in an area- you know exactly what your allowed to build and what others are allowed to build. If i or others move into an area with a character and feel and look that i we like and is the basis for me living there, is it fair that it is taken away because we want to 'streamline' a process?
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by natski View post

    I also believe that streetscape and character is also important. I know i Victoria this is governed by some form of zoning style layers (i only know a little about it) and i think is something that NSW can implement- through DCP controls etc. You move or locate in an area- you know exactly what your allowed to build and what others are allowed to build. If i or others move into an area with a character and feel and look that i we like and is the basis for me living there, is it fair that it is taken away because we want to 'streamline' a process?
    May be slightly rusty, since I left Vic around a year ago, but if the VPPs are still relatively unchanged, there are two main policies that apply to new residential buildings, namely the Clause 54 (or 55) which sets out the residential development controls, e.g. setbacks, neighbourhood character, site coverage, etc, and in some instances, different sorts of overlay controls like the Neighbourhood Character Overlay, etc.


    The thing about this is that it usually gets iffy when you get down to the nuts and bolts about neighbourhood character - and different people have different opinions about what constitutes and therefore doesn't constitute neighbourhood character. There's usually a big haggle over this - and it also gives a sense that neighbourhood character tends to be a stagnant, unchangeable thing. This has usually been the subject of many lengthy tribunal meetings and objections.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian urbanrenewal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by joshww81 View post
    May be slightly rusty, since I left Vic around a year ago, but if the VPPs are still relatively unchanged, there are two main policies that apply to new residential buildings, namely the Clause 54 (or 55) which sets out the residential development controls, e.g. setbacks, neighbourhood character, site coverage, etc, and in some instances, different sorts of overlay controls like the Neighbourhood Character Overlay, etc.


    The thing about this is that it usually gets iffy when you get down to the nuts and bolts about neighbourhood character - and different people have different opinions about what constitutes and therefore doesn't constitute neighbourhood character. There's usually a big haggle over this - and it also gives a sense that neighbourhood character tends to be a stagnant, unchangeable thing. This has usually been the subject of many lengthy tribunal meetings and objections.
    Indeed right. "Character" is a subjective term, just like "community" - it's buzzed around without any real meaning.

    The ResCode provisions of Victorian planning schemes are very formulaic, and rely on the personal interpretation of the staff involved. This does show up good planners, average ones and downright clueless ones. A good one can interpret, understand that designs are evolving, and inform themselves about such things. Bad ones sit at a desk and chant the mantra "It's not my area of expertise" which is a sad self-condemnation of their unwillingness to be educated, and a tribute to a successful dulling of natural curiosity about things.

    I do admit to enjoying reading VCAT and Land & Environment Court transcripts where silly local authorities and their staff have unsupportable decisions varied. Planners, I find, become dazzled with "values" and "the community" (whatever they are) and forget that planning is about legal codes: if you can't back something up with facts then you can't have it.

    I think this is why reviews/appeals are often decried by planning people - the ones in the post-grad classes I've been to at RMIT lately certainly didn't seem too clear on the idea of legal fact, rather than emotion or rubbery policy interpretation, which stands up in the end.

    But why should people be stuck with reviews (which cost a fortune in NSW, as usual, and cost time in Victoria) only to see the local authority's decision varied in their favour? Does this not indicate that a better decision should have been made in the first place? I think it does.

    Returning to the original point, this is another reason why bit-by-bit fiddling to planning legislation in NSW will not work. Just as the original Environmental Planning and Assessment act seemed to create expectations of undue and unreasonable involvement in EVERYTHING for neighbours, so a new statute should correct this.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by urbanrenewal View post
    I do admit to enjoying reading VCAT and Land & Environment Court transcripts where silly local authorities and their staff have unsupportable decisions varied. Planners, I find, become dazzled with "values" and "the community" (whatever they are) and forget that planning is about legal codes: if you can't back something up with facts then you can't have it.
    I partly agree with you uranrenewal but limiting "back up" arguments to legal instruments would be an indictment on our profession and music to the ears of the lawyers, IMO. Good development control is underpinned with good strategic planning. Strategic plans that have been properly researched, formulated using informed community participation processes, debated and adopted by the relevant planning authority do not need to be dumbed down to planning statutes. There will be a need to exercise judgement when applying this sort of plan, but if the plan is good enough, it should be obvious what represents good, better and maybe even best judgement.

    This debate has moved on from the discussion about LG's role being limited to compliance but I missed it, so please forgive my rehash. Natski the numbers don't support what you contend, JPP's and the PAC will only end up with about 100 of NSW's 84,000 annual DAs. Complying developments are still up for grabs but we should all be embarrassed by the stories being used to justify the changes (Councils taking 6 - 12 months to deal with residential extensions). Even with 50% of DAs beicoming complying development (a really difficult target BTW). The true calling for local Councils should be better strategic planning. Good strategic plans will end up in better development decisions, regardless of who makes them.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian urbanrenewal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rem View post
    I partly agree with you uranrenewal but limiting "back up" arguments to legal instruments would be an indictment on our profession and music to the ears of the lawyers, IMO. Good development control is underpinned with good strategic planning. Strategic plans that have been properly researched, formulated using informed community participation processes, debated and adopted by the relevant planning authority do not need to be dumbed down to planning statutes. There will be a need to exercise judgement when applying this sort of plan, but if the plan is good enough, it should be obvious what represents good, better and maybe even best judgement.

    This debate has moved on from the discussion about LG's role being limited to compliance but I missed it, so please forgive my rehash. Natski the numbers don't support what you contend, JPP's and the PAC will only end up with about 100 of NSW's 84,000 annual DAs. Complying developments are still up for grabs but we should all be embarrassed by the stories being used to justify the changes (Councils taking 6 - 12 months to deal with residential extensions). Even with 50% of DAs beicoming complying development (a really difficult target BTW). The true calling for local Councils should be better strategic planning. Good strategic plans will end up in better development decisions, regardless of who makes them.
    You're spot-on about how local authority people should be embarrassed by the statistics, some councils are really disgraceful. Perhaps a general clean out of the management of these places would be better than simply pressuring the staff? If there is a management system which, for various incompetent or political reasons, produces bad outcomes, then it needs to be changed.

    As for strategic planning, consultaition etc, that's ll very nice, but the fact is - if it's not legally correct or not enforceable then who cares? It's all talk. Decisions are made in accordance with law - anything else is ultra vires and a waste of time. I come from a family of solicitors, and alway shake my head at inadequate wording, or poor legal research which gets local authorities into trouble. If you take the time to get it right in the first place, legally right that is, then you can't be embarrassed in court again and again.

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