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Council Development Approval Process

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John Darley, Independent MLC (5AA 10.34-10.41) Council development approval processes

(Byner: I’ve often quipped on this show that our theme tune is ‘There’s no business like slow business.’ I wish that wasn’t the reality but I want to give you some statistics … have a listen to this: delays with getting council approval for … 3.5 months for approval to construct a deck on a residential property, six months for approval to build a garage for a residence, six to eight weeks to get approval for a change of use for a property where the proposed use conforms with the current zoning. Six to eight weeks. 12 months for approval for a first storey addition to a residence where there were no objections by the neighbours. Now, I really think there is a problem in this state … if we speed up these processes … they’re not leviathan tasks of a brand new building which over towers a neighbourhood or allows people to see in somebody else’s garden. None of that, none of that. Why are we dragging our feet? … John … what the hell’s going on?)… time means money and … where people are delayed in being able to start their development … it’s just a frustrating exercise. Now, most councils have planning … officers who deal with planning applications and … from that point they then go to the planning assessment panel that a council has. It seems to me that there’s inadequate delegation to the planning officers from the councils to make decisions and so more and more things are going to Development Assessment Panels when they should have been considered and a decision made by the appropriately qualified planners. (Byner: The six to eight weeks to get approval for a change of use for a property where the proposed use conforms with the current zoning can mean that a person might have to pay a tax or fee to Revenue SA which if this was done the right time he wouldn’t have to pay.) Exactly. (Byner: … this is really bad for the development of South Australia.) Well, it’s a go slow situation and … time means money and there’s no need for these delays … when the new Planning Act comes in I’m going to make sure that there are set times for dealing with applications. With the Residential Code that was enacted back in Paul Holloway’s time, he came to me and said ‘are you happy with the legislation?’ and I said ‘no … you’ve got a provision there that says if the application is not dealt with within one month then the application is deemed to be not approved … if it’s not dealt within one month the application should be approved … unconditionally’. There should be pro-action rather than negative action.

David Ente, Commercial & Industrial Real Estate Institute (5AA 10.38-10.40) Council development approval processes

(Byner: David Ente … what’s your feedback on this? … ) … I’m the Chair of the Commercial Industrial Committee of the Real Estate Institute of South Australia. We’ve been lobbying both the Opposition and John Rau for quite some time unsuccessfully to streamline a lot of this. You know a simple shop on Unley Road for example … to change it from what was a framing shop to a dry cleaner took 12 weeks. It was originally rejected on the basis that the planning officer said … ‘dry cleaning, that’s a light industrial use’. We said … ‘it’s a dry cleaning shop; people drop off their clothes and pick them up later and they go off somewhere and get dry cleaned’. He said ‘Oh no, it’s a transport depot’ … so I actually personally went around, checked out every dry cleaning shop in the city of Unley and they were all classified as shops and they came back and said ‘well on this occasion we’ll let it happen’. So that’s the sort of rubbish we have to put up with. I love the idea of John’s with if it’s not approved in a month it’s done. I’d go one step further; I think we should designate streets that carry x amount of traffic or more as … high streets … and if it is a change of use that is legal and maybe the building area is under a certain size, it’s just automatic. So if David Ente wants to go and open a dental surgery on Unley Road, whether there’s one car park or 100 you just do it. If the use is legal and it’s under a certain area just do it. That would get business going and employ people. (Byner: What rationale was used by John Rau not to agree to what you’re suggesting?) ‘We’re in the process of changing the planning regulations; you had your opportunity to make comment during the comment process and that’s closed.’ End of story. (Byner: So because you didn’t make a submission to the inquiry your views don’t matter?) We didn’t even know it was on. There you go. (Byner: Goodness. So where to from here?) I’m happy to meet with John; I’d love to meet with John Darley and try and put a proposal together that goes to Government -

Back to John Darley

(Byner: John are you happy to meet with our guest?) Absolutely … I mean the Planning Act is going to be implemented over up to five years and I’ll be most interested in the regulations that are going to be drafted … and any process situation that might cause any delay. (Byner: … I find this extraordinary and again nobody is saying wholesale development, no checks and balances, just in case anybody thinks that’s what’s being implied here. It is not. We are talking about pretty basic stuff . Now, what do we need in South Australia? Jobs … work, so when you slow something down there’s a job down the track … but in the meantime what do you use to put food on the table?

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