The significant community interest in a proposal to build a workers accommodation facility on the former Naracoorte TAFE site has led to more than 200 public submissions.
The deadline for comment on the proposal closed on Thursday this week, and while Naracoorte Lucindale Council was still processing submissions on Friday, CEO Trevor Smart said he expected the number to surpass 200 (both for and against the proposal).
A tentative date of December 19 has been set for the council assessment panel to meet and consider the application to build a facility for up to 85 people. The CAP will also take into account the public comments contained in the submissions.
Mr Smart said the CAP can "approve, defer, or refuse the application at that meeting".
Mr Smart said even if the application is approved by the panel, the developer would still need to make application for building rules consent, which must meet the national construction code prior to issuing approval.
Mr Smart also clarified that the council's elected members have no formal involvement in the matter, and wouldn't discuss it as a group unless one of them chooses to raise it for discussion at next Tuesday night's November council meeting.
"The matter will not be a formal item on the council agenda, but elected members can raise the issue if they wish, for discussion (as with any matter)," he said. "The reason that it will not be a formal item on the agenda, is that elected council has no role in the consideration of the development application."
The developers are proposing to build a workers accommodation facility for up to 85 people to address a shortage of housing for workers including those in vineyards and at Teys Australia meatworks.
Opponents of the proposal - including a group of 60 who attended an impromptu community meeting - say the development would create noise pollution, safety problems, privacy issues, traffic and parking challenges and generally detract from the visual appeal of a prominent site in town.
READ OUR ORIGINAL STORY ANNOUNCING THE PROPOSAL - here
Mr Smart provided the following statement on the day submissions closed to make the council's role in the proposal clear:
With regards to the Development Application lodged for workers accommodation at 19 Gordon Street, Naracoorte (Old Naracoorte TAFE Site), I provide for clarity, and by way of update, the planning process that Council is obligated to follow as per State Government legislation.
I also acknowledge the significant public interest generated by this proposed development, and this is reflected by the well over 100 representations received by Council - with a short time to go before close of consultation period.
In summary, the legal process required to be followed by Council includes:
- Any landowner is entitled to lodge a development application for their intended use of their land (or a change in use), as per provisions of the Development Act.
- Council staff then undertake an initial assessment of any development application received
- In this instance, we considered this application to be a Category 3 application - and this then triggered a public consultation process. This public consultation process is undertaken in the context of planning matters.
- Members of the public are entitled to provide feedback to Council (in writing) on the application - positive or negative.
- The public consultation period closes today (21/11/19).
- All representations are then provided to the applicant to respond to (to Council)
- The development application, including Council planning advice, and all public representations are then provided to the Council Assessment Panel (CAP) for consideration
- All representors that indicated that they wish to be heard by the CAP will be provided that opportunity.
- The CAP will then consider, and make a determination on the application. These considerations are made against the objectives of Council's Development Plan. The CAP can decide to approve, defer, or refuse - and can, if approved, include various planning conditions. Any approval or refusal needs to be based on matters contained within our Development Plan.
- Once a decision has been made by the CAP - there are appeal rights available to all parties, and this is managed and dealt with by the Environment Resources & Development Court.
Other points of interest include:
- Elected Council does not have any role in considering or determining the outcomes of any development application. The State Government transferred (through legislation) many of Council's planning powers to independent panels (CAP) many years ago, so this is not a choice or decision of Elected Council. Elected Council or individual Elected Members are fully entitled to have an opinion on the matter - but this does not impact (positively or negatively) on the planning process.
- No individual can, or has, given any approval to the application including the Mayor, Elected Members, Council staff, or Members of Parliament.
- Council has no say over who buys property in the Council area.
- Depending on the outcomes of this Development Application - the applicant will still be required to lodge an application for Building Rules Consent (if approved) which must meet the National Construction Code prior to issuing approval.
- Nothing has been approved to date - with the only action being that the landowner has lodged a development application for consideration.
Trevor Smart, Chief Executive Officer