Brimbank City Council is taking action to ensure that the community is not locked out of consultations about future developments in an Activity Centre Zone such as Sunshine.
A Notice of Motion in relation to options for extending the public notice and review rights in the Activity Centre Zone through a planning scheme amendment was tabled at the Ordinary Council Meeting on Tuesday 21 March.
In moving the motion, which was supported unanimously by the Council, Mayor of Brimbank Cr John Hedditch declared that Council was determined to change the current situation where the public was locked out of important development decisions in an Activity Centre Zone.
“In line with the Council principle of ‘Community First’ we believe the community should not be locked out of consultations about the potential effect of new use and future developments that may affect them in an Activity Centre Zone.
“Our community wants to be notified of any proposed development and needs the right to lodge an objection or seek a review of any Council decision on a proposed development that may affect them in an Activity Centre Zone, similar to how they could in other zones.
“Council is committed to letting our community into the process and giving them a say.
“As the planning authority, Council has the power to ‘write-in’ notice and appeal provisions by changing the schedule to the Activity Centre Zone through a planning scheme amendment, which would need to be approved by the Minister for Planning. We will pursue this actively.
“As a first step towards lifting the community lockout, Council has moved a motion requesting a report on options to extend the public notice and review rights in the Activity Centre Zone through a planning scheme amendment,” Cr Hedditch said.
As it currently stands, as the Activity Centre Zone has an exception from the usual notice and review rights, which means the community is locked out of consultations into future developments.
No public notification is required, and there is no third party review or an appeal right, which means a person cannot appeal a Council decision on a planning permit application in this zone. The public is only consulted if a proposal exceeds the preferred maximum height for the location.
Cr Hedditch said that Council also loses out in the current scenario as it misses out on getting feedback from residents on the planning permit application that could be valuable in making a decision on the matter.
“Issues raised in objections can be useful in Council deciding on a planning permit application. Often the feedback we receive can help guide Council on whether the application should be approved, or if certain changes should be made or conditions apply,” Cr Hedditch said.