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Community Consultation for Town Planning

Community Consultation for Town Planning
General Information and Frequently Asked Questions

The following information is provided to assist you with making a submission to the City of Nedlands.

The term “Community Consultation” covers the range of activities that the City utilises to support the involvement of residents, business proprietors, landowners, the general public and other members of the community in the decision-making process.

The City is committed to seeking the views of affected stakeholders with regard to development applications where the City is required to exercise discretion in accordance with the City of Nedlands Town Planning Scheme No. 2, related planning/council policies and/or the Residential Design Codes (R-Codes).

Community consultation is an important component of the City’s development application process. It provides an opportunity for everyone who is potentially affected by a particular matter to have their say and enables the decisions of the City, to be informed by the views and knowledge of the community. Please see the below FAQs for more information:

Principles of Consultation

  1. The City encourages consultation with adjoining owners/occupiers and affected stakeholders prior to formally lodging a planning application with the City. It can be more productive, as well as courteous, to advise neighbours of development proposals as far in advance as possible and, where necessary, negotiate outcomes that are mutually acceptable before a formal planning application is lodged.
  2. Formal community consultation of a development application is undertaken by the City when it is required to exercise discretion to determine proposals that seek variation to the City of Nedlands Town Planning Scheme, relevant planning policies and/or the R-Codes.  Unless a variation is proposed to the deemed-to-comply provisions of the R Codes, in which case the applicant has the ability to conduct neighbour consultation for variations to the R-Codes, it will however need to be clearly demonstrated that the owners/occupiers and/or stakeholders deemed to be potentially impacted are aware of what the requirement(s) and variation(s) being sought are. 
  3. Additionally, regardless of whether discretion is required to be exercised to determine an application, the City places a sign on site for all two-storey single dwelling proposals. In both cases, the community can view the plans and provide comment on the proposal.
  4. Whilst the City will have regard to all submissions received during the consultation period submissions are not binding on the Council in the determination of the proposal.
  5. The City has a statutory obligation to only seek comments from affected owners/occupants and/or stakeholders should a variation to a planning requirement be proposed.  The City will only have regard to comments received from impacted stakeholders in relation to the variation(s) and no other aspect of the proposal.

Shouldn't a developer be made to comply with the requirements?

Proposed developments within the City are assessed under the City of Nedlands Town Planning Scheme No. 2, relevant planning/council policies and the Residential Design Codes (R-Codes) which aims to control and guide development and growth in a responsible manner. However these planning controls cannot unfortunately cater for all development scenarios.

Where a development cannot comply with the requirements of the City’s Town Planning Scheme No. 2 (TPS2) and there is no discretion to consider a variation, the City is required to refuse the application. Where there is discretion, the City is required to advertise the development to the impacted stakeholders prior to determination. In order for the City to favourably consider a development application where a variation is proposed sufficient justification has to be provided by the applicant.

Where a development does not comply with the City’s planning/council policies or the ‘deemed-to-comply’ requirements of the R-Codes, the City is required to advertise the development to the owners/occupiers and/or stakeholders the City deems to be potentially impacted by the variation(s) prior to determination.

The applicant also has the ability to conduct neighbour consultation for variations to the R-Codes, it will however need to be clearly demonstrated that the owners/occupiers and/or stakeholders deemed to be potentially impacted are aware of what the requirement(s) and variation(s) being sought are.  Simply having the plan(s) signed by the neighbouring landowners is inadequate.  If the City decides that not all the appropriate owners/occupiers and/or stakeholders have been given opportunity to comment by the applicant, and/or if it is not clear that the owners/occupiers and/or stakeholders were made aware of the requirement(s) and variation(s) sought, the City will readvertise the proposal.

Applications seeking variation(s) are required to be advertised for a minimum of 14 days (up to 21 days) with longer periods of time required over Christmas, New Year and Easter periods. Following the period of consultation, the City’s Officers will consider the merits of the application to ensure that the proposal is appropriate and will not have an undue impact on the amenity of the area. All submissions received by the City will be considered when determining any development application/proposal, in the context of the City’s statutory responsibilities, the interests of the affected community and the reasonable expectations and rights of the applicant.

How can the Council approve a non-complying application?

A development application is assessed against the City’s Town Planning Scheme No. 2 (TPS2), R-Codes and/or any relevant Local/State Planning/Council Policy. If the development does not comply with the City’s TPS2 and there is no discretion, the City is required to refuse the application. If discretion exists then the City is required to consider the application based on the merits of the proposal against the TPS 2 provisions, the policy purpose/objective or the design principles of the R-Codes. By focusing on the desired outcome rather than providing a prescriptive rule creative designs are not stifled and a wider range of designs can be contemplated.

The City is not allowed to refuse an application if the application meets the TPS2 provisions, planning/council policy provisions and/or the ‘deemed-to-comply’ provisions of the R-Codes. City Officers assess each application to initially identify if the application can be considered, then to identify if the application complies with all relevant standards or if the development proposes variation.

Can I obtain more information about the proposal?

Yes. Large scale site plans, plans, elevations and other relevant information is available for public viewing at the City’s Administration Offices, 71 Stirling Highway, Nedlands (cnr Smyth Road), between 8.30am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).

You may also contact the Planning Officer, whose name appears on the consultation letter, if you have any questions.

What should my submission say?

A submission should be made on the Submission Form attached with the covering consultation letter from the City. If you wish to provide further comments regarding an application you can attach a separate page/letter to the Submission Form.

Your submission should clearly state the reasons why you object to, or support the development proposal and should relate directly to the variations proposed by the development to the standards of the Scheme, the R-Codes and/or any relevant planning policies as identified in the referral letter. Typical variations that may arise include privacy; overshadowing; height, bulk and scale; streetscape and character; and car parking.

A good submission is:

  1. Brief and to the point: If your submission needs to be lengthy because of the issues involved or a number of grounds for objection, then it is a good idea to include a single page summary sheet for easy reference.
  2. Supported by reason and facts: Take the time to gather the facts. Talk to the Planning Officer who is dealing with the application prior to writing your submission and make sure that you understand what is proposed. Base your submission on the facts, not on hearsay and/or other aspects of the development which comply with the applicable planning requirements. Once you are sure of the facts, prepare your submission based on how the proposal will affect you and the enjoyment of your property. 

As the responsible planning authority, the City is not authorised to consider “non-planning‟ matters such as the value of a property or neighbour disputes. Therefore, submissions which are based on civil or non-planning matters will not be considered.  Matters which the City is required to have regard to when determining a development application are stipulated under Section 6.4 of TPS2.

What if I am satisfied with the proposed development application? Do I have to make a submission?

No. You should judge whether or not the proposal will affect you. If you are satisfied with the proposed development, there is no need to make a submission however, by doing so you will assist in expediting the determination of the application. In any case, a Planning Officer will make an assessment of the proposal. This includes matters such as overshadowing, privacy, noise, traffic and building design.

Should I sign a petition?

You may find that someone has started a petition to object or support a development proposal. Someone may also ask you to sign a proforma letter (this is a standard letter signed by various people). The City will consider any petitions or letters which are received. However, petitions are required to be addressed to the CEO, indicate a lead petitioner, outline the names and property addresses of those signing the petition, as well as whether they are for or against the proposal. Only the lead petitioner will be advised of the outcome of the application. 

An individual letter about how the proposal will affect you gives the City a much clearer picture of your concerns and how best to address those concerns through modification of the proposal or conditions being imposed on an approval.

What will happen to my submission?

Your submission, along with others received, will be considered as part of an overall assessment used to determine the application (i.e. approve or refuse). All applications where a valid objection has been received, and which cannot be addressed by the applicant by provision of amended plans, are required to be determined by Council. The next page demonstrates the process in more detail below.

Will the applicant or anyone else know that I have made a submission?

The Council will not disclose names and other personal information to a third party, without your prior consent. The Council is subject to the Freedom of Information laws and does not publish the names or addresses of those who make submissions. However, in some circumstances the applicant may be advised of the source and issues raised in the submissions to enable them to resolve any problems raised. You will be advised in such cases. Likewise, upon request from the applicant the City is required to provide a summary of the concerns received in accordance with the R-Codes.

Will the applicant be reported to the Council for determination?

Primary responsibility for making decisions rests with the elected Council, at a Council Meeting. However, for some development applications, the Council has also delegated some decision-making responsibility to the Chief Executive Officer.

Development applications which are compliant with the City’s Town Planning Scheme No. 2, Local Planning/Council Policies and the ‘deemed to comply’ provisions of the R-Codes are determined by City Officers with no community consultation required. If there is a variation proposed, the City is required to conduct community consultation. When a valid objection has been received from an impacted owner/occupier and/or stakeholder, which cannot be addressed by the applicant by them providing amended plans, the application is required to be determined by Council.

Can a decision be appealed?

Once a decision has been made, the applicant can appeal that decision or any element of the decision to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) if they are dissatisfied with the outcome. Please see the above table.

Third Party Participation in Planning appeals.

Generally there are no third party appeal rights in relation to planning decisions in Western Australia, however, in certain circumstances it may be possible for a third party to participate in a planning appeal. The usual way is for a third party to provide a witness statement to the City and, if required, to give evidence at the hearing.

In certain circumstances (e.g. a legal or some other direct, material or special interest), the SAT may allow a third party who has a sufficient interest in a matter to make a submission – it should be noted that generally, it is not sufficient that the third party holds genuine and strong views or has taken an active interest in relation to the matter even when the third party is a body such as a community group or association. A third party who wishes to make a submission should write a letter to the SAT, to explain their position.

Further information may be obtained by visiting the SAT website or by telephoning (08) 9219 3111.