Planning bill ‘not enough’

THE Hills Council has acknowledged the state government’s changes to the draft Planning Bill 2013 “as a step in the right direction”.

“But they don’t go far enough,” a council spokesman said.

Hornsby state MP Matt Kean said changes to the current draft bill include:

■ allowing councils to modify the existing state-wide code for houses up to two storeys, to better reflect their local area in certain circumstances;

■ code assessable development for broad strategic medium/high density will only apply in nominated growth areas — for example, transport corridors such as the North West train line or WestConnex or urban activation precincts — or areas nominated by councils;

■ the target for code assessable developments has been removed entirely; and

■ councils will be required to prepare Neighbourhood Impact Statements if they intend to implement code assessable development. Issues such as building height, setbacks, traffic, car parking and environmental issues will be considered in detail by the community.

Council’s spokesman said: “Council encourages Mr Kean to lobby his government for a streamlined, simple planning system that removes duplication and restores community standards by giving local planning powers back to local government.”

He said this could be done by abolishing Joint Regional Planning Panels, abolishing government controls that override local councils and removing the “inherent conflict of interest associated with private certifiers”.

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