Fast Buck$, Coorabell
A few years ago Council planning staff started adding a consent condition to NSW residential zone approvals stating that the premises were not to be used for short-term accommodation, ie holiday letting. I don’t think that move was a result of any Council resolution.
The anything-goes pro-development crew protested loudly about this and more recently I began to suspect that the practice must have been quietly discontinued.
Accordingly I asked a question about this during public access last week. On this occasion the senior staff didn’t send it to a city lawyer for clever evasion as they usually do; they achieved the same result by putting a more junior staffer onto it.
We were informed that Council does impose such a condition on granny flats, on dual occupancies and secondary dwellings. However, when I subsequently asked said staffer why the condition wasn’t imposed on all new residential developments as it used to be he replied that he hadn’t been given any directive to do so.
It all sounds a bit random to me, leading to the question: who makes the actual decisions in this council?
So: why were such conditions initially imposed and who made the decision? Why was the practice subsequently discontinued and who made that decision? Have any of those who had such a condition imposed subsequently applied for its deletion under Sec 96, and were they successful? Were councillors informed of any of this? Did any councillors actually ask? (The last two are joke questions.)
Mr Mayor went public in The Echo about a year ago claiming that were was no law against holiday letting, illustrating the unwisdom of relying on advice given by some Council staff.
The truth is that there are two sources of law: the parliament and the judiciary.
I accept that probably no parliament has passed a law prohibiting holiday letting. The fact is that there are precedents going back well over 100 years disallowing short-term accommodation in residential zones. A judicial precedent is law.
The staff didn’t actually lie to you; they merely told you only half the story – the half that suits anything-goes development. It is also the half that allows you to go around making pious anti-holiday-letting statements without actually doing anything about it.