Julian Rocks Drive residents in Sunrise are still fuming over Council’s planning process, court mediation and the approval by councillors of a contentious six multi-dwelling development on their street.
Developers Phillip Agnew and Adam Band from The Kollective took Council to court for a deemed refusal, after their DA was not assessed by Council within the statutory time limit.
Echonetdaily understands at the compulsory Land & Environment mediation during that court case, the developers offered to reduce the dwellings from eight to six, while reducing the scale and size of the proposal. With those concessions, staff recommended the DA be approved with conditions.
The revised DA was then considered by councillors on June 18, and approved without debate.
Not made public
Yet residents are still waiting for the consent conditions to be made public, despite requests made to planning staff.
Echonetdaily also requested those documents, but are yet to receive them. It is unclear whether conditions of consent were finalised when the DA was approved.
Additionally, resident Wayne Byrne said Council’s planning staff overlooked a defect in the Kollective’s DA, until it was brought to their attention by residents.
A statutory conflict of interest declaration was omitted, yet signed later by the applicants.
Fellow resident Cathy Stavert said, ‘Is this the way our planning department operates, or are they in too much of a hurry to please developers?’
At the court mediation – held by phone – Ms Stavert was critical of the process, claiming some of the issues that residents face weren’t allowed to be canvassed.
She added councillors created another issue with a Kollective DA approval on the same road at the same meeting. A review of parking and pedestrian safety in Sunrise is also underway.
‘This street is only 7.8m wide, and the parking issues already create a one way traffic lane. The Mayor and planning staff have created another headache for the residents on the narrowest street in Sunrise’.
She questioned how another (potential) 40 cars could park on the street, after the approval of these two developments.
Another resident, who didn’t want to be named, said she waited almost an hour and a half for the court mediation call, and then was informed that she had less time to speak than was advised. ‘It totally threw me’, she said. ‘I felt upset and humiliated at the way I was treated.
‘Courts and conciliation appear to be a total waste of our ratepayers’ money, and it all comes back to the state planning (in my opinion). Council has to follow their guidelines and developers know exactly what they can get away with. Not an experience I care to repeat’.
Another resident, Andrew Turnock, said, ‘we feel that neither the Council nor commissioner had thoughts of stopping this development from the start, and that the conciliation was basically a show to tick boxes, rather than an honest consideration’.
Mr Turnock also questioned the NSW government’s affordable housing provision which allows these types of developments. It is called the Affordable Rental Housing State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP).
He said, ‘As it stands, there will be 16 new properties on land that totals approximately. 2,600 square metres, all within an 80 square metre radius, with only one single unit used for affordable housing – that’s one unit out of 16!
‘I believe Council have not in any way tried to deter the developer. The conciliation conference was nothing more than a smokescreen to appease residents with no intention of blocking this particular developer, even though their plans are completely out of character for the street and environment.
Lack of confidence
‘I believe there is a growing lack of confidence in Council; the planning of the town seems lacklustre and underhanded. It seems planning is now down to generating as much income as possible, rather than catering for the local community. Local developers with the support of Council seem to cherry-pick and manipulate planning to suit their needs, regardless of how it affects people who have lived in the immediate area they are affecting’.
Echonetdaily asked Council staff for a reply, but none was provided by deadline.