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Non-compliant rezoning application inadequate for large scale housing proposal

Posted on August 06, 2021

Non-compliant rezoning application inadequate for large scale housing proposal

Northern Midlands Council says a rezoning application for a proposed major residential housing development at Perth was inadequate and failed to meet basic requirements for consideration as a planning authority.

Mayor, Mary Knowles OAM, said today the council had a responsibility to protect the interests of the community, especially current and future property owners.

“We totally reject allegations of flouting our responsibilities as a planning authority and allowing personal issues to get in the way of decision-making,” Mayor Knowles said.

“The exact opposite is true. Council has strictly followed due process and its officers have worked with the proponent to resolve many of our concerns with the proposal, but we remain at an impasse over management of stormwater drainage.”

Mayor Knowles said council had full confidence in its officers who worked successfully with property developers on numerous other projects, including with director of Red Panda Property Andrew McCullagh on previous occasions.

“The fact is council’s planning authority has not yet received a compliant re-zoning application for the proposed residential development at 35 Drummond Street and Red Panda Property appears either unwilling or unable to provide a level of information necessary to address our concerns about stormwater management on the site,” Mayor Knowles said.

“As a council we are not prepared to risk inundation of residents and other landowners and we will not be bullied into taking shortcuts.”

Mayor Knowles said that information provided by Red Panda on stormwater management lacked sufficient detail.

She said the applicant was advised that its proposal for private lot-based detentions of the stormwater, or full discharge to the Drummond Street open drain would not be acceptable and that council required surety that the stormwater from future development can be drained from the site to the South Esk River and to Sheepwash Creek.

“That information has not been forthcoming and now the developer has opted to withdraw the application rather than work with Council to resolve these substantial issues,” Mayor Knowles said.

“We are not after a full stormwater management design, but we do require enough detailed information to provide a high level of surety that what they propose will work.

“There are always ways to deal with drainage. For example, council has purchased adjacent land to this development and set aside residential blocks on the higher land but allocated a large proportion as open space to allow a natural flood plain and use of swales to take water away from homes,” Mayor Knowles said.

A request by Red Panda to refer the matter directly to the Tasmanian Planning Commission for a decision was unsuccessful because the time allowed by the legislation for that to occur had expired.

Mayor Knowles said a course was open for Red Panda to reapply for the re-zoning and then follow the process by either providing the information council needed or taking it to the Planning Commission for a decision.