Peregian Beach Community Association is pleased about a positive response by several councillors to our campaign for a more rigorous process to stop developers ‘land banking’ and encourage them to get on with developments in the time frame that’s been approved.
PBCA President Barry Cotterell says developers in Noosa are routinely allowed six years to commence and two more to complete. “But the reality” he says, “is that they sometimes delay projects – or ‘landbank’ them – and then apply for an extension hoping they can get it rubber-stamped by Council staff.
Instead, he says, when developers want to extend approvals beyond the original date, this should be decided by the elected Councillors armed with any changed information and ready to ask some pointed questions on behalf of the community.
Barry Cotterell says developers looking for an extension need to provide;
· a new estimate of the work involved and time to completion.
· And the reason for the delay.
Where little or no work has been completed on a project, they should explain what circumstances have changed, and why an extension is justified given their failure to act on the original approval.
To underline the importance of this change, an example is the 2016 Noosa Council extension of a previous Sunshine Coast Council approval for a large nursing home on the controversial Glossy Black Cockatoo site in Sunrise Beach. This decision was delegated to Council staff without reference to Councillors.
Mr Cotterell says the extension may not have been granted if the elected Councillors had been directly involved in the process, asking appropriate questions.
On the other hand, he says, we have seen this policy working well when Councillors refused to approve an extension of the prominent ‘Friendly Grocer’ site DA in Peregian Beach. “This refusal was upheld by the Planning and Environment Court because things had changed since the approval was first granted”
PBCA recently wrote to all Councillors about the policy and is delighted at the positive response so far.
Barry Cotterell says it would allow for better planned communities, and fewer festering problems where timely development should be expected.
He says “every Council in Queensland should be looking at this improvement.”