27 March 2014

Council last night agreed to a Greens proposal to increase the number of planning applications automatically referred to the Future Melbourne (Planning) Committee.

The change to the ‘Delegation Policy for Planning Applications’ moved by Greens Cr Rohan Leppert make various changes to ensure that controversial and significant planning applications are considered in public.

Applications which will now automatically be referred to public Committee include:

 – those which receive 16 or more objections;

 – those which propose to demolish an A- or B-graded heritage building; and

 – those which have as their applicant the City of Melbourne.

Prior to this change, it was common for development applications to receive a large number of objections (a recent case in Kensington had 56 objections) but not trigger the ‘significant public opposition’ clause in the policy, and so rely on a Councillor to decide whether or not to call an application in (and, often, risking the applicant taking the application straight to VCAT due to the City of Melbourne taking too long to make a determination).

The new policy will allow planning officers to make sure that those contentious and significant planning applications, which the community are particularly interested in, are assessed in time to make the public Committee meeting cycle.

It’s a measure which will make the planning processes of the City of Melbourne more transparent and predictable for the community at large.

The decision of Council can be found here.