All Sydney council areas are opposed to forced council amalgamations, and the average rejection of forced amalgamation is over 73% in these areas. Until recently Premier Berejiklian and Minister Upton supported the majority view. Who or what changed their minds on 14 February?
“This decision is a significant win for advocacy at the Sydney Business Chamber" reads a Sydney Business Chamber February media release. The Property Council of Australia distributed their own media release on 6 February which states “The Property Council today urged Premier Berejiklian to hold the line on council amalgamations.”
"In our 2011 State pre-election campaign, 10 Big ideas to Grow NSW, and our 2015 campaign, Unfinished Business, we identified local government reform as an urgent priority" reads the February 14 media release from the NSW Business Chamber. It would seem that business and property rate higher on the Governments agenda than the people do.
In other news, February has been a busy month for Council with several resolutions -
The first resolution concerns planning determinations. Council formed the Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel to achieve "better planning outcomes for Strathfield's neighbourhoods, development precincts, and centres". It's membership includes one community representative and three professionals. All development applications (DA's) will be assessed by the Panel, under delegated authority or by the JRPP. Council's body politic will essentially no longer determine DA's. Expressions of interest are now being accepted for a community-minded person to be a member of this panel, details can be found here.
Secondly, Council resolved to defer a planning proposal on Parramatta Road for an FSR increase from 2.7:1 to 4.5:1 and an increase of height from 26m to 85m.
Thirdly, Council recently resolved to exhibit and then adopt three Development Control Plans covering Urban Design Controls, Heritage and Public Notifications. They are on exhibition from Tuesday 7 March until Tuesday 4 April 2017 and can be viewed here or at Councils Customer Service. Council welcomes submissions on the DCPs.
Finally, Council resolved that Council place on public exhibition for 28 days the draft revised Part L - Public Notification of Strathfield Consolidated Development Control Plan 2005 in accordance with the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 and Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulations 2000. It was also resolved that Council adopt revised Part L - Public Notification of Strathfield Consolidated Development Control Plan 2005 be adopted (sic) following the public exhibition period. Regarding section 2.2, page 3 (Methods used to notify Applications), I have contacted fellow councillors who have indicated favour for using all four methods for notifying development applications.
Council also resolved to "adopt the Strathfield Consolidated Development Control Plan 2005, Part Q: Urban Design Controls following the public exhibition period". Should this be adopted as is, a loud venue may be forced to curtail it's operation due to complaints from occupants of bordering new developments.
Cr Andrew Soulos
Mayor of Strathfield