An appropriate balance between proponent and neighbour rights in the development assessment process is sometimes elusive.
We recently lodged a DA for a two-storey dwelling on a former tennis court which is now a large, battle-axed shaped, allotment in a residential zone.
The surrounding land is very steep providing attractive long-range views and short-range overlooking throughout the locality.
A neighbour objected on the basis of overlooking impact. The proponent incorporated fixed-obscure glass to the prescribed height.
The neighbour refused to withdraw his representation and insisted on being heard at a Council Assessment Panel (CAP) meeting. Due to heavy workloads, consideration of the DA by the CAP was delayed by 2.5 months.
The representor didn’t show up at the CAP meeting. The DA was unanimously approved. The assessment timeframe is 5 months.
Representors for two other DAs failed to show up to the same CAP meeting. These DAs were also unanimously approved.
The end result was delay and uncertainty for proponents, significant public expense and no planning consequence.
A possible solution is for representors to present to council planners and applicants at mediation meetings, with council planners given power to decide what needs to proceed to a CAP meeting.
Thinking about different forums for grievances to be aired may be a better way for all.