Noosa mayor on "red alert" over planning court decision
NOOSA is sounding a red alert after a court appeal decision, on the back of State Government planning forms, allows private building certifiers to bypass councils for some approval permits.
Mayor Tony Wellington is riled about the recent Planning and Environment Court appeal decision in the case of Brisbane City Council versus Gerhardt & Gerhardt and the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
He said he had "a little bit of steam coming out of my ears" as Noosa planners try to claw back some development assessment powers.
"Reading this (council staff) report, I got even grumpier so I dashed off some vitriolic notes," he told fellow councillors.
"I'm more than happy to rattle this cage on behalf of Noosa and other local governments if necessary."
Cr Wellington said the court decision "takes this matter into the realms of the absolute absurd" and was forcing local governments to become concurrence agencies in order to uphold their own planning schemes.
However under the Noosa Plan, the council may be locked out of a say altogether for work such as house extensions... or at the very best, made a concurrence agency with a say on site cover and setbacks only.
Council planning and environment manager Kerri Coyle said in her report: "The decision has significant implications on the ability of council to protect public safety, biodiversity, amenity and character in the shire."
The Brisbane Council case was over an application to alter the facade of a pre-1946 house in declared "character area" in Wooloowin.
The council tried to force the applicant to submit a preliminary work approval with council before the matter could be decided by a private certifier. However, the court ruling excluded the council from a say in any of the building works.
Cr Wellington said for areas like Noosa "the ongoing and systematic undermining of local government authority to determine planning issues is a matter of grave concern...".
"It's becoming ever more difficult for Noosa to control its own destiny," he said.
"As I understand it the original intention by the State Government to hand over the building compliance to private building certifiers was to speed up building approvals and to facilitate development.
"While some of these aims have been achieved, it's also resulted in something of a nightmare for local governments that aim to reinforce, or influence I should say, the intentions of their own planning schemes."
The mayor said private certifiers at times had proven to be inconsistent with their adherence to planning regulations.
"What's more, developers are now in a position where they can shop around trying to find which private certifier is most inclined to bend the rules," Cr Wellington said.
"That's going to be one our challenges moving forward with the new planning scheme, is being able to maintain the intrinsic values of Noosa."