Influencing the Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways

While the local government elections proceed and we are in caretaker mode, I am still out there working for you. In particular, I am contributing to Council’s response to the Government’s proposed Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways.

As the Government’s reform package does not wait on Council elections it becomes difficult for elected members to have influence over the debate. That has not stopped me however.

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I am offering opinions in two current planning areas that impact on you.  They are the Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways.

Accredited Professionals Scheme

In my opinion, the Accredited Professionals Scheme is sadly lacking and is fraught with danger. The proposed accreditation appears to be quite liberal.

The level of experience for assessment panel members is surprisingly limited. It flies in the face of the previous ministers’ assertions the involvement of Council elected members. He believed elected members largely had an insufficient skillset. The proposed qualifications however for future panel members would curiously allow elected members easy access to the panel.

Likewise, as a retired building inspector, I am concerned that the Level 4 accreditation for building inspectors requires only 6 months experience. It seems we may be moving to a system which allows what I would consider less competency than now. Surely a backwards step.

Assessment Pathways 

I am pushing that Assessment pathways for any development that has variances to the plan such that they impact on the neighbourhood, even if only “minor” should have a public consultation component to them.

We must continue to fight for this. This is because developments invariably will sit outside the parameters set in a development plan.

Assessment must remain with Council rather than with private certifiers when public notification is a requirement. This is because councils are the only body with the availability of being transparent and accountable.

Private Certifiers will never have the level of accountability that Councils have. Even with the number of elected members sitting on assessment panels reduced to one, accountability is only possible with Councils being responsible.

Two extremes of public notification need to be addressed. I am promoting accordingly.

Obviously larger developments must include public notification and this must extend beyond just the immediate neighbours. Rear of house developments regularly however do not impact on other than the immediate neighbour/s. This includes neighbours who live on the other side of the street and cannot see the development. Those not impacted should not be invited to make representation.

If re-elected, I will remain in a position of working for you and providing local leadership on the Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways and all subsequent planning changes.

 

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Heritage Preservation at risk under Government’s State Planning Policies

The current Government is intent on rolling out the planning reforms of the previous Government. Communities need to be aware of the policies and procedures being proposed. They need also to know of a lack of heritage preservation therein.

Renewing Our Heritage Planning

 

Your council, as we have with all the stages thus far, is responding to the current step in the process. This process is establishing a raft of draft State Planning Policies. Following on from my earlier blog post today I have been reviewing the City of Unley’s response to the draft.

I am concerned that the Government, like their predecessors, have little regard for local nuances. There appears to be disappointing lack of regard, importance and comprehensive appreciation for heritage by the State. This notwithstanding heritage preservation is a long-standing and well supported priority by the community.

There appears to me a clear focus that they are looking for a universal, one size fits all strategy.

For instance, the scope of the policies in respect of heritage preservation only refer to ‘use’ of places and indigenous heritage. As a minimum there is a need for policies that support way more than this including but limited to:

  • Confirmation from the State that they support for cultural heritage.
  • Recognition of the importance of conserving built heritage.
  • Recognition of both state and local built heritage ‘places’ and ‘areas’ of value, ie Historic Conservation Zones and Contributory Items.

We (you and I) need to fight for better than this.  A greater weight than appears to be being considered needs to be given to heritage preservation. Good planning policy should not ignore heritage.

I am prepared to provide local leadership. A fight against what appears to be an illogical paradigm that preserving our heritage, whether cultural or built form is contrary to sensitive and diverse future development.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

 

Providing Local Leadership: Protecting Heritage and character areas

Protecting heritage and character areas is something the City of Unley has fought hard for. This was our first goal in working with the Government when they first started revising the Development Act.

 

Renewing Our Heritage Planning

Protecting heritage and character areas was our first focus when the previous State Government introduced their wish to change the planning system. In return we guaranteed we could provide the numbers of additional housing to meet their 30 year plan.

Afterwards, the then Minister challenged the concept of character housing. The current Government appears to have a similar view to him.

They appear to have a view that demolition of local heritage buildings be by a simple merit based consideration. Considerations not much different to standard housing. Their focus right now is not only on local heritage but on character housing zones.

It appears the Government is looking to water down the provisions of protecting local heritage and character zones. They are looking to make demolition easier. They see the answer being the use of generic rules. Rules that in my opinion may work in one area but not reasonably in another, such as Unley.

 

The current Council has continued to lobby for protections seen as important by Unley’s community. The new Council will need to continue the fight.

The new council will need briefing as soon as is practicable. Immediately after they are commissioned in order that we can continue the fight is preferable. This whole planning overhaul is moving in a way that limits our ability to respond on behalf of our community.

The new council, in this background, needs to be provided an opportunity to understand the history, the process and the schedule going forward so as to contribute appropriately. Accordingly, I have already prompted our Management to engage the new Council immediately they are commissioned.

With the aim of protecting heritage and character areas, if re-elected, I will  continue in providing local leadership to guide the new Council through the lobbying yet to do.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: A glimpse into the future

For all we have achieved together, as I noted in my last blog we have much still to achieve into the near future.

Providing Local Leadership and Working For YouFor a glimpse into the future read on as I summarise what I see as the challenges going forward. Challenges which requires proving local leadership. The following summarises what lies ahead of the Clarence Park Ward. Watch for future blogs over the next couple of weeks for more detail.

Goodwood Oval Precinct Redevelopment.

Since Jayne Stinson secured a $2.0m grant from the previous government before the last State election much has happened. Much is still left however to do at Goodwood Oval however. I will release a series of blog posts in the next couple of weeks addressing each.

Millswood Croquet Club

 As the club marches toward its centenary it desperately needs a new clubroom. A future blog will review this in more detail.

Managing Higher Density

Watch for a future blog as I explain the need for continued vigilance to ensure any changes to our development plan are respectful of the amenity will all currently enjoy.

Local Economic Prosperity

Business and economic development for an area is a shared responsibility. Council should take the lead.

I am looking for Council to consider all of its businesses, including the forgotten majority. The home based businesses.

Ensuring Financial Responsibility

Rate Capping as one of a number of financial measures in setting our budget, and therefore the rate, ensures financial responsibility. Setting the rate first and cutting our cloth to suit.

This must be done by Council with you providing the oversight, not a State Government external body.

Communication with Council

Those of you that have issue with communication from Council would be well aware of my intention to see this improve. Look out for my strategy to achieve this.

I will always that said be ready to represent you and advocate for you when needed, to help you work your way through the bureaucracy.

Trees

Always a topical and emotional topic are trees. Providing Local Leadership to ensure the correct balance will the subject of a future blog.

Council matters outside Clarence Park Ward and outside City of Unley.

Believe it or not but there is life outside our boundary. I will explore some of these shortly.

Then there is need for providing local leadership input into State and Federal issues that impact directly on Clarence Park Ward.

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For more detail in each of these areas, and others, watch for my blogs on each. I will share each blog on Facebook.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer. 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park.

People Power Only Works When Applied. Kaufland development deferred.

For people power to work the people must stand up. This I suggest did not occur yesterday when the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) hearing heard representations yesterday.

If you have not heard already, the Anzac Highway Le Cornu Kaufland development has been deferred. SCAP have, since receiving the representations, deliberated and decided the development is sufficiently at variance to the City of Unley Development Plan to warrant a number of issues addressed.

Only two people represented against the development. One of these used a proxy in Goodwood Ward Councillor Luke Smolucha.

More could have represented and chose not to use people power. Those who represented focused on gaining concessions rather than against the proposed development, many of which are included in the Panel’s requirements.

I sense both groups may have wrongly felt it was a fait-accompli and not worth challenging.

As a witness to the proceedings yesterday I had two overwhelming impressions. Firstly, I was impressed with Kaufland’s project manager Sam.

Kaufland, Anzac HighwayHe demonstrated to me he had an empathy for those in the community disturbed by the impact their development might have in the community. He gave a number of assurances during the hearing.

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The most significant of these was that he would ensure that deliveries would be via Maple Street. Drivers would not use Leah and Leader Streets to access the site. After the hearing he gave me a personal assurance that he would also ensure that the contract for construction of the development would also not use Leah Street to access the site.

In particular, he agreed that the demolition, earthmoving and concrete trucks would not use Leah Street. This is now on the public record as I expect this will be highlighted in the Eastern Courier meaning it is public knowledge.

They also worked hard to address a significant variance to Council’s development plan concerning at grade carparking. They are proposing to provide extensive screening to avoid what I highlighted on my recent blog concerning this deficiency.

The second overwhelming feeling I got from attending was my perception with the paradigm of the panel, while different to the community, was correct.

They were, in my opinion, concerned that the development was at significant variance from the objectives of Council’s Development Plan. Members of the panel sought feedback from nearly all who spoke on the question of it being a major supermarket with no residential component. This included both representors and Kaufland’s representatives.

They were almost begging for opposition on these grounds. Looking I  suspect for people power to present itself.

Their concerns mirrored my own assessment, as I blogged on back in May. The absence of a response was, in my mind, a trigger for them to consider approval, and ultimately to seek deferral to address concerns. In other words, a lack of opposition bought about the fait-accompli the community felt warranted rolling over on.

I truly believe that had there been greater numbers of people (greater people power) representing and/or an emphasis placed by those who did on highlighting the development was diametrically opposed to the development plan, the decision may have gone the other way. We will, however, never know.

Of course there is another twist to this. People Power may have felt the alternative was equally or more unpalatable. That being that the development plan allows for up to 6 storey development.

On a brighter note. Kaufland may prove to be a good corporate citizen and neighbour however.

As I indicated earlier, we may find that many of the fears our community may have may actually be just that; fears. I was once told that humans spend 80% of their time worrying about things that will never happen. That may prove accurate here.

If I have assessed Kaufland’s paradigm correctly, that may prove to be the case with the LeCornu development.

And …. the panel itself is clearly seeking the best possible solutions, to the benefit of the community.

Aggrieved Residents Around Goodwood receive Double Dose of Aggravation

To the chagrin of aggrieved residents the Goodwood Saints Football Club this week successfully applied to have an extension of light use at Goodwood Oval for training and for night matches.

Their application was heard and unanimously approved by the Council Assessment Panel (CAP).

Goodwood Oval LightsThe CAP is a body constituted under the Development Act. It has 4 independent members and 1 elected member. It hears and makes planning decisions on behalf of Council. Council’s elected body has no involvement in this process and is not able to impact on their decisions.

Residents and others, as required under the Act, made representations to the panel. 150 of them. 77 in favour and 73 against. 9 Aggrieved Residents backed up their written representations verbally on the night.

I am proud of my neighbours. They presented well and focused on planning issues. This is important as the Panel Members must make their decisions based on Planning principles.

I am proud too of the Panel Members. Their individual explanations indicated their interpretation of planning formed their respective opinions. This even though their opinion differed from the Residents.

With the decision favouring the Club, aggrieved residents may consider lodging an appeal. The ERD Court would hear any such appeal. Anyone considering appealing have 14 days to consider this.

I say aggrieved because they (the residents) feel the club is, by way of bracket creep, eating into their use of the facility and intrusion into their amenity.

These aggrieved residents unfortunately are now catching a double dose of aggravation with a section of the media choosing to pass judgement without knowing the facts.

Two Radio stations that I am aware of have covered this storey. Unfortunately however, news is littered with half-truths, myths and prejudices. Accordingly this compounds the agony for these residents.

One station chose to run an anti-resident campaign holding themselves up as knowing the facts. The other radio station researched the storey and the facts and covered it accordingly.

The first radio station focused on the right of girls to be able to play at the same venue as their brothers. It is quite appropriate to argue that case and I support that.

Their lack of research meant they failed however to even attempt to understand what the residents’ concerns were. Accordingly they ignored concerns that included extending the grief they already experience with illegal parking and not being able to access their driveways. The Oval being restricted to 2 nights a week was conveniently ignored.  And other like issues and I do not support that.

What they did was to ignore these very important issues. I guess this may be because they did not bother to research it.

They focused on the observation of just one resident. One of 73.

The Radio Station simply argued that lights will be turned off before bed time, or covered with a blind. So what’s the problem was their focus. Never mind noise and anti-social behaviour etc even though the Club acknowledges this.

They failed to check that the Oval is already being overused, even though the Club acknowledges this.

Any extension of the use by the club not only eats into the time they (the residents) might have access, but potentially makes the Oval unfit for the remaining access time they may have.

The other station understood this and reported accurately and without opinion.

For all that, Council has a responsibility.

The issues raised in this blog are issues that Council will have to manage, along with the Club and the residents.

We will. We already are. Let’s face it, it is our responsibility. The Club has confirmed publically that it has a responsibility too. Accordingly we should be able to work with them to address the concerns of their neighbours.

Watch for future blogs to see what we are doing.

Light Tension at Goodwood Oval as Saints Seek More illumination.

Our Council Assessment Panel will feel a light tension this Tuesday night. The Panel meets on that night to adjudicate on a single Development Application.

This application has prompted a not so light tension within the local community. This means it is the only application considered on the night.

Goodwood Oval LightsWith 4 independent members and just one elected member they are appointed under the Development Act to represent Council. They must assess applications based on the Act, the Development Regulations and the City of Unley Development Plan.

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On Tuesday night they must decide whether to accept or refuse a Development Application by the Goodwood Saints Football Club. The club is seeking to extend the hours of use of the lights at Goodwood Oval.

As part of the process of determining the fate of the application they have received no fewer than 150 representations. Around half of these oppose the proposed development, half support. Some of those who have provided a representation will take the opportunity to verbally present to the Panel.

The tension between the Club and nearby residents caused by this application should not deter the Panel from their responsibility under the Act. That said I imagine there will be more than just a light tension in the gallery on Tuesday night.

As they exist courtesy of the Development Act and not the Local Government Act the panel cannot be lobbied. This is unlike when Council considers an issue. Even Council can’t influence them.

When the Panel read representations or hear testimonies they must evaluate them in purely development plan terms. This is enhanced with the influence of elected member diminished to just one of five. This courtesy, of course, of the former Planning Minister John Rau.

The big question is, will they agree with the recommendation of Council’s Planning Department who believe the application is not seriously at variance to the Development Plan.

The proposed Kaufland Development on the LeCornu Anzac Highway site is fundamentally flawed.

The proposed Kaufland Development on the LeCornu Anzac Highway site is fundamentally flawed. As I argued in my other blog today it is seriously at variance to the Development Plan.

I argued it is diametrically the opposite of the vision the State Government and the Council have for this site. A vision for medium density housing.

The Government was quite clear in how it looked to house our population into the future. It was by focusing on increasing residential density in the inner rim council areas. The development plan recognises this. The proposal does not. It recreates the carparking focus of the past.

Car parking at grade is a major component of this development. Because of the focus on this, the proposal is seriously at variance to the development plan.

The development plan views this site as primarily in a residential area. To compliment this, one of the Principles of Development Control in the Unley Development Plan states:

“no” vehicle parking is to be located or made visible from the Anzac Highway or Leader Street frontages, except where parking is required for people with a disability.”

In other words, the development plan recognises that parking at grade is a visual eyesore. Parking at grade (at street level) should not be a major part of a residential zone. With its retail focus, this development contravenes this basic principle.

With a focus therefore on anything but residential this development fails miserably. Because it is a retail only project, it is fundamentally flawed. Therefore, it is seriously at variance to the Development Plan.

The State Commission Assessment Panel must surely recognize the complete failure of the development to meet the fundamental requirement of the Development Plan.

Approval by the SCAP will make a mockery of what the Government and Council have endeavoured to achieve in addressing population growth. Taking a site so suited to medium density residential development and focusing it instead on a mega supermarket is diametrically opposite to the vision and should be refused.

Kaufland, Anzac Highway: Seriously at Variance to Unley Development Plan

The proposed Kaufland development on the old Anzac Highway LeCornu site is, I believe, seriously at variance to the Unley Development Plan.

Kaufland, Anzac HighwayAn initial cursory look at the plans last week had me thinking it was not seriously at variance. This was based on recognising only the built form.

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The height of the proposed structure is only 2 storeys. The set back to Anzac Highway well over the allowable 3m. The set back to Leader Street, where it abuts the adjacent residential zone, is 5m rather than the 2m allowed.

Taking an opportunity this week to check  the development proposed more thoroughly revealed to me differently. Without a doubt, the Kaufland proposal is seriously at variance to the development plan.

The Development Plan stems from the recent Ministerial (Specific Sites) DPA. A plan influenced by Council’s input. Input in keeping with our strategy for all Urban Corridor Development Zones within our Council. Input the Government (as previously reported on this blog site) is now using to correct poor design outcomes in other Council areas.

Here is the crunch.

The proposed development is a fully retail development focusing on a mega supermarket. It has no residential component. This is diametrically the opposite of what the then minister, and Council envisaged for this area.

The first two objectives for what is called Policy Area 24 within the plan are as follows:

Objective 1

A medium Density Residential area” supported” by local shops, offices and community spaces.

Objective 2

A highly varied streetscape allowing “multiple” built form design responses that supports innovative housing and mixed-use development.

 

The desired character for the policy area therefore is (as the plan says) to “primarily’ serve a residential function with support “only” of shops, offices etc. There can be no argument therefore. This development therefore is clearly seriously at variance to the intention of the development plan.

The Development Plan goes even deeper. It includes a minimum density requirement. It calls for a minimum density of 45 dwellings per hectare. The development site is 20,950 m2 in size. This means there should be at least 90 homes/units on this site

This surely is a critical requirement. Without even a single house it can therefore seriously only be viewed as seriously at variance to the plan.

This fundamental flaw in the Kaufland Development creates a major conflict for a residential area. My blog today on carparking demonstrates further that it is  seriously at variance to the development plan and should be refused.

Community Engagement Charter Adopted by new State Government

Not quite a month in office and the new Government, through their Minister for Planning Stephan Knoll, has announced the adoption of the Community Engagement Charter.

Stephan Knoll

 

This is the Community Engagement Charter developed by the previous State Government. Let us hope the new government follows the intent of the Charter.

Many in the community believe the previous Government, while waiving the big stick at Councils, did not practice what they preached. This may well have contributed to their election loss.

The announcement is as follows:

The Minister for Planning has announced the adoption and release of the Community Engagement Charter for implementation commencing on 27 April 2018.

Community engagement is at the heart of the new planning system that will be introduced over the next 3-4 years.  The Community Engagement Charter (the Charter) supports new and innovative ways to talk to communities and other interested parties about planning issues.

The Charter changes the way that local and state governments are required to consult with the community during the preparation of changes to planning strategies and policies (such as rezoning of land).

Rather than legislative one-size-fits-all approach the Charter requires those consulting to tailor the engagement to suit the project and the communities who are interested and may be impacted by the proposed changes.

It recognises that with technological advances there are many options to successfully consult with communities. Local and state governments and other bodies consulting on planning matters will be required to meet the following principles in undertaking engagement.

  1. Engagement is genuine
  2. Engagement is inclusive and respectful
  3. Engagement is fit for purpose
  4. Engagement is informed and transparent
  5. Engagement processes are reviewed and improved

The Charter has been informed by a staged consultation starting with the Planning Together Panel and input by a broader stakeholder group.  The Discussion Draft of the Charter was then released for six weeks of public consultation. Following that the Draft Charter was released for another six weeks of public consultation before final amendments were made. More information on the consultation process can be found on the SA Planning Portal.

It is recognised that the Charter will need to evolve over time.  In its first year, it will primarily be applied to the development of the new State Planning Policies, the Planning and Design Code, and Infrastructure Schemes as required under the new Act.

As the State Planning Commission prepares these documents, it will test the Charter and its application to allow for its ongoing evolution. During this time the Commission welcomes ongoing feedback to assist in monitoring and improving the Charter.

A copy of the Community Engagement Charter can be downloaded from the SA Planning Portal http://www.saplanningportal.sa.gov.au/our_new_system/community_engagement_charter: