The following is a Goodwood Oval Vodafone Phone Tower FAQ list resulting from conversations I have had.
I reproduce them now for everyone with an interest in this proposal in an attempt help you all understand the process and further your representation if you have lodged one. The answers are my answers and they are given as my understanding.
Is this a council or council inspired proposal?
No. The application is a 3rd party application from Vodafone. Council is not involved
Will Council benefit from the Phone Tower?
As the owner of the land on which the tower is proposed to be located it would receive a rental which I understand is calculated by the State Government.
How much is that rent?
I would have to confirm this but I believe it is something like $ 5,000 of maybe as high as $ 15,000.
Has Council therefore a vested interest in the tower being approved?
For the amounts mentioned above I would hardly think this would constitute a vested interest.
Will you be making the decision?
No! Council and its elected members including myself do not adjudicate and cannot adjudicate on development applications.
Who will approve or disallow the application?
Council’s Development Assessment Panel (DAP) is empowered to make this decision. This is an independent panel which is constituted under the State Government’s Development Act.
If that is the case can Council represent against the proposal?
No. The DAP represents the Council and their decision is binding.
Who is on the DAP?
The Panel is made up of 4 independent members and 3 elected members.
Can I lobby members of the Panel?
No. Unlike normal Council business which is governed by the Local Government Act development applications are governed by the Development Act. This Act dictates that a member of the panel must
- Declare a conflict of interest if they engage in conversation with any applicant or representor.
- And then leave the meeting and not vote on the application.
Is it possible that similar proposals could be made by Telstra and Optus for the other phone towers?
I guess it is possible. From a development plan point of view it certainly can. Whether there are other constraints however I do not know.
Have I a right of appeal if the Panel approves the application?
As a category 3 application I believe so. Any such appeal will be heard by the ERD Court.
Does Vodafone have the same right of appeal if the Panel refuses the application?
The application is for non-complying development. As I understand it this disallows them from appealing.
Can I still put in a representation?
No! The time for submitting a representation has already passed.
Can I speak at the DAP meeting?
If you have indicated your intention on your written representation, Yes!
How long can I speak for?
5 minutes, plus answering any question that panel members may ask you after you have finished with your representation.
Is Health a consideration under the Development Plan?
My understanding of the development plan is no. DAP members will be instructed on whether this is a consideration to take into account. Given the conflicting expert opinion on the health impacts of phone towers this would be difficult.
Will Council be responsible if it can be proved later that these towers are cancer causing?
I honestly cannot answer that question as I am not a lawyer. I imagine not however if due process has been followed.
Why did I not receive a letter as others did?
In developments that are classified as category 2 applications letters are sent to the immediate neighbours and to every property on the other side of the road within 60 metres of the property being redeveloped.
Category 3 applications allow for a wider representation but the means of advising is by way of public notices in the paper.
If you fell outside the cat 2 area you would not have received a letter.
This is precisely why I posted a blog on my web site on 1 August and why I alerted the author of the Goodwood Oval website.
When will the DAP meet and will I be informed?
I asked this same question of our Manager of Planning a couple of weeks ago and it was expected the meeting would be held in October. The planning staff need time to collate all the representations and confer with the applicant over the representations received before preparing a report and recommendations to the panel.
I expect representors who have asked to speak will be advised of the meeting date. I will post a blog when I know the date of the meeting.
If you have an interest please keep in touch with my website and/or my Facebook page.