DAP Refuses Vodafone Phone Tower

DAP this evening refused unanimously the conversion of the south east Goodwood Oval light tower to a Phone Tower.

As expected the DAP meeting was well attended with a packed gallery. Of the 107 representors (all opposing the development) we received for this development application 25 were listed to speak on the night to their representations, 6 actually spoke and there was a recurring theme through the representations provided.

For those of you who have kept abreast of this project you would be well aware and probably agree with the theme of concerns presented. They included their impact on the visual amenity, health concerns , the impact on pedestrian movement and carparking and vegetation removal.

The applicant was of the opinion, as was our planning officer that these concerns were unfounded in that the visual impact would be felt only from within the boundary of the property, that the tower would be constructed in accordance with internationally recognised guidelines on radio frequency levels. Pedestrian movement, Car parking and vegetation clearance were seen as non issues.

The regularly recognised observation is that the tower is proposed to be located in a Historic Conservation Zone and is out of character with such a residential focused area.

Another issue raised by a few was that the tower would have a detrimental impact on their property value. As noted in the planning report this is not a planning issue and can not therefore be considered by the panel. If it were it could only be established by securing a professional property valuation.

The Panel, in debating the item, found that the development was seriously at variance to the Unley Development Plan in that it is a non complying development would impact significantly on the Historic Conservation Zone, that the tower has not been designed to minimise visual impact on the surrounding neighbourhood and that the application impacts significantly on a high visitation area.

As I see it I interpret this to mean they (the Panel) agreed with the representors that the tower should be located in a more compatible environment.

People power has won the day but only because regulation has supported their stance.

Vodafone Phone Tower at Goodwood Oval to be considered by DAP

After the cat 3 public consultation back in August and another just completed consultation undertaken on behalf not of our DAP but Council the Vodafone Phone Tower Development Application at Goodwood Oval will be considered by DAP this Thursday evening.

This is a specially convened meeting and is open to the public. I expect the public gallery will be full. It is a Development Assessment Panel meeting at which those members of the public who made representations way back in August and who indicated a desire in their representation to speak to the panel will be heard. This is in accordance with the Government’s Development Regulations.

Goodwood Oval South East Light Tower

Goodwood Oval South East Light Tower

Everyone is welcome to attend but only to speak if you did indicate your wish to speak when you made your written representation. I will be there as a member of the public and look forward to meeting with you should you choose to come.

The panel, which is made up of 4 independent members and 3 elected members, must make a decision based on the Development Act and on the Unley Development Plan. The members of this panel cannot be lobbied. If they were to partake in conversation with you they would have, under the Development Act, a conflict of interest and would then not be able to vote.

In making an assessment the panel members would have to consider as I see it the following:

1    Whether the development complies with the various Australian standards concerning Electro magnetic radiation.

2   If the final structure impacts negatively on the neighbouring properties and if so whether there is sufficient screening or not to obviate this.

3   Whether the development is suitable or not in the Historic Conservation Zone in which it is located, making it a non-complying development.

The Council’s officer has indicated that he believes they have complied with item 1 and that there is sufficient screening from a visual perspective. The panel may or may not agree with this. The fact remains of course that it IS NON COMPLYING DEVELOPMENT.

If it is not approved that will be the end of it.

If it is approved I believe the proposal must then come before Council which may well be as soon as our next meeting on November 23. The reason for this is they have applied to lease the tower or the portion of public land. That requires council approval on behalf of the community. Hence the recent public consultation that ended just last week.

Should it be heard at that or subsequent meeting, which will also be a public meeting, you can:

1   Make a delegation or prepare a petition for presentation at that meeting. A petition with a delegation by one or two proponents to the petition works best in my experience. I recommend that if you wish to do this you notify the Mayor or the CEO as soon as possible after “a” decision for approval is made by the DAP.

2   Lobby all your elected members/councillors. Their contact details are available freely on the Unley web site.

Once again I would expect the public gallery to be full.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodwood Oval Vodafone Phone Tower FAQ

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.

 

 

Vodafone Tower proposed for Goodwood Oval attracts significant public reaction from locals.

The Vodafone Tower proposed for Goodwood Oval has attracted significant public reaction from locals and the DAP meeting where it will be considered promises to be well attended and keenly observed.

 

119 Representations have been received by Council on the Vodafone Tower proposed for Goodwood Oval. This exceeds by the proverbial mile the number of representations received on any other development application during my 4 years as a member of Council’s previous Development Assessment Panels (DAP).

The number of representors wishing to be heard at the DAP is so large that I understand that this application will be the only one addressed at the meeting when it is called.  The meeting I expect will be held sometime in October but I guess it is possible (given it will be the only item addressed on the night) that it may be sooner.

As soon as I am aware of the date, time and venue for the meeting I will advise you in this platform. Those who have made representation and have indicated their intention to speak will be advised by Council.

The DAP is charged with making the decision on behalf of Council. Council (as in the elected member body) do not get a vote on the proposal.

It is a panel constituted under the State Government’s Development Act and is responsible to adjudicate the application strictly against Council’s Development Plan. It consists of 4 independent members with experience in planning matters and 3 of our elected members including Jennie my co-councillor Jennie.

Panel members are not permitted to discuss the proposal with anyone failing which they would have to declare a conflict of interest under the Act and remove themselves from the Panel. This is why I indicated in my first blogpost on this topic back on August 1 that you should refrain from speaking to Jennie.

A number of questions have arisen in the last couple of days about the Vodafone Tower proposed for Goodwood Oval and I will attempt in a separate blog post later tonight to answer as many as I can.