Moorabool Online - Your Say
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by John Kowarsky

Moorabool Shire Council (MSC) issued Planning Permit PA2015108 at its Section 86 Development Assessment Committee (DAC)
Meeting on 23rd November 2016.

I was a formal objector to the application for this Permit for the
property 22 Fisken Street Ballan which inter alia was asking for exemption from providing 11 parking
spaces.

The exemption was granted, but a condition was included (Condition 12). The Developer
did not challenge this Condition.

Condition 12 required the Developer build as footpath along Steiglitz Street from their property to
the public off-street parking area some 85 metres east.

While I was disappointed that the parking exemption was granted, this Condition meant (i)
pedestrians would have better access from and to the off-street parking area mentioned, thus
reducing on-street parking pressure and (ii), at least in part the important principal that Developer
should take responsibility for their parking was upheld.

The Developer with Permit PA2015108 did not meet the Permit timelines. Permit PA2015108 lapsed
before works were completed.

The Developer then lodged an application for a new Permit, PA2020096. This was issued at MSC’s
DAC meeting on 19th August 2020. The new permit significantly changed one of the Conditions
(replacing the old Condition 12 with a new Condition 15).
Condition 15 simply said that a footpath had to be constructed to the “satisfaction of Council”.
MSC did not advertise this new application, nor did they consult with me as an objector to the
original Permit PA2015108. I was unaware of the above new Permit and I thus had no opportunity
to object.

At the DAC Meeting 19th August 2020, the documentation gave absolutely no indication that
Condition 12 of PA2015108 was being replaced by Condition 15 of PA2020096. Likewise, the audio
recording of the meeting shows that this change was not mentioned by any Council Officers,
Councillors, or the Developer’s representative.

Subsequent discussion with some Councillors, plus ensuing evidence from a further meeting (see
below) has shown that Councillors were not aware of the above change when they voted to issue
Permit PA2020096.

On 30th August 2020 I submitted a question to MSC for their 2nd September 2020 Ordinary Meeting.

It was clear from the specific nature of my question referencing the footpath to the off-street
parking area that I was still unaware of the new Permit, and nothing was said in the response
(livestream available from the MSC website, one of the first items), or by any of the Councillors,
some of whom were present at the DAC Meeting of 19th August 2020, to correct my
misapprehension.

I am convinced that some, if not all, of the Councillors at this September meeting
were also unaware that the footpath requirement in the new Permit had been changed.
Unfortunately, the Minutes for this meeting did not include my written question (just a brief and
unfair summary).

I, still unaware of the new Permit, became increasingly concerned that the footpath from the
development to the off-street car park had not been done, and I made several attempts to find out
from MSC what was happening.

I finally received a response from MSC from which I have gleaned that MSC apparently is satisfied
with a short footpath alongside the development (although this is not specified in the present
Permit) and has abandoned the original concept of a useful footpath to the off-street parking area
some 85 m east along Steiglitz Street. The response avoided mentioning the original requirement or
apprising me of the new Permit. I was not satisfied with the response.

As it stands now, Permit PA2020096 is being administered by MSC to relieve the Developer from
complying with a most reasonable condition (to which as I have said, the Developer originally
agreed) which would be to the benefit of the Ballan community. In fact, the Developer is being
rewarded for allowing their original Permit 2015108 to lapse.

I cannot see the point of have timeline conditions built into a Permit particularly if Council is cavalier
in issuing the replacement Permit with less rigorous Conditions.
By (i) changing a Condition of the new permit to the advantage of the Developer without informed
approval of Councillors (ii) delays in providing me with information, (iii) not properly briefing
Councillors about significant changes to Conditions, and (iv) not advising me as an objector to the
application for a new permit, MSC has demonstrated its maladministration.

The footpath should be constructed by the Developer all the way to the off-street parking area
some 85 m eastwards along Steiglitz Street.

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Dev
Author: Dev