SHANE Rattenbury has introduced legislation to increase the level of community involvement and improve early planning processes for developments in the ACT.
“This legislation would require a proponent to undertake pre-development application consultation with the community in order for a Minister to utilise call-in powers,” Shane said.
“The ACT Greens have long opposed the use of call-in powers, however, have been unable to gain support for their removal in the Assembly. This legislation instead goes some way towards improving processes around their use.
“This creates an incentive for proponents, particularly those of potentially controversial developments, to undertake consultation with the community and work through any potential issues in the early stages of the process.
“This would certainly help to alleviate many issues that arise once the development application has been lodged and also help developers understand what the community’s concerns may be, and adjust their proposals in response before lodging them.
“Consultation could include public meetings, consultation with community councils, letter box drops or other similar processes.
“Under the current system, development applications simply appear on the list of current proposals and the community has a very short time to figure out exactly what the development is, what the impacts might be, and whether or not they could make any objections of any value. For many concerned residents this means a very sudden crash course in the very complex ACT planning system.
“I am not trying to encourage call-ins, but I am keen to encourage early community discussions. For example, had early consultation requirements been in place during the development of the solar project at Uriarra, we may not have such a high level of debate between the local community and the developer.
“Changes proposed by former Greens MLA, Caroline Le Couteur in 2011 brought in a requirement for pre-DA consultation on some larger building developments and deconcessionalisation proposals. This has seen a significant drop in community complaints about development applications, particularly in-fill developments.