A developer has had three recent wins in the Land and Environment Court after using “deemed refusals” by council to gain approvals for three developments.
Two of the developments approved are on the Woy Woy peninsula and the third one is at Blue Bay.
A deemed refusal means the Council has not made a decision on a development application (DA) within 60 days.
An applicant can appeal the deemed refusal in the NSW Land and Environment Court within six months of the deemed refusal date.
But the window to take it to court closes after that date.
More and more developers are considering the court option.
Central Coast Council is not meeting its targets in dealing with development applications.
The targets in this year’s operational plan call for median of all development application categories be determined in less than 40 calendar days.
But that takes in easy assessments such as house renovations as well as the bigger developments.
In March 2023, Council noted a 52 per cent increase in community complaints compared to the same period a year earlier with the main contributor being complaints to the Environment and Planning Department.
It had a 155 per cent increase in community complaints.
A third of those were about development application assessments, in particular general delays and lack of communication.
In this particular case, the Land and Environment Court ruled on all three addresses in three separate cases that went through the same process.
The parties underwent conciliation conferences late last year where amendments to designs were agreed upon between council and the applicant.
Then three different commissioners dealt with the matters in December, ruling that the Court accepted the agreements.
“Based on the amended plans and supporting documents to the DA, the parties explained to the Court that there are no jurisdictional impediments to the making of the agreement or for the Court in making the orders, as sought,” the judgements state in all three cases.
The applicant was ordered to pay costs of $12,000 to the respondent, Central Coast Council, for costs on each of the three cases.
This relates to the work Council spent assessing the original DA before an amended application was submitted.
33 Burrawang Street, Ettalong Beach: approval for the demolition of existing structures and the construction of 3 x 2-storey units.
102 Bay Road, Blue Bay: approval for demolition of the existing structures and construction of a multi dwelling housing development, consisting of three dwellings, landscaping and associated works
34 Picnic Parade, Ettalong Beach: approval for the demolition of existing structures and the construction of three, 2-storey units, including associated landscaping.
Other developers have used the same process to get approval.
A childcare centre at Warnervale; and a a dual occupancy at Fountaindale are among the latest decisions with more applicants currently going through the process.