Coffs Council approves $215M in development

DEVELOPMENT may be a controversial word on the Coffs Coast, but a new report card shows our local councils are approving millions of dollars worth of development in record times.

The Local Government Performance Report Card, released yesterday, is an annual report that looks at the number of development applications (DA) determined by councils, their types and their values in the period 2007-08.

Coffs Harbour City Council determined 1356 DAs, Bellingen Shire determined 347, and Nambucca Shire 289, with values of $215 million, $20 million and $61 million respectively.

Development in Coffs Harbour is approved quicker than elsewhere, with determination reached in 67 days, 102 days in Bellingen and 123 days in Nambucca.

But the waiting time increases for stop-the-clock DAs, in which additional information is sought from the applicants, with DAs in Coffs taking 110 days, Bellingen 184 and Nambucca 200 days.

More commercial DAs were approved in Nambucca (11) than elsewhere (Coffs 7, Bellingen 4), while Bellingen has the longest waiting time for approval of commercial DAs (173 days) than its neighbouring councils (Coffs 49 days, Nambucca 143 days).

Local Government Association president Genie McCaffery said the report acknowledges that councils are the 'workhorse' of the planning system.

“DAs for older and more established areas are more frequent and complex, which significantly affects processing times,” Cr McCaffery said.

“Yet this report highlights the efficiency of our rural and regional councils.”

NSW Planning Minister Kristina Keneally said the report showed there had been a slight downturn in building activity.

“It's no secret we're in hard economic times and that's being felt across the state, including in the development industry,” Ms Keneally said.

The report also found that council staff is more involved in DA approval than elected councillors, with between 0.4 to 3.1 per cent of all DAs on the Coffs Coast determined by councillors.

REPORT FINDINGS

Finding...................Coffs City.............Bellingen..........Nambucca

DAs determined...........1356....................347.......................289

Value...........................$215m..............$20m.....................$61m

Alterations.....................1........................31..........................39

Single new dwelling.......18.......................14..........................22

Commercial....................7.........................4...........................11

CDC issued/value...........3($14495).........5($65480)........76($3m)

Determination time (day).....67.................102.......................123

Time alterations (day).........59...................70........................93

Time residential (day).........68....................94........................96

Time commercial (day)........49...................173......................143

Stop-the-clock (day).............110.................184......................200

Determination by councillors..0.4%............2.3%..................3.1%

Determination by staff...........99.6%..........97.7%...............96.9%

Source: Local Development Performance Monitoring 2007-08, Dept of Planning



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