HELICOPTER APPLICATION – ANOTHER NOTICE OF MOTION FOR A REFUSAL

I’ve submitted yet another Notice of Motion (the third) with regard to the application to conduct recreational helicopter operations from residential properties on Woongarra Scenic Drive, Bargara. The motion will be heard at the next Planning Committee Meeting scheduled for next Tuesday 21st July 2015 and I’m hoping that this time it won’t get trumped or delayed.

This time the motion also makes reference to legal advice which has recently been commissioned by Council’s planning officers.

The following I a bit lengthy due to the drawn out saga and repeated delays surrounding this application but the actual Notice of Motion is listed towards the end……

Background:

19 May 2015 – At its Planning Meeting held on 19 May 2015 Council rejected the recommendation of its Planning Officers to refuse an application which sought approval to conduct take-offs, landings and the storage of a recreational Robinson R22 helicopter on residential land located at Nos 2 & 6 Woongarra Scenic Drive, Bargara.

Eleven detailed reasons were contained in the assessment report in support of the recommendation including several of which identified non-compliances with Council’s adopted planning legislation as well as public safety concerns which were further supported by feedback from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

33 of 39 (85%) properly made submissions from the community were strongly opposed  to the application.

Staff were questioned about the relevance of CASA’s advice and why it was referred to them in the first place.

No alternative motion was put to the meeting and none has been proposed in the interim period. As a result, the application has remained unresolved.

2 June 2015 – Council adopted its 2015/16 budget which recognises vehicular and pedestrian safety concerns associated with the intersection of Woongarra Scenic Drive and Causeway Drive, located opposite the properties which are the subjects of the application. The extent of these concerns has been significant enough to attract a total funding package of $1.2M through Federal & State Government grant schemes to install a roundabout at this location.

27 May 2015 – I submitted a Notice of Motion to the Ordinary Meeting of Council scheduled for 9 June 2015. The motion sought to refuse the application and support the planning officer’s actions in seeking the advice of CASA as a relevant authority.

A subsequent Notice of Motion was later submitted by the Mayor to “reintroduce the application for consideration by Council at a future Planning Committee Meeting”.

9 June 2015 – At Council’s Ordinary Meeting the Mayor exercised his authority as the Chair of the meeting to re-arrange the order of business as published on the public meeting agenda in order to have his personal motion elevated on the list thereby taking precedence over the motion earlier proposed by myself. The Mayor’s motion was subsequently successful and the matter was deferred.

2 June 2015 – I submitted another Notice of Motion for the Planning Meeting scheduled for 30 June again seeking the refusal of the application. Council officers also listed another report to the same Planning Meeting with yet another recommendation for a refusal.

29 June 2015 – At 9.18 pm on the evening before the next scheduled Planning Meeting the applicant’s consultants advised that they had tried that morning to gain advice from CASA, the Commonwealth Department of Transport & Regional Development and also the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government & Planning. They advised that these agencies were unable to provide the advice sought within the short timeframe apparently because the meeting was scheduled for the next day. It is noted that this advice appears to have received been within 14 hours of the scheduled meeting and some 6 weeks after CASA’s advice to Council was first presented in the Planner’s assessment report on 19 May.

30 June 2015 – Councillors and officers met in a closed briefing session immediately prior to the commencement of the Planning Meeting.

Shortly afterwards, the Planning Meeting was opened and a motion was immediately put to concede to the applicant’s request and have the matter deferred until the next Planning Meeting. The motion was carried and as a result, both my motion and the officer’s motion were withdrawn from the order of business for the meeting.

14 July 2015

Council Officers presented a legal advice from Council’s Solicitors, commissioned to clarify the lawfulness and assessment weighting to be applied to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA’s) Third Party Advice.  The legal advice sought commentary on whether it was lawful and reasonable for Council to seek advice from CASA and whether an assessment weighting could be placed on this advice to support the Council recommendation.

The following motion once again seeks Council’s support to refuse the application for the reasons listed in the motion.

It further seeks to endorse the assessing officer’s action sin seeking CASA’s advice as the nation’s peak authority on air traffic safety issues noting that the original assessment report provided a link to Council’s adopted Corporate Plan vis “Governance – 4.4.6 – A commonsense approach to planning, coordination and consultation”.

Motion:

That:-

  1. agenda Item L3 of the Planning Meeting of Council held on Tuesday 19 May 2015 relating to Application No 322.2014.42328.1 seeking approval for the use of residential land for the purpose of recreational helicopter take-offs, landings and storage, be reintroduced at today’s Planning Committee Meeting.
  2. the recommendation of the Assessment Team to refuse the above application for the eleven reasons detailed in the assessment report, be noted;
  3. the application be refused for the following 11 reasons:-

Reasons for Refusal

  • The proposed development is in conflict with the Desired Environmental Outcomes (DEOs) of the Burnett Shire Planning Scheme, specifically DEO 2.3(1-3) and DEO 2.4 for matter relating to infrastructure and community well-being.

  • The proposed development is in conflict with the Coastal Towns Planning Area Code of the Burnett Shire Planning Scheme including Specific Outcomes SO.6, SO.17, SO.18 and SO.19 and Overall Outcomes OO2(i)(iii), OO2(i)(iv), OO2(k) and OO2(l) for matters relating to land-use and character and amenity.
     
  • The proposed development is in conflict with the Urban Residential Zone Code of the Burnett Shire Planning Scheme including Specific Outcomes SO.120, SO.121 and SO.122 and Overall Outcomes OO2(b), OO2(i) and OO2(k) for matters relating to land-use and character and amenity.
     
  • The proposal is inconsistent with the established residential character of the surrounding area.
     
  • The proposed development would result in an unacceptable loss of amenity for surrounding residents. 
  • The proposal will to create an environmental nuisance.
     
  • The proposed development is in conflict with the Infrastructure Overlay Code of the Burnett Shire Planning Scheme including Specific Outcome SO.234 and Overall Outcome OO(f) for matters relating to infrastructure and public safety.
     
  • There is no or insufficient evidence that the proposed development avoids or lessens risks to the local residents and users of the road network and the wider community.
     
  • The applicant has not demonstrated an overriding need for the proposed development in the location, given the availability of appropriately zoned land elsewhere in the Planning Scheme area. 
  • The development cannot be reasonably conditioned to comply with the Burnett Shire Planning Scheme.
     
  • There are insufficient planning grounds to support the development despite its identified conflicts with the Burnett Shire Planning Scheme.
  1. the actions of the Assessment Team in seeking the professional opinion and advice of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) with respect to the above application be endorsed.
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