OUR SAY: Planning process leaves council powerless

COMMENT: Residents of North Orange concerned that the future or their suburb is not only out of the community’s hands but also the council’s are right, and the situation will probably get worse.

After fighting against a McDonald’s at the intersection of Farrell Road and the Northern Distributor they now face the prospect of another planning decision that would open the way for a second takeaway food outlet and service station near the controversial McDonald’s site.

The development site, just up Telopea Way from the intersection with the distributor, is one that the council has opposed rezoning because of the additional traffic that would be generated and because other suitable land with the necessary zoning is available on the distributor.

STORY: TELOPEA WAY TRAFFIC BACK ON AGENDA

The Joint Regional Planning Panel will hear the arguments in private before deciding whether to support changing the use of land which is currently zoned for standard residential use. Some commercial activity, like childcare services, is permissible, but a fast food outlet is not.

Why? Because this process already trumps the power of a local council to control its own planning laws.

So the land is not zoned for takeaway food or a fuel outlet and neither council nor the residents want it and yet the developers can ask a planning panel and the NSW government to overrule them.

If the O’Farrell government continues down the path of streamlining the planning process at the expense of community and council concerns there will be little point in councils everywhere retaining their so-called planning powers.

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