C48 hardship cases heard
By Bert van Bedaf
SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council has begun dealing with people who have suffered hardship because of the C48 planning amendment imposed on council by Planning Minister Justin Madden on May 29.
During the council meeting on November 4, Mayor Jim Fawcett adjourned the meeting for a private conversation with the new chief executive Tim Tamlin and planning officers to discuss the process.
Council will deal with individual cases in private and report “only in generic terms”.
It will publicly release the number of cases, but it will not reveal any private data, which will
The results of the hardship inquiry will form part of a submission to Minister Madden, who will be asked to receive a council delegation on the hardship issue.
Council’s action came in response to an initiative in Mildura, which is similarly affected by State Government planning intervention under its C58 Amendment.
Last September council “welcomed news that Planning Minister Madden has offered concessions relating to transition hardship issues in the Mildura Shire”.
“It is good news in that it does indicate that the Minister is listening and that considerate and articulate negotiations with the Minister could bear fruit for some of our landowners who might meet specific criteria,” Cr Fawcett said then.
“We appreciate that this is a difficult time for landowners caught in the process and we are endeavouring to expedite an outcome that will meet the needs of the community and the requirements of the Minister.
“In light of the Minister’s statement and the gazetted amendments, council is urgently undertaking an audit of some 50 applications that were being processed for rural dwellings to determine relevant criteria for the Minister’s consideration.
“Council has been concerned about people who have been affected by the C48 Amendment and has had several discussions with State Government representatives regarding the need for transition arrangements. It has also been monitoring, on an ongoing basis, people who have been adversely caught by the amendment.”
Council passed a motion on October 7 requesting Minister Madden receives a council delegation “to discuss any transitional hardship issues” caused by the amendment, once transitional hardship cases have been “identified and considered by council”.
People are invited to check council’s website for hardship information and a claims form for submission.
Criteria for hardship claims were outlined by council’s planning manager Chris Wightman.
“If landowners who had (submitted) an application prior to May 29 (when the amendment came in force) and feel they are affected by similar circumstances to those at Mildura, we invite them to contact council to discuss the matter.
“However, it is important not to confuse the issues of transitional hardship with the continuing development of the Rural Land Use Strategy, which remains the key issue in our efforts to have our planning powers returned.”
Council established a Rural Strategy Reference Group to deal with the strategy and “ensure delivery to council prior to June 2010”.
The Government’s concessions, relating to Mildura landowners whose properties were identified as specific sites, includes an ability to apply for a planning permit for a dwelling. The Government banned construction of dwellings in South Gippsland on land less than 40ha in the farming zone, which caught up to 60 landowners
The assessment process for affected landowners will include the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) as a referral authority.
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