A CONTROVERSIAL 16-lot subdivision application, proposed by former Tasmanian treasurer David Crean, near Ancanthe Park at Lenah Valley has been approved.
The decision was made by Hobart City Council’s development and environmental services director Neil Noye after the elected council could not produce a quorum to make a decision.
At the last council meeting one alderman was absent and four others declared an interest.
The council’s development and environmental services committee had recommended to the full council that the development be rejected.
This was against the recommendation of council staff who had recommended its approval.
The rocky road in the planning process for Mr Crean’s development was not only with aldermen.
A report to aldermen from council staff last month recommended refusal after the council’s senior cultural heritage officer, Brendan Lennard, recommended the application be rejected, saying the subdivision was not in keeping and would detract from the heritage-listed Lady Franklin Museum and Ancanthe Park.
But the report that went before aldermen this month recommended approval.
This was partly based on advice from the council’s senior legal adviser that the comments from Mr Lennard were inconsistent with recent decisions of the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal and therefore should not be relied on to refuse the application.
Saving Ancanthe Action Group spokesman Martin Gibson said the development’s approval would be appealed.
Earlier on Tasmanian Times:
Leo Schofield: HCC must knock this obscene plan on the head
David Crean’s subdivision proposal sparks opposition
Council stuck on subdivision
CHARLES WATERHOUSE | December 29, 2011 12.00am
DAMON Thomas has backed the decisions of those aldermen on Hobart City Council who declared an interest, which led to the elected council being unable to reach a quorum to consider a controversial subdivision application near Ancanthe Park at Lenah Valley.
At the last meeting of the council one alderman was absent and four declared an interest in the 16-lot residential subdivision application by former Tasmanian treasurer David Crean.
Alderman Thomas, Hobart’s lord mayor, who has a background as a barrister and solicitor, said: “I think they considered all the advice given to them and made the decisions they made.”
Because the council had no quorum, it could not debate and vote on the residential subdivision. The decision then had to be made by the council’s development and environmental services director Neil Noye, who approved it.
Some opponents of the subdivision have questioned legal advice aldermen received, which greatly limited what they could do outside the formal planning consideration. In the past it has been common for aldermen to attend meetings, on the proposed site of developments, with opponents and developers before or after a planning application was formally lodged with the council.
Based on the recent legal advice, aldermen believe their role is far more constrained. For example, if they attend a meeting with a developer or opponents, a council officer must be present.
Opponents of the subdivision said the legal interpretation of the constraints on aldermen were ridiculous and inhibited their role to consult the community.
Ald Thomas said this was an “awfully difficult” area for councils when elected members were acting in a quasi judicial capacity and many municipal councils in Australia had developed separate protocols for this.