On 14 June 2016, the Council resolved to establish an Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP). The panel comprises of highly qualified people independent of Council and are charged with determining a range of development applications, reviewing and making recommendations about planning proposals on behalf of the Council.
Elected Councillors no longer decide the outcome of individual development applications and are instead referred to the IHAP for consideration and determination. Council officers still assess the planning proposal and then report to the IHAP. The panel reviews the planning proposal and the officer’s assessment and makes a recommendation to the Council.
IHAP inspects a site prior to determination of the application and provides a transparent forum for applicants and objectors to make verbal submissions.
Determinations are made as independent assessments consistent with the Local Environment Plan and Development Control Plans.
An IHAP panel is formed under the authority of the Local Government Act and has been delegated authority by Council.
The functions of the panel are to:
- provide an independent and open forum for interested persons and groups to hear and make submissions about development proposals referred for determination
- provide increased transparency of process and expert assessment of development proposals referred
- consider and determine development applications, s96 modifications and s82A reviews of applications referred to it.
IHAP meetings include four members - a chairperson, community member and two members who are experts in architecture, urban design, planning and the environment.
The meeting format usually includes:
- on-site inspection
- public panel meeting, with an open forum for interested persons and groups to hear and make submissions about the development proposal
- closed panel session for the panel to deliberate
- public announcement of the determination.
The decision of the panel would be by a majority of votes with each member casting one vote. In the event of a tied vote the Chairperson would have a casting vote. The determination includes a written response from the panel similar to a court judgement outlining the reasons for the decision.
Meetings are open to the public. If you wish to speak or address the Panel you need to request this in writing by 12 noon the day prior to the meeting.
The agenda and the minutes of each meeting are published on the City of Parramatta website.
- when: 3rd Tuesday of each month commencing at 3.30pm
- where: Civic Room at the Rydalmere Operations Centre, 316 Victoria Road, Rydalmere (located behind the Rydalmere Bunnings)
- addressing panel: Anyone can attend a meeting. If you wish to speak or address the Panel you need to request this in writing by 12 noon the day prior to the meeting. Please complete a Request to speak at the meeting form and email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- meeting documents: IHAP reports and minutes are available on Council’s Business Papers page.
The following applications are referred to IHAP:
- planning proposals
- development applications, including applications to modify a development consent:
- for a Council proposal, or a proposal that Council has had a recent pecuniary interest, of value greater than one hundred thousand dollars
- for individual Councillors, State or Federal members of Parliament or Council staff
- where more than 10 or more individual objections from not less than 10 individual households are received
- to vary a development standard by more than 10%.
- applications for review of determination of a development application or a modification to a development consent.
The General Manager may also refer other development applications to the IHAP. This is usually where the General Manager has determined that it would be in the public interest, due to the nature of the application, for the application to be determined by the IHAP.
There is the opportunity to review decisions made by the City of Parramatta IHAP. The applicant can seek a review of a determination and this will be referred to the IHAP’s Review Body where panel members who did not sit on the original panel for that determination will take part.
An applicant may also appeal to the Land and Environment Court.
The community is able to make written submissions to the IHAP. The requirements for making a submission on a development proposal to Council remain the same. If the proposal cannot be determined under delegation by Council staff it will be referred to the IHAP and the person making a submission will be given an opportunity to speak to the Panel about their submission.
Many councils currently have IHAP's including:
- Lane Cove