Local Planning Panel (LPP)

On 14 June 2016, the Council resolved to establish an Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP). From 1 March 2018, IHAPs, known as a Local Planning Panel (LPP) under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), are mandatory for all Sydney councils and Wollongong City Council. Panels have been made mandatory so that the process of assessment and determination of development applications (DAs) with a high corruption risk, sensitivity or strategic importance are transparent and accountable.

This means that elected Councillors no longer decide the outcome of individual development applications and these are instead referred to the LPP for consideration and determination. Council officers still assess the development application and then report to the LPP. The panel also reviews planning proposals (PPs) and the officer’s assessment and makes a recommendation to the Council.

Statutory rules govern the Panels operation, through a code of conduct and operational procedures.

Determinations are made as independent assessments consistent with the Local Environment Plan and Development Control Plans.

Authority

LPPs are formed under the authority of the EPA Act and has authority to make decisions under the Act.

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, application modifications (section 4.55) and reviews of applications (Division 8.2) referred to it.

Members of the Panel

LPP meetings include four members - a chairperson, community member and two independent expert members.

Panel chairs are required to have expertise in law, or government and public administration.

Panel members are required to be expert in one or more of the following fields: planning, architecture, heritage, the environment, urban design, economics, traffic and transport, law, engineering, tourism, or government and public administration.

Community members are representatives of the local community but do not need to be an expert in any particular field.

Councillors, property developers and real estate agents are ineligible to be Panel members.

More information about panel members

Meetings

The meeting format usually includes:

  • an on-site inspection
  • a public panel meeting, with an open forum for interested persons and groups to hear and make submissions about the development proposal
  • a closed panel session for the panel to deliberate (if required)
  • a public announcement of the determination.

The decision of the panel is 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, minutes and transcripts of each meeting are published on the City of Parramatta website. 

Meeting details

  • 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 lpp@cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au
  • Meeting documents: LPP reports and minutes are available on Council’s Business Papers page. Transcripts of the meeting can be accessed here.

Applications 

The following applications are referred to LPP based on the referral criteria set by the Minister for Planning:

  • planning proposals
  • development applications, including applications to modify a development consent:
    • where the applicant or land owner is
      • Council
      • Councillors, State or Federal members of Parliament or a relative (within the meaning if the Local Government Act 1993)
      • Council staff (who are principally involved in exercising Council’s functions under the EP&A Act) or a relative (within the meaning if the Local Government Act 1993)
    • where 10 or more unique submissions by way of an objections are received
    • to vary a development standard by more than 10%.
  • applications which are for
    • designated development
    • where State Environmental Planning Policy No 65 – Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development applies and is 4 or more storeys in height
    • New licenced premises requiring one of the following liquor licenses
      • A club licence under the Registered Clubs Act 1976
      • A hotel (general bar) licence under the Liquor Act 2007, or
      • An on-premises licence for public place of entertainment venue under the Liquor Act 2007
    • The purpose of sex services premises and restricted premises
    • A DA where the developer has offered to enter into a planning agreement

In addition to the referral criteria set by the Minister for Planning at the Council meeting held on 14 May 2018 Council resolved that planning proposals be referred to the LPP after exhibition where a request for amendment to the planning proposal has been received.

Complete referral criteria for Planning Proposals

Complete referral criteria for Development Applications

Reviews 

There is the opportunity to review decisions made by the City of Parramatta Council LPP. The applicant can seek a review of a determination and this will be referred to the LPP 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.

Submissions

The community is able to make written submissions to the LPP. 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 LPP and the person making a submission will be given an opportunity to speak to the Panel about their submission.

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