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On-site inspections by Councillors on major Development Applications introduced

Councillors will now be better informed when making decisions on Development Applications presented at Council meetings with the introduction of on-site inspections.

At the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 22 December a Mayoral Minute was tabled and endorsed by the governing body for planning inspections on all substantial and controversial development applications. The inspections would be limited to Development Applications beyond the delegation of staff; Development Applications which the staff deem to be controversial or substantial and proposals which will go before the Joint Regional Planning Panel, or are State Significant Developments where Council may consider it needs to or will make a submission.

Armidale Regional Council Mayor Cr Ian Tiley said the purpose of the inspections would enable Councillors to be well briefed on important matters and to visually appreciate a matter under consideration.

“I used this engagement mechanism successfully for several years in regard to major coastal development applications, as well as when I was Administrator in 2016-17,” said Dr Tiley

“It really does assist in understanding applications better and visually seeing the site is extremely valuable. The process would also enhance transparency and trust.”

The Mayor will chair and tightly control the on-site inspections and a member of Council’s development team will also be present. The applicant and any objectors will be given the opportunity to briefly address the Councillors present or they can alternatively speak in the ‘Have Your Say’ segment during a Council Meeting.

The Interim General Manager has established a set of general procedures to be observed.

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