By Paul Hemsley
The South Australian Local Government Association (LGA) has hit out at a strategy from Premier Jay Weatherill to kickstart inner-metropolitan property development, warning elements of the move will strip planning powers from city councils.
Known as the Housing in the City policy, Mr Weatherill announced the changes last week as a way to revitalise Adelaide’s inner-metropolitan area by allowing up to 18,500 new homes in rezoned areas as a way of encouraging a mix of medium to high density homes, offices and shops.
However a key aspect of the strategy that has alarmed councils is that powers for the state government’s Development Assessment Commission’s will be expanded for pre-lodgement, design review and assessment for developments five storeys or above in newly rezoned areas.
The LGA has taken this to mean that the planning authority of councils will be diminished and has reacted by announcing that it will review the implications of the government’s decision.
LGA vice president Lorraine Rosenberg said that no consultation had occurred with the LGA regarding the withdrawal of planning powers.
Ms Rosenberg said the LGA was to receive a briefing from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) on the proposed changes.
"On the surface it appears as if communities are being further sidelined from planning processes, but I am prepared to reserve judgement until we can analyse this further,” Ms Rosenberg said.
She said she found comments by Mr Weatherill and Minister for Planning John Rau about council roles in the approval process “confusing”.
"On one hand we are seeing the state control policy by driving changes then authorised by the State Minister and on the other they seem to be saying our role is in policy, not in assessment,” Ms Rosenberg said.
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