Ian Hellstrom r.i.p

Saturday death notices in the SMH recorded the peaceful death of Ian Hellstrom at Lourdes, Killara on 13/10/2016. A private family service was to be held.

CWWPA could describe Ian as an outstanding volunteer in Boy Scouts administration ( for which he received numerous awards), the Chatswood Red Cross Branch,   Chatswood Probus Club, CWWPA, and the Dougherty Centre. In all these groups, Ian performed key work over many years as secretary or treasurer.

Ian lived for many years in an apartment on Victor Street before moving to the Dougherty Apartments.

Ian was awarded Willoughby Citizen of the  Year for his numerous community activities.

Please feel free to add your recollections of Ian in the comments box below.

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Willoughby economic studies

Two consultant economic studies, commissioned by Council to inform ongoing strategic planning in Willoughby City Council, were finalised this year.

They are:

 The Willoughby Economic Development Study prepared by SGS Economics and Planning, which provides economic analysis and recommendations for strategic, retail and industrial centres across the LGA. Councillors were briefed on the draft SGS report on 16 May 2016 when hard copies of the report were made available; and

 Chatswood CBD Competitive and Comparative Analysis by AEC Group which confirms Council’s policy of resisting residential proposals in the Commercial Core area as an important element in the future success of the CBD. Both reports are already proving useful not only in strategic planning work but also in District Planning discussions with the Greater Sydney Commission and the assessment of planning proposals for sites in commercial and industrial areas across WCC.

Willoughby Economic Development Study (SGS Economics and Planning) May 2016

SGS Key Findings

 This report examined the commercial, retail and industrial precincts across the whole LGA and made recommendations for future planning directions.

 A summary of the Key Findings of the Study as identified by SGS is as follows:

Chatswood fulfils its function as a strategic centre having both a commercial and retail role.

  • Chatswood has forecast future demand for an additional 191,000sqm of employment space by 2041.
  • In addition to Chatswood, mixed use development including retail and other employment floor space needs to be facilitated in smaller centres.
  • St Leonards requires coordinated planning with the State Government and neighbouring Councils.
  • Artarmon industrial area is highly successful and needs to be protected for employment.
  • East Chatswood industrial area has capacity for growth but needs careful planning as it evolves.
  • Demand and capacity analysis highlights a need to review controls in the village and small village centres of Northbridge, Artarmon, Castlecrag, Victoria Ave/ Penshurst St, Penshurst St/Mowbray Rd.

SGS Recommendations

 SGS have made the following recommendations:

Chatswood

  • Protect commercial core and maintain employment potential.
  • Enhance amenity and activation in fringe, lesser performing retail precincts.
  • Reduce pressure by facilitating mixed use elsewhere and constraining traffic growth.

 St Leonards

  • Resolve the future role of St Leonards with Lane Cove and North Sydney Councils and the Department of Planning and Environment.

 Smaller Commercial Centres.

  • Provide new opportunities for retail and employment floor space in the smaller retail centres
  • Provide for additional food, grocery and supermarket floor space to meet existing and future demand
  • Undertake further analysis

 Artarmon Industrial Precinct

  • Protect existing and investigate potential to increase employment capacity.

 East Chatswood

  • Protect existing employment capacity. Consider and plan for future evolution associated with a possible supermarket development.

Chatswood CBD Competitive and Comparative Analysis (AEC Group) May 2016

 AEC undertook a high level analysis of Chatswood CBD, examining its competitive offer as an employment centre compared to its main competitors, to help plan for future growth.

 AEC Key Findings

  • Chatswood CBD is very competitive as a commercial office market given its small size. Vacancy rates in the Chatswood CBD have improved from 20% in 2010 to around 7.7% in December 2015 despite competition from North Sydney, St Leonards and Macquarie Park.
  • Although the recent increase in residential development in the Chatswood CBD has improved the liveability and vibrancy of the centre, the destination of Chatswood as a major employment centre needs to be carefully maintained and supported.
  • New supply of office developments has been inhibited because the economic rents required to justify new commercial development are too high compared to the current rents being achieved.
  • With the exception of Sydney CBD, no comparable retail precinct has a provision of retail floor space greater than Chatswood (approximately 200,000sqm). The study identifies the demand for a full-line supermarket such as Woolworths and additional mini-majors in the Chatswood retail precinct.

Main AEC Recommendations

  • Residential uses should continue to be excluded from the B3 Commercial Core Zone.
  • Distinct Role and Function of Chatswood

Chatswood fulfils the role of offering affordable space with a range of tenant sizes in a high amenity environment close to excellent public transport.  Maintaining a corporate image and preserving opportunities to allow investment in office development when the time is ripe and market conditions are conducive is important.

 Critical mass

Given the small commercial core of Chatswood, AEC emphasises the importance of “holding the line” to maintain the critical mass required for office precincts to remain competitive. This strategy will provide an incentive at the appropriate time in the future for refurbishment and upgrade of existing space.

  • Commercial Floor Space within Mixed-use Buildings

While demand for retail and commercial floor space has strengthened commensurate with growth of residential uses in Chatswood, retail and commercial suites within a mixed use development that is dominated by residential uses need careful planning and design, as well as astute market positioning to be sustainable.

Incentives for Smaller Commercial Tenancies

There is a need to provide for small tenancies in Chatswood to cater for a range of businesses.  As building owners often prefer to deal with large tenancies, there needs to be incentives offered to provide flexible design in buildings from the outset.

 Increase in Market Profile of Chatswood

Chatswood as a commercial destination should be promoted by Council in conjunction with building owners.  Renewal and upgrades of strategic sites and public spaces will increase the overall appeal of Chatswood thereby stimulating rent increases and further redevelopment of the Commercial Core.

The reports have been placed on Council’s website for public information at. http://www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/Development/planning-rules/strategic-land-use-planning/

New GSC district plan North

The Greater Sydney Commission is taking the opportunity to brief representatives of community groups on the draft District Plans. The briefing will provide attendees with information on the plans, as well as the ways you can encourage all Sydneysiders to get involved in shaping planning for a greater Sydney.

 

 

 

There will be a community drop in session in your district and more opportunities in February and March 2017 (details to come) to find out more about the draft District Plans – details can be found below. If you have any questions about the sessions, please contact us on 1800 617 681 or engagement@gsc.nsw.gov.au.

You can also join the conversation by visiting our website www.greater.sydney, or our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn – search for Greater Sydney Commission.

Community drop in sessions in each district across Greater Sydney

Saturday

3 December
10am – 1pm

North District Dougherty Centre

7 Victor Street, Chatswood

The community drop in sessions are an opportunity for you to find out more about the draft District Plans, and ask questions and discuss feedback with members of the district planning team. All members of the community are welcome to drop in any time during the sessions listed below.

 We look forward to your group’s participation in the draft District Plans engagement over the coming months. 

 

 

 

Amalgamation update

The General Manager of Willoughby Council has provided the following update:

Status of Council amalgamation

 Willoughby City Council continues to deliver while awaiting the outcomes of Mosman and North Sydneys’ consideration of their next steps.

On 20 September 2016, a judgement was handed down from the NSW Land & Environment Court in relation to a number of councils’ challenges to merger proposals; including Mosman and North Sydney’s challenge to the merger with Willoughby.

In essence, most of the grounds were dismissed with the exception of one. The summary judgement states that Justice Moore found ‘defects’ in the reports prepared by the delegates into the proposed mergers of local governments involving Mosman, North Sydney and also Strathfield Councils. Those ‘defects’ related to inadequate consideration of ‘communities of interest’.

Separate to the appeals process, sections of the merger proposal reports will now presumably need to be redone and resubmitted for consideration to the Boundaries Commission and the Minister. The State government has not provided any further information on what this process will entail.

With regard to the appeals process open to Mosman and North Sydney with regard to their proposed merger with Willoughby, North Sydney has lodged an intention to appeal. Mosman has lodged an appeal. A date for directions for Mosman, which will settle the date of the hearing, has been set for 7 December 2016. The date for the hearing and the length of the court process is unknown at this time.

Debra JustGeneral Manager
WILLOUGHBY CITY COUNCIL

Medium density housing may be coming near to you

mediumdensity

The Department of Planning and Environment has prepared a draft Medium Density Design Guide to encourage more low rise medium density housing to be built in NSW, providing greater housing choice, more housing affordability and better quality design. •

The Design Guide provides benchmarks for designing and assessing low rise medium density housing types including:

  • Terrace style housing on small lots (attached dwellings)
  • Dual occupancies and semi-detached dwellings;
  • Multi-dwelling housing (strata titled terrace housing);
  • Multi-dwelling housing (strata titled villas and townhouses);
  • Community titled master-planned medium density developments of up to 2 storeys; and,
  • Manor homes (2 storey buildings comprising 3-4 dwellings).

It is proposed that the Design Guide will be used for both complying developments and development applications to promote good design outcomes for medium density housing types across NSW.

It is expected that the Government will adopt the code early in 2017.

688-692 Pacific Highway

The following motion was put forward to the Federation of Willoughby Progress Associations and adopted:

DRAFT LETTER TO COUNCIL

Requested action by Council:

That Council undertake a public review of any policy dealing with matters as outlined below.

Background

At the recent meeting of the Federation of Willoughby Progress Associations it was carried that the Federation write to Council regarding perceived conflicts of interest with the process of handling applications/proposals from current and former members of Council staff and Councillors.

From time to time applications are submitted to Council where there may be a perceived conflict of interest. Such applications may be from current or past Council staff or Councilors. From a governance perspective, it is important that such matters are dealt with ‘at arms length’ and with a high level of transparency.

Council recently engaged with a Planning Proposal submitted by a company whose representatives were Council’s immediate past GM and Planning Director.

The current policy appears to be in such circumstances to engage external consultants to review the proposal. However, at the end of the day it is a Council Officer who makes the recommendation to Council and Councillors who have been extensively involved with the former staff who make the determination.

From a public perspective it seems like the application may be favourably (or otherwise) considered. Perhaps a scenario where the entire process is handled external to Council (e.g by another Council or ‘tribunal’ might be appropriate.

 

Council dealing with Personal Conflicts of Interest

  1. Name of Matter: Council Conflicts of Interest – Personal Matters
  2. Summary of Matter: From time to time applications are submitted to Council where there may be a perceived conflict of interest. Such applications may be from current or past Council staff or Councilors. From a governance perspective, it is important that such matters are dealt with ‘at arms length’ and with a high level of transparency.
  3. This matter is put forward by the Chatswood West Ward Progress Association
  4. Proposed Motions and Actions: That a letter be sent to Council and Councilors requesting a public review of any policy dealing with matters as outlined above.
  5. (and where it is proposed a letter be sent, a draft letter should also be included)
  6. Background and Discussion
  • Why the matter has arisen/is put forward – Council recently engaged with a Planning Proposal submitted by a company whose representatives were Council’s immediate past GM and Planning Director.
  • What the key issues are: The current policy appears to be in such circumstances to engage external consultants to review the proposal. However, at the end of the day it is a Council Officer who makes the recommendation to Council and Councillors who have been extensively involved with the former staff who make the determination.
  • Why action should be considered: From a public perspective it seems like the application may be favourable (or otherwise) considered. Perhaps a scenario where the entire process is handled external to Council (e.g by another Council or ‘tribunal’ might be appropriate.
  • Details of any legislation/Council decisions etc
  • Where there are alternative views/perspectives, these should also be detailed: Please refer to details recently provided by Council’s Director in relation to this matter.

Response from Peter Conroy
Further to your recent inquiry, I have made additional inquiries with staff and can now advise you as follows:

 

Planning Proposals

  • All Planning Proposals are reported to full Council for Council to resolve whether to proceed to Gateway/exhibition.
  • If Council resolves to proceed to Gateway, the Planning Proposal is referred to the Department of Planning and Environment who may determine to issue Gateway or not. If a Gateway determination by the Department is not issued the matter cannot proceed any further.
  • If Gateway is issued it proceeds to public exhibition.
  • Following exhibition the Planning Proposal is reported back to Council. If Council resolves to proceed it is again forwarded to the Department who again may or may not decide to make the LEP change.

 

As you can see there are a number of checks and balances in the process

 

Development Applications

  • Council Officers are required to report certain applications to Council for determination including:

–          applications where Council is the applicant or involves Council property, other than changes of use or internal alterations to premises within a business zone;

–          applications which, in the opinion of the General Manager, are sensitive or controversial and should be determined by Council, on the basis of (amongst other things) it involves a site rezoning.

 

Again there are checks and balances in the process.

 

Code of Conduct

 

Council Officers are also bound by the Council Code of Conduct which states:

 

4.14        How you manage a non-pecuniary conflict of interests will depend on whether or not it is significant.

 

4.15        As a general rule, a non-pecuniary conflict of interests will be significant where a matter does not raise a pecuniary interest but it involves:

  1. a) a relationship between a Council official and another person that is particularly close, for example, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, lineal descendant or adopted child of the person or of the person’s spouse, current or former

spouse or partner, de facto or other person living in the same household

  1. b) other relationships that are particularly close, such as friendships and business relationships. Closeness is defined by the nature of the friendship or business relationship, the frequency of contact and the duration of the friendship or relationship
  2. c) an affiliation between the Council official and an organisation, sporting body, club, corporation or association that is particularly strong.

 

4.18        If you are a member of staff of Council, the decision on which option should be taken to manage a non-pecuniary conflict of interests must be made in consultation with your manager.

 

In the case of the 688-692 Pacific Highway Planning Proposal

 

  • In accordance with Council practice the planning Proposal was reported to the full Council.
  • As senior staff at the proponent company (Aqualand) had previously held senior roles at Council and worked with Council staff the Planning Proposal was referred to independent consultants to undertake assessment to avoid any perceived conflict of interest. This included urban design advice (Kennedy and Associates) and overall planning assessment (Ingham Planning).
  • The urban design advice was provided to Ingham Planning for consideration in their assessment of the scheme as a whole. As you will note form the report, Ingham Planning’s assessment did not concur entirely with the advice of Kennedy and Associates.
  • The reports of Kennedy and Associates and Ingham Planning were forwarded to Council as an attachment  to a Covering Report – prepared by Council Officer’s in accordance with Council’s Business Paper format. The recommendation in the Covering Report was the recommendation of Ingham Planning.

 

Other Planning Proposals submitted by Aqualand

 

Aqualand have also previously submitted a Planning Proposal for 31-35 Herbert St, St Leonards. An early assessment of this application by Council staff determined it was not worthy of support and was reported to Council on this basis.

 

A further application has now been lodged for 31-39 Herbert St. The initial assessment of this application is similar and it is likely to be reported in a similar manner.

 

These more recent applications have been dealt with under my direction as the Director of Planning and Infrastructure.  I have no previous connection with Aqualand staff.

 

Future Development Applications and Planning Proposals by Aqualand

 

It is intended to treat any future application (whether Development Application or Planning Proposal) submitted by Aqualand in a similar manner namely:

 

  • if an initial staff assessment indicates it is not worthy of support, it will be reported directly to Council
  • if a more detailed assessment is required, it will be referred to Independent Consultants.

 

I hope you have found this information/explanation useful, if not please do not hesitate to contact me on 9777-7701

 

Regards

 

Peter Conroy