Posted on February 7, 2011 by Stuart Simington

Residential Development Conciliation And Arbitration Commences ….

The new conciliation-arbitration process for residential development appeals commences on 7 February 2010. It replaces the former Minister Sartor’s scheme for planning arbitrators.

Residential development appeals are class 1 appeals involving development and modification applications for

  • detached single dwellings and dual occupancies, including subdivisions, and
  • alterations or additions to detached single dwellings and dual occupancies.

Parties will be required to participate in a conciliation conference.

At the conclusion of the conference if no agreement is reached, the Commissioner can immediately arbitrate on the matter.

The Court has published a new practice note governing these appeals: Practice Note.

Appeals are expected to be heard within 9 weeks from the date of filing of the appeal and parties must be prepared for final hearing of the matter within this time.

Parties can apply to have an appeal dealt with by a formal hearing rather than the conciliation-arbitration process, however, it is likely that this will only be allowed in limited circumstances.

Unless the proceedings involve an appeal in respect of the imposition of conditions, the consent authority is to file in the Court and serve on the applicant a statement of facts and contentions before 4.00pm on the second last working day before the first directions hearing. The directions hearing will be approximately 21 days after the application is filed.

From my experience in many class 1 appeals, Council resources will need to be allocated to appeals without delay when the court papers are received.  The Council is likely to be significantly disadvantaged if its development assessment has not been completed at the time that the appeal is filed, for example, where the appeal is filed based on a deemed refusal.

This latest round of reform to the class 1 development appeals process is simply the latest instalment of streamlining which seems to occur every two (2) -three (3) years or so.