The approval procedures for large marina proposals such as this are different from normal Development Application (DA) steps. Rather than be determined by a panel on behalf of Council, the determination is by a body with representatives of both State and Council. The last DA for the site (DA260/2015) was determined by a Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP). However, with the new Greater Sydney Commission, the power of determination moves to them. Whilst the operation of the GSC for such a role is unclear, it is likely to be a panel formed and operating in much the same manner as the JRPP.
Based on our prior experience and our understanding of the new system, the expected steps for a new DA are:
- DA is lodged by the proponent following approval to do so by RMS (on the basis of compliance with shipping channel rules and the like, but probably ignoring heritage and other planning matters rightfully the responsibility of a Government body.)
- Council will carry out a preliminary review of the supplied documentation and liaise with the proponent if the full extent of documentation is not there.
- Council will advertise the DA, allowing probably 30 days for public comment. In the past Council has also facilitated at least one public meeting to provide the public with opportunities to acquaint themselves with the proposal.
- Following closure of comments, Council will refer the full available documentation to an independent assessor who will prepare his assessment on behalf of Council. The elected North Sydney Council can also resolve to make its own submission on the DA.
- All of this documentation is then forwarded to the GSC who will set a date for a determination hearing. This should be followed by a decision whether to approve the DA, approve it with amendments or reject it. The proponent then has the option to resubmit or appeal to the Land and Environment Court.
- If the DA is rejected, the proponent would again be in the position of failing to secure an approved DA and RMS would have rights under the lease agreement to cancel the process. Unfortunately, following previous DA failures, they have failed to do so.