Council may use panel for development applications
THE Southern Downs Regional Council plans to develop a panel that would meet weekly to consider development applications.
It is proposed the panel would initially be comprised of all nine Southern Downs councillors and that membership would be reviewed after three months.
A report to be tendered to the councillors this week says the aim of the panel is to minimise delays in processing development applications for material change of use and reconfiguring a lot.
The panel will decide applications that could not be determined by council CEO Andrew Roach or director of planning and environment Ken Harris, and that have until now been decided by council.
Any applications considered "politically contentious" or of significant regional significance could be referred directly to the council, if required.
Membership to the panel would be open to all councillors, but the mayor must always be a member.
Meetings will be open to the public.
They would be attended by the director of planning and environment and the director of engineering.
If the panel goes ahead, it is proposed meetings would initially be held weekly and the frequency be reviewed and altered if considered necessary.
A lack of development applications could see scheduled meetings cancelled.
This week council will vote on whether to appoint the panel, what powers it would hold and the specifics related to membership.