Changes to council committee and meeting times
IN an effort to streamline Mansfield Shire councillors’ meeting times, council at its February meeting last week agreed to disband the Development Approvals Committee (DAC) and revoke the instrument of delegation for this special committee.
Council also voted to change the times of its ordinary meeting from 6pm to 5pm – to be advertised before commencement.
The Development Approvals Committee (DAC) of council was established in 2003 for the review of planning applications that required decisions not delegated to council’s planning officers.
From 2003 to now councillors have met one and a half hours prior to its general meeting each month to discuss any planning issues.
This meeting often only lasted a matter of five to 10 minutes, with councillors then sitting around for more than an hour waiting for the general meeting to commence.
Councillor Paul Sladdin, under his portfolio of planning and environment, said it was often unnecessary for councillors to meet for this committee and with the disbandment would save them a lot of time.
“Statistics for planning applications and progress will still be reported but during the general council meeting,” Cr Sladdin said.
In the committee’s early days al l pl anning applications were hear d, but more r e c e nt l y a s a result of increased delegations to officers, only those applications which involved objections or those r e c ommended f or r e f usal , had been considered by the committee.
“The use of the ordinary council meeting will ensure that planning matters of both a statutory and strategic land use nature are considered in the same forum,” development services manager Michael Bismire told council last week.
Mr Bismire said he recommended that council consider disbanding the DAC and revoke the instrument of delegation.
“The ordinary council meeting forum will continue to allow both applicants and objectors to present their case in an environment that is sensitive to the issues at hand,” Mr Bismire said.
He said presenting planning applications to council’s ordinary meting will streamline processes of municipal government, while still maintaining a public forum.