Post-Exhibition Amendments-Planning proposal
The Honourable Rob Stokes MP
Mr Stephen Murray
Ms Ann-Maree Carruthers
Ms Gina Metcalfe
Re-Planning Proposal (Department Ref: PP_2018_THILL_002_00): to amend The Hills Local Environmental Plan2012 Clause 4.1B Exceptions to minimum lot sizes for certain residential development.
We, the residents of the Hills Shire and the owners of all R3 Medium Density Residential and R4 High Density Residential land within the Hills Shire request the cancellation of the decision of the Acting Director, Central (Western) at the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to alter the Gateway determination dated 31 July 2018 for the proposed amendment to the Hills Local Environment Plan 2019 to delete condition 3 (c) stated:
“Council is to write to all affected landowners about the exhibition of the proposal explain how to make a submission, the proposed amendments and how they affected the future provision of small lot housing “
The decision resulted in an unannounced, hush-hush, hidden, under-the-table and invalid exhibition as only a handful number of affected landowners heard about the planning proposal and draft DCP amendments that were quietly exhibited from 29 October 2019 until 29 November 2019 without the individual notification of the affected landowners.
Although the number of the affected landowner is over 11,000 only 2 public submissions received by the Hills Council, only two submissions in 30 days which is unprecedented percentage of public participation in an important exhibition around 0.01% (nearly 0%).
The reason is very clear, The Hills Council intentionally failed to notify the affected landowners so they did not about the hush-hush exhibition.
The Hills Council prepared a Post Exhibition report (Post-Exhibition Amendments-Planning proposal) based on the 2 submissions that they received during the hush-hush exhibition.
That post exhibition report should be rejected by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
On 5 September 2019 the Hills Council sent a letter to the Department of planning requesting the cancellation of Condition 3 ( c) of the Gateway Determination that required the individual notification of affected landowners by post.
Also, The Hills Council offered alternative methods of notifications such as The Hills Shire Times, and The Rouse Hill Times local newspapers and social media posts.
On 9 September 2019, the Gateway Determination was altered and the condition 3 (c) was deleted.
In our petition we want to pose three questions:
Q1-Did the Council stop using the ordinary post for all public notifications to the 175000 residents of the Hills Shire and started to use The Hills Times newspaper and social media posts instead? The answer is NO, The Hills Council wanted an under-the table-exhibition without a real participation of the affected landowners.
a- Until now, The Hills Council still send notification by post to more than 100,000 residents,
b-The population of the Hills Shire Council is more 175,000 according to Census 2016, at least 100,000 residents receive 5 to 10 letters posted by the Hills Council Shire every year for example: rates and public notifications.
c-Direct mail-out to residents is not an unusual process and until now we receive letters from the council with less important notifications.
d-All residents rely only on letters that we receive from the Council for important notifications.
Q2- In relation to The Hills Council Times, Rouse Hills Times and Social media
a- Are they popular newspapers and most of the local residents are keen to read them regularly for such important notification? The answer is NO
b- Have the Hills Times and Rouse Hill Time been used alone for similar notifications without additional letters posted to the owners? The answer is No
c-Are the local Hills Council Times and Rouse Hills Times available outside the Hills shire for affected investor landowners who live outside the Hills Shire or interstate investors? The answer is No
c- Do elderly residents, whose lands will be affected, have Facebook and Instagram accounts to receive the Hills Council post? The answer is No
I-The Hills Shire Times and Rouse Hill Times.
- Are very unpopular local newspapers their readers are less than 5% of Hills Shire population.
- Many of the affected landowners are investors owners who live outside the Hills Shire and even outside NSW and they do not have access to The Local Hills Shire and Rouse Hill Times newspaper which are not available outside The Hills Shire.
- Consequently, most owner-occupiers and all of investor landowners who live outside The Hills Council our outside NSW have not been notified by the Council in regards to the amendments and the exhibition and they did not participate in the unannounced exhibition.
II-Social media advertising, for example Facebook and Instagram posts
- Unlike the apartment and townhouse owners, majority of Medium density and High-density residential landowner are elderly and mature adult residents who do not use with social media like Facebook and Instagram
- We believe that it is not legal to use Facebook and Instagram posts to replace the ordinary mail post for such crucial notifications of the affected landowners.
- Therefore, almost all elderly and mature adult landowners did not receive the Council notifications via Facebook and Instagram and did not participate in the hush-hush exhibition.
Thus, the alternative approach chosen the Council such as Social media posts and the local unpopular Hills Council Times were unsuccessful alternative methods to notify:
- Local residents who do not read the unpopular Hills times newspaper.
- Investor owners who live outside the Hills Council and outside NSW (Interstate investors)
- Elderly and mature residents who do not know who to use social media.
- And until now there are thousands of residents whose lands will be affected are unaware of the amendments and it is the Hills Council responsibility to notify them.
Q3-Was the individual notification of affected landowners a costly process as the Hills Council claim? The answer is NO
Posting 11,000 letter will cost only $11,000 so the individual notification by post is not a very costly process as claimed by the Hills Council, and even if they do not have $11,000 they could have waited until the monies become available to notify the affected landowners.
- Cancellation of the decision of the Acting Director, Central (Western) at the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to alter the Gateway determination dated 31 July 2018 for the proposed amendment to the Hills Local Environment Plan 2019 to delete condition 3 (c)
- Rejection of the Post-Exhibition Amendments-Planning proposal prepared by The Hills Council based on the 2 submissions that they received during the unannounced exhibition.
- A real public exhibition is required instead of the hush-hush exhibition held on 29 October 2019 and nearly none of the affected land owners knew about it.
- The Council is to write to all affected landowners about the new exhibition of the proposal explain how to make a submission, the proposed amendments and how they affected the future provision of small lot housing.
The owners of the affected lands