Voluntary Planning Agreement
The NSW government has published an updated draft policy framework for planning agreements, which contains an updated practical note (draft practical opinion) and a proposal for ministerial leadership. Once adopted, councils should pay attention to the draft practical opinion when negotiating voluntary planning agreements (VPAs). While the draft exercise retains many aspects of the existing practice note, there are some notable changes. First, it is clear that a VPA must be written and signed by all parties and is considered binding only when all parties have signed it. The “reason” for the VPA will be the idea for the developer who wants to either modify an environmental planning tool or apply for a development authorization. Some information on the use of VPNs in NSW for at least 10 years is available to the public. For example, all proposed APVs must be informed publicly prior to initiation and planning authorities are required to maintain a public registry of the VPA and report to the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) on the VPAs they have received. These benefits have been provided by developers to planning authorities (on behalf of their municipalities) through financial contributions, on-site and off-site public works, land use, facilities, inclusions or set-asides in developments and other means. This idea of giving public benefits to developers implies that the developer brings some of the development gain to a public benefit, it`s not just about limiting development costs.
However, VPAs should not be registered outside the planning system to ensure contributions that are completely disconnected from development or that make development unacceptable. The VPA project, an explanatory note and other supporting documents are available Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Council offices, 366 George Street, Windsor for the period from Friday, February 3, 2017 to Monday, 6 Monday, 2017 and can be accessed on the Council`s website under www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/development/development-information/planning-policies/planning-agreements/draft-voluntary-planning-agreements or on the Council`s online Community Engagement website www.yourhawkesbury-yoursay.com.au. They are closed when a proponent has requested a modification of an environmental planning instrument or has submitted (or is proposing) a development application. The VPA is concluded between the proponent and a planning authority (or two or more planning authorities) and implies that the developer makes a contribution to the development to provide a public benefit in the development. The Council`s director of planning, Graham Jahn, said the agreement did not allow Greenland to build a higher tower, but a tower “perhaps an extra metre,” as it took over the base area in other parts of the building. A planning agreement for a portion of the land should fully describe the party concerned by reference to a registered plan, a plan attached to trade or any other registered trade. The agreement was born out of a voluntary planning agreement, which grants concessions to a real estate developer against a public benefit – in this case a concession in line with the Council`s new cultural policy. In particular, none of the major changes to the draft practice notice will address concerns about the misuse of VPAs.
The draft practice notice provides examples of “potential adverse outcomes,” including planning authorities who request inappropriate benefits or mistakenly rely on their legal position for inappropriate benefits, but does not provide new guidelines on how to avoid these outcomes. The applicant is required to bear the costs of preparing legal agreements. Based on what has been considered, the SVP has been notified publicly, but has yet to be finalized by the Minister of Planning and Public Spaces (as the planning authority) and the proponent.