2 years for DA approval process
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The issue affects lives of hundreds and thousands of Campbelltown City Council residents and rate payers. Due to the Council inefficient operation and intentional and unintentional delays, applicants to the Council have to wait for years before their development applications are approved. The Council tries to find all possible excuses, at the cost to the applicant, to delay the approval process. In effort to delay the application review process, the Council continues to change their requirements to the development application. In the process of application review, the applicants are subject to neglect and disrespect by the Council employees.
The most appalling example of the Council attitude to the local residents and rate payers is the Council's basic communication practices:
- Keeping in the dark as to what is happening in the DA review process
- Lack of any advice as to the estimated timeline of the DA review process
- Impossible (to the point of prohibited) to discuss matters with the Council over the phone
- Except a limited number of occasions, email questions are not responded to for weeks. At least the Council could have given me a dignity of acknowledging the email is received, being looked at and the estimated time of the response. In fact, I could not even know if the Council's email system crashed and my email ever got delivered.
- Please imaging yourself trying to contact a business on installation of an air conditioner in Australian summer and the business just ignoring your calls for weeks - what would you do in this situation? You will go to talk to someone else! I can't submit my DA to Camden or Sydney City council and so Campbelltown City Council seems to feel they have leverage to ignore, not respond and not even acknowledge the rate payer's calls and emails
I believe the Council, elected by the local residents and rate payers, can help the local residents and rate payers and it does not cost much the Council to do so. In my view, several things can help to solve the problem:
- Establish a healthy practice of robust basic communication principles - permit the applicant to talk to the staff members responsible for the application review process, respect the applicant by responding to their email
- Establish a healthy practice of forward planning and meeting commitments - the Council making goals to complete the review of the DA paperwork and meeting these goals will enable the public, voters, residents and rate payers to trust the Council in particular and the whole Local Government system in general. At the moment, the Council fails to address both individual and electorate considerations in timely manner.
- Establish effective communication inside the Council - due to lack of communication between the Council sections, the application processes may be delayed by months and years. In our particular case, the Council delayed the review of the application because it could not make a firm decision about a specific requirement and kept changing that requirement because different Council specialists provided different comments to the development application.
Our personal grievances from the dealing with the Council does extend beyond the issues listed above and is described in the blog at http://campbelltowncitycouncil.strijakov.info
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