With just a couple of weeks to go before the Southern Region Planning Panel gives its judgement on the DA to demolish the Royal Willows Hotel and replace it with a supermarket, bottleshop and licensed cafe, notification has been given of action in the NSW Land and Environment Court on the matter.
Originally to be decided by Bega Valley Shire Council, the DA decision was moved to the Southern Regional Planning Panel (SRPP) in August 2021, because the proposed Pambula development would impact council-owned land and the application was re-advertised for 28 days.
Now the proponents, Kel and Jeanette Stolzenhein have started appeal proceedings against Bega Valley Shire Council in the Land and Environment Court in respect of the "deemed refusal" of the DA.
No response has yet been given on the latest outcome following a deferral of a decision by the SRPP on September 28, 2022 where further information was requested, but the "deemed refusal" is understood to be in respect of the amount of time taken to process the DA.
Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said any person whose DA had not been resolved within 60 days can lodge an appeal with the Land and Environment Court. However costs would prohibit most mum and dad housebuilders from taking this route.
It is understood the appeal was lodged when the SRPP called the second public meeting, which was held on September 20.
Now however, things have progressed and council finds itself in the difficult position of defending the actions of the SRPP while openly admitting it was ready to approve the DA last year.
It is likely council will try to deflect the action back onto the SRPP rather than defending a position with which it doesn't agree.
In the meantime council's legal counsel Bal Lawyers has written to many of the people who spoke against the DA to inform them that the Land and Environment Court had listed the appeal for a conciliation conference on February 1, 2023, commencing with a site inspection at 11.30am.
It is to be followed by a confidential discussion between the parties (including their legal representatives) about the issues in dispute. The conciliation conference will be facilitated by a Commissioner of the Court.
There is an opportunity for a limited number of members of the public who made a submission to the council about the DA to make brief oral submissions at the commencement of the conference to the Commissioner.
Council received 115 submissions and two petitions during the period for which the DA was publicly notified.
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