April 16 - 22  2023: Issue 579


Clear Breach Of Height Limit in DA Recommended For Approval on Old Palm Beach Fish & Chip Site + rezoning of pittwater plans ignite renewed calls for a return of pittwater council

The continuing response to DA plans for the old fish and chip site at Palm Beach, modified but essentially unchanged through 4 iterations so far, records that the vast nucleus of Pittwater residents are still refusing to go silently into the long dark night imposed on them when their council was obliterated and subsumed into the large council it now has, a council which advocates for the overdevelopment of sites and approves or recommends approval of structures that ignore the Pittwater DCP and LEP.

Coupled with the council's rezoning plans, which will affect thousands of properties in Pittwater and just 1 in the former Warringah and 54 in the former Manly council area, the perceived targeted 'trashing of Pittwater', as Pittwater could have its own zoning, have reignited calls for a return of Pittwater Council and that council's focus on looking after the community and the environment that community lives in.

Cheek by jowl townhouses 'for the aging' are appearing in back streets that not only fill the block and tower over the privacy of near neighbours, but are being approved in known flood zones and will load more traffic into the streets or parking on the same. Roosting and Habitat Trees and all low to the ground vegetation are being cleared from blocks with little regard for wildlife or creating heat pockets, and then those same blocks are allowed to fill that whole space with concrete monstrosities. It's beginning to look like the other side of the Narrabeen bridge and every section of land heading south to Dee Why.

Which all works for the financial benefit of the developer at the expense of the community as a whole and neighbours as individuals. 

In recent months Pittwater Online News has received several emails regarding DA's that do not comply with the conditions for their zones being approved by the Council. Over the height limit breaches, approving buildings that fill the whole block in zones where there is a 50-50 to 50-60 requirement for vegetation to be retained, incremental excising or whole taking of public land and planting this out to prevent the public using it for a footpath, building structures into and on public reserves are the subjects in each. 

Palm Beach Fish and chip site proposals all over height and not meeting zone requirements

The development application and proposal details for the old Palm Beach fish and chip site has had ongoing attention as it has been drawn as three storeys in a two storey zone and again seeks to not only breach the height limit by metres but also tower over the heritage listed Barrenjoey House and its neighbours. Feedback from residents points out the third storey is all about profit and disrespects not only the community but the beauty of the place it is proposed for.

The Council recommended the Northern Beaches Local Planning Panel approve the DA proposal at 1102 Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach and stated 'the proposed development will be in the public interest and is consistent with the objectives of the standard and the objectives for development within the zone...

The DA was listed for the NBLPP Meeting to be held on Wednesday 15 February 2023.

At that Meeting the Northern Beaches Local Planning Panel, on behalf of Northern Beaches Council as the consent authority, deferred further consideration of Application No. DA2022/0469 for construction of shop top housing on land at Lot 11 DP 1207743, 1102 Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach, to give the applicant the opportunity to submit to Council by Wednesday March 15th 2023 the following:

a) Amended plans that reduce the overall height, bulk and scale including removal of the mansard roof to reduce the massing created by the proposed roof form. Consideration should be given to materiality, upper level set back and the form of the roof to achieve a upper level which is more recessive and an overall compatible development with surrounding development particularly Barrenjoey House.
b) Amended plans to reduce the overly strong vertical influence of the balcony columns and their impact on bulk and scale.
c) Amended plans to redesign the mechanical plant enclosure to minimize the height of the screening and the provision of rooftop landscape screen.

If the requested information was not received by the set date, the Panel may proceed to determine the application on the material before it. The Chair will have the discretion to extend the above date if reasonable grounds are provided by the applicant.

Following receipt of this information, the report states, the Panel will determine the application electronically, unless the Chair determines that a further public meeting is required.

The Panel’s preliminary view is that proposed development is generally acceptable however the Panel is concerned that the proposed roof form creates a top heavy building form due to the expanse of roof and that this could be overcome by a redesign of the proposed mansard roof form.

Additionally the proposed roof form is unnecessarily high to screen the roof plant and adds to the unacceptable bulk of the proposal. The Panel also considered that the vertical columns overly dominated the street appearance and a more acceptable appearance could be achieved through a finer and light detailing outcome.

The Palm Beach Whale Beach Association, the local residents group, and the neighbour immediately adjacent, state the amended DA2022/0469 plans lodged on 26th September 2022 for this site still represent a gross overdevelopment of the site with unacceptable amenity impacts on the Community, the streetscape and importantly on the neighbouring heritage property Barrenjoey House and should be refused. 
The proposal exceeds the 8.5m height limit by 3.0m or 35%, solicitors for the neighbour state.

The amended drawings show a RL of 13.75 metres for the 3 storeys (to roof pitch top) so 5.25m above the still in place Pittwater Council 8.5m height limit for the zone - at 2 storeys the proposal's RL is 9.75m.
In a Submission to NBLPP dated 14/02/2023, the Palm Beach & Whale Beach Association stated, 'Further to our submission to the NBLPP dated 13/2/23 we believe the drawing below of the proposed western elevation (DA.10 Rob Mills Architecture 24‐2‐22) perfectly illustrates point 3 of our Technical Submission dated 13‐2‐23 which states that;

"The proposed development is adjacent to a heritage item, Barrenjoey House, and the design of the development must respect that heritage item. Instead it does not give that heritage item respect ‐ it does not give it space to be appreciated (insufficient separation) and in bulk and scale it overwhelms Barrenjoey House."

'This disrespect to Barrenjoey House is sufficient grounds alone to refuse this Development Application.' the Association stated

The Pittwater DCP specifically states why there is a height limit of 8.5 metres in this zone for a reason.

The stated objectives of clause 4.3 of the still in place Pittwater Council LEP 2014 (and 2018 to date) are:

(a) to ensure that any building, by virtue of its height and scale, is consistent with the desired character of the locality,
(b) to ensure that buildings are compatible with the height and scale of surrounding and nearby development,
(c) to minimise any overshadowing of neighbouring properties,
(d) to allow for the reasonable sharing of views,
(e) to encourage buildings that are designed to respond sensitively to the natural topography,
(f) to minimise the adverse visual impact of development on the natural environment, heritage conservation areas and heritage items.

Under clause 4.3  (2C):
Despite subclause (2), development on an area of land shown in Column 1 of the table to this subclause and identified as such on the Height of Buildings Map, may exceed the maximum building height shown on the Height of Buildings Map for that land, if the height of the development is not greater than the height shown opposite that area in Column 2.
Column 1  Column 2
Area  Maximum height above the flood planning level
Area 1 11.5 metres
Area 2 8.5 metres on the street frontage and 10.5 metres at the rear
Area 3 8.5 metres
Area 4 7.0 metres

(2D)  Despite subclause (2), development on land that has a maximum building height of 8.5 metres shown for that land on the Height of Buildings Map may exceed a height of 8.5 metres, but not be more than 10.0 metres if—

(a)  the consent authority is satisfied that the portion of the building above the maximum height shown for that land on the Height of Buildings Map is minor, and
(b)  the objectives of this clause are achieved, and
(c)  the building footprint is situated on a slope that is in excess of 16.7 degrees (that is, 30%), and
(d)  the buildings are sited and designed to take into account the slope of the land to minimise the need for cut and fill by designs that allow the building to step down the slope.

Under the B1. Neighbourhood Centre zoning which applies to the site shop-top housing is allowed provided it adheres to the 'Objectives of zone', which are:
  • To provide a range of small-scale retail, business and community uses that serve the needs of people who live or work in the surrounding neighbourhood.
  • To provide healthy, attractive, vibrant and safe neighbourhood centres.
Under the Pittwater 21 Development Control Plan Locality Specific Development Controls, D12, Palm Beach, and D12.1 Character as viewed from a public place, which applies to Shop top housing - the Pittwater DCP requires: 

The bulk and scale of buildings must be minimised.


To achieve the desired future character of the Locality.
To ensure new development responds to, reinforces and sensitively relates to the spatial characteristics of the existing built and natural environment. (En, S, Ec)
To enhance the existing streetscapes and promote a scale and density that is in scale with the height of the natural environment.
The visual impact of the built form is secondary to landscaping and vegetation, or in commercial areas and the like, is softened by landscaping and vegetation. (En, S, Ec)
High quality buildings designed and built for the natural context and any natural hazards. (En, S)
Buildings do not dominate the streetscape and are at 'human scale'. Within residential areas, buildings give the appearance of being two-storey maximum. (S)
To preserve and enhance district and local views which reinforce and protect the Pittwater's natural context.
To enhance the bushland vista of Pittwater as the predominant feature of the landscape with built form, including parking structures, being a secondary component.
To ensure that development adjacent to public domain elements such as waterways, streets, parks, bushland reserves and other public open spaces, compliments the landscape character, public use and enjoyment of that land. (En, S)

Land to which this control applies - Palm Beach Locality - P21DCP-D12MDCP600

the Palm Beach Fish and chip shop site in 2016

the same site today

The Palm Beach Whale Beach Association stated;

''Given the significance of the site, its location adjacent to Barrenjoey House and the number of objections submitted by the Community to the DA lodged on 4th March 2022, we are surprised and disappointed to learn that there has been no engagement by the applicant with immediate neighbours or with the Community to try to achieve a better outcome for the property, for Barrenjoey House, for the Community and for the Palm Beach locality in which it is so prominent.

The height of the building is significantly non-compliant. The highest point of this development should be limited to the roof-top height of Barrenjoey House. The height dwarfs surrounding properties and dominates the streetscape. The amended clause 4.6 variation request is not well founded.''

'The community expects DAs to comply with the current Pittwater LEP2014 and Pittwater 21 DCP.''

Under clause 4.6(3)(b) of the Pittwater Local Environmental Plan 2014 (PLEP), the relevant test is whether there are sufficient environmental planning grounds to justify the contravention of the height of building development standard.

The test does not require a non-compliant development to result in a “better environmental planning outcome for the site” relative to an earlier approved development, as referred to by the proponents in a submission to allow this.

Instead, the test requires a consideration of whether the proposed development, on its own merits, can demonstrate sufficient environmental planning grounds to justify a contravention of a development standard

Pittwater Online had received numerous emails regarding the Notification of the forthcoming NBLPP Meeting agenda, and posted this update on the Facebook platform for the news service.

Comments were:
Aren’t LEP requirements such as a height limit for a building in place for a reason? By exceeding the height limit by 35% or 3 metres effectively allows the Developer a third floor which makes a mockery of the LEP and the surrounding streetscape.
If this precedent is set the “Fantasea Site” (vacant shops North of Barrenjoey House) will no doubt have an equally large three story structure with tiny Barrenjoey House wedged in between.

Looks like a giant monster, not in keeping with the area. As an aside, will there be any onsite parking? We don’t want more parking congestion.

There goes the neighbourhood! This is why Pittwater Council was established in the first place!
It’s so disappointing.
These new developments will be with us for decades if not longer. There’s no going back.

And looks bloody awful !!!
Context of a beautiful beach area, a historic building adjacent to the site, the hill rising steeply behind and the Australian bush- and this is what style they come up !? with. Looks like an American mid western shopping mall.

So sad. My grandparents bought the block of land directly behind the fish shop on the hill in 1926. It will be a shame if this goes ahead. Will change the landscape of a beautiful area. Feel for Barrenjoey House.  

Developers know how to work the system. They have resubmitted plans 3 times, with virtually no changes to the non compliant aspects, knowing that eventually they will be approved.
Why would NBC recommend a grossly non compliant DA for approval?
What use is our LEP and DCP?

Complete disregard for the rules. Its a smack in the face for all law abiding citizens. Another example of how insidiously the government agenda of development at all costs is destroying notions of community and heritage in pursuit of money. Please folks vote for the independent this time round if you value Pittwater. We need to press the Liberal party to do better for this special place.

1112-1118 Barrenjoey road Palm Beach in 2017

The DA, over 4 levels, (including basement parking) seeks to erect a 3 storey above ground shop-top complex comprising 5 shops at ground level and 11 apartments, the bulk of these with 3 bedrooms. Just 31 car spaces will be provided for all retail and apartments, which includes 10 for the retail outlets.

Since that February 2023 NBPP Meeting another has taken place - this time behind closed doors at which the proponents' agent has resubmitted plans which are the same. 

The NBPP notified the over 150 respondents who had previously objected to the same of these on March 30th and gave them until April 10th 2023, Easter Monday, to supply feedback, again - and while most are on an Easter - School Holidays break. 

The feedback supplied by 53 respondents overwhelmingly objects, again, points out the plans are the same, the height breach and bulk and scale of the proposal does not conform to the zoning for that B1 area, and points out, again, this is not only not in keeping with the aesthetics the community and Pittwater Council articulated for Palm Beach, it does not conform with the Heritage values of the structure next door, Barrenjoey House, and would 'set a precedent' if allowed that all other developers could refer to.

The Palm Beach Whale Beach Residents Association pointed out in its April 11th 2023 and umpteenth submission:

''Amended plans were submitted by the developer as requested by the NBLPP. The Panel held a closed meeting on 8 March 2023 to consider the requested design changes. The minutes of the non-public meeting of NBLPP are on the website but further confuse the procedure. It would appear that amended plans showing a flat roof design were submitted to the Panel showing some (but not all) of the amendments requested by the Panel at its 15 February meeting and were found to be unsatisfactory although on what grounds is unclear. 

What is clear is that some of Council’s senior planning team were present including Louise Kerr and Peter Robinson plus Rod Simpson from DSAP and Robert Moore Council's Heritage Officer and they were able to advocate reverting to the “original” plans contrary to the Panel's decision of 15th February. 

What is genuinely disturbing is that Council’s planning staff were able to advocate, in the absence of the public, for plans against which over 150 objections had been lodged by the public - plans which furthermore show a number of serious breaches of planning controls.

Turning to the planning controls, the Pittwater LEP imposes a height control for this site of 8.5 meters. We understand that the proposed development, even in amended form, still exceeds this by approximately 2.5 meters (refer to survey plan ground levels). This still breaches the control by 30%. The fact that recommended ceiling heights for shop developments and the first floor of shop-top housing has been increased by the Australian Design rules is irrelevant – those rules do not operate to allow the developer to breach the height controls of the LEP.''

Another submission meeting that 'on a break' April 10th deadline points out:

81.2 Heritage Conservation- Development in the vicinity of heritage items -
Developments in the vicinity of a heritage item are to be designed to respect and complement the heritage significance in terms of the building envelope, proportions, materials, colours and finishes, and building alignment. 

Yet another states:
Why is this submission period during the Easter holidays and the closing date on Monday April 10th? A public holiday.   It does appear to be a deliberate ploy by all to once again bamboozle residents so that this monster get’s through. This development is next to Barrenjoey House our iconic historic heritage building. It is the gateway into Pittwater.

Why do residents have to police over and over this same DA?  Why do we pay such high wages to council management if they can’t make good decisions for the area? You are supposed to be protecting us.
The first time we were asked to comment on this DA no-one knew anything about it and when I complained to council one councillor said letters had gone to all residents in the area - which of course was not the case -  the car parking spaces opposite Barrenjoey House was included in ’the residents notified’.
If every single person in Pittwater knew about this development there would be an uproar - if only they could find it on the web.
A reminder to the planning panel :
NBC Heritage Item No. 2270076.
B1.2 Heritage Conservation - Development in the vicinity of heritage items - Developments in the vicinity of a heritage item are to be designed to respect and complement the heritage significance in terms of the building envelope, proportions, materials, colours and finishes, and building alignment.
The current proposal has a roof ridge height 1.5 metres above the existing ronon compliance with of ridge at Barrenjoey House. To achieve the desired future character of the neigbhourhood, the DCP requires - 
D12.1 – Pittwater DCP 
To ensure new development responds to, reinforces and sensitively relates to the spatial characteristics of the existing built and natural environment.
To enhance the existing streetscapes and promote a scale and density that is in scale with the height of the natural environment.
Buildings do not dominate the streetscape and are at 'human scale'. Within residential areas, buildings give the appearance of being two-storey maximum.
To have a development dominating and towering over such an iconic building as Barrenjoey House is in strong contrast to the future character of the locality and can ruin the visual care others have made in the vicinity.
Additionally, the front section of the Second floor is not compliant with the Local Environment Plan Building Height Control of 8.5 metres.
As the total building height of the proposed development currently dominates the building height of Barrenjoey House – the proposed development presents two areas of non-compliance 
·         Non compliance with LEP Building Height control
·         Dominance in building bulk to an adjacent Heritage item
This Development Application should be assessed requiring full compliance with both the Pittwater DCP and LEP controls as a minimum standard with the heritage importance component.
With -  
4.6 loop hole not allowed
‘on merit ’not  allowed.''

The Greece based owner of land on the other side of Barrenjoey House and up to the northern edge of the old Palm Beach Milk Bar has accepted an offer for that parcel of land. Plans for a development more sympathetic to the site were drawn by Architect Stephen Lesiuk, who has since passed away. Nothing has, as yet, been lodged with Council.

The next meeting of the Northern Beaches Planning Panel is listed on the council's website for Wednesday April 19th - the Palm Beach former fish and chip site does not, as yet, form part of the listed Agenda.

Mona Vale 'Being Trashed'

The comments about 'precedents set' is reflected in the September 2022 decision by the previous Coalition Government appointed Sydney North Planning Panel to approve a rezoning review request made by Macroplan on behalf of Intrec Management Pty Ltd that sought to amend the Pittwater Local Environmental Plan 2014 to:
  • Rezone properties 159-167 Darley Street West, Mona Vale from R2 Low Density Residential to R3 Medium Density Residential to facilitate the redevelopment of these sites for medium density residential housing, and
  • Amend clause 4.5A of the PLEP 2014 to remove its applicability to the subject site to provide a diversity and mix of housing.
The Decision stated the Panel unanimously resolved that the Planning Proposal demonstrated Strategic Merit and Site Specific Merit. The Panel considered that the proposal’s strategic merit included being consistent with the relevant District Plan, LSPS and LHS and notably the provision of affordable housing. 

Further, 'in respect of both strategic and site-specific merit, the Panel noted that, not only is the remainder of Darley St West zoned R3 but that it is also development consistent with that zone. The only remaining lots not so zoned or developed form the subject site.'

The proponents had stated '' The site is located at the end of a cul-de-sac street with a total of 20 residential lots. Apart from the land included in this Proposal, most of the lots in the cul-de-sac are developed for medium density housing.''

However, that which has been similarly developed is at the junction of Pittwater road and Darley Street West, around and backing on to that end of the golf course. The proposal for rezoning extends that scale of development into a quiet green residential low density housing area.

The Council stated:
'The vast majority of the surrounding area to the west and south is zoned R2 low density residential. The subject adjoins, at its rear boundary, properties that are also currently zoned R2.
The same arguments put forward by the Proponent could be used by owners of these adjoining properties in an attempt to justify the rezoning of their land.'


'' The proposal does not justify the rezoning of the subject property over and before other land adjoining the site or within the Mona Vale town centre zoned R2 or other land across LGA.''

The proponents stated:
''The Proposal is consistent with: the North District Plan and the LSPS (Local Strategic Planning Statement); provides a diversity of housing types and choice; will provide a mix of housing options to support Mona Vale strategic importance; will provide additional housing opportunities within walking distance of Mona Vale as well as public transport options, helping support the achieve the NSW Government’s objective of creating a 30-minute city.''

The North District Plan is part of the previous State Government's 2016 established Greater Sydney Commission (now the Greater Cities Commission). Established as an independent government agency under and answerable to the Department of Premier and Cabinet and tasked with strategic planning and other development responsibilities for Greater Sydney, The North District Plan 'informs' or more accurately mandates the local strategic planning statements and local environmental plans, the assessment of planning proposals as well as community strategic plans and policies. The GSC was established to meet the projected increase of population in Sydney. 

The 'liveable cities' idea aims to live within 30 minutes walking distance of where you work.

At the far end of Darley Street West are trees, wildlife habitat, native plant species, including the listed as Endangered Pittwater and Wagstaffe Spotted Gum Forest, small houses and a vista of green over the golf course. The site is subject to flooding - there's a watercourse or old creek that runs between Park street and Darley Street West. A creek runs from Maxwell street into that end of Darley street during rain events and over the golf course.

The Sydney North Planning Panel did not do a site visit as part of their assessment 'due to Covid'.

Those living in similar developments further up the hill with numerous underground carparks state they have had several insurance claims since their completion, as there have been flodding problems and ongoing subterranean moisture. In fact, everywhere such developments have been allowed, on known water courses, over old creeks and swamplands, those buying into them soon find they have bought something they will pay to repair for the term of their occupation. 

Image: Google Maps

A planning proposal for 41 dwellings on these 5 lots accompanied the rezoning review request, which equates to 8 dwellings per block where once there was 1. The proposed dwellings are 12 x 1 Bedroom apartments, 20 x 2 Bedroom apartments, 6 x 3 Bedroom apartments and 3 x Townhouses. Car parks are listed as 80, which includes 14 spaces for visitors. There is no provision for affordable housing.

Median property prices over the last year for Mona Vale range from $2,430,000 for houses to $1,365,000 for units. There has been a drop of 6.6% in property values for the suburb.

The Drawings, although not over the height limit, show the blocks will be left with 28% communal green space, part of which is a thin strip of green between two of the buildings and ''as is allowable under the change of zoning, and 29% deep soil retention''. The rest is all hard surfaces above ground and hard surfaces beneath.

The Sydney North Planning Panel had deferred its decision at an earlier hearing in 2022 as the Panel understood the Council was finalising the Mona Vale Place Plan Review and the result may be available in late May / early June 2022. However, by the date of the Panel’s September meeting, the results of the Council Review were not yet available and not expected till October at the earliest.

Despite numerous individual submissions calling on the NSW State Government appointed Planning Panel chaired by a former Leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party to reject the proposal, the zoning was recommended to be changed. 

On September 14th 2022 the Council was notified that the Panel had unanimously resolved that the Planning Proposal should be submitted to the Department for a Gateway determination subject to discussions between the Proponent, the Department, and Council, to resolve an affordable housing contribution consistent with the North District Plan.

Council was offered, and accepted, the Planning Proposal Authority (PPA) role for this proposal.

Council engaged Hill PDA to undertake a review of the Proponent’s feasibility assessment   for a proposed affordable housing contribution. That review concluded that an affordable housing contribution of 5% of total gross floor area of the development is feasible for this site based on a rate of $18,272/m2 of gross floor area. This would equate to a contribution of $3,374,872 based on the Proponent’s concept plans.

Council has prepared a draft Planning Proposal (Attachment 4) for submission to the Minister for Planning for a Gateway Determination which includes a proposal to introduce an affordable housing clause and map in PLEP 2014 and to provide an affordable housing contribution of 5% of the total gross floor area of any development on this site.

Council’s Affordable Housing Contributions Scheme would also require amendment to include this site and the required contribution rate.

The forthcoming Tuesday April 18th general council meeting lists this on the Agenda with a recommendation by the acting CEO that Council:

1. Note the record of decision of the Sydney North Planning Panel.
2. Submit the Planning Proposal at Attachment 4 to the Minister for Planning for a Gateway Determination.
3. Approve the exhibition of the Planning Proposal in accordance with the Minister’s determination at Gateway and concurrently exhibit the draft amended Affordable Housing Contributions Scheme.

The proposal as lodged seeks to:
  • Rezone properties 159-167 Darley Street West, Mona Vale from R2 Low Density Residential under Pittwater Local Environmental Plan (PLEP) 2014 to R3 Medium Density Residential.
  • Amend Clause 4.5A(3) of PLEP 2014 to include reference to 159-167 Darley Street West, Mona Vale (thereby confirming that clause 4.5A does not apply and so removing the maximum density requirements for the site which restrict density to 1 dwelling per 200 square metres of site area).
A Concept Plan has been prepared for the site by the Proponent which shows an indicative scheme for 2 residential flat buildings containing 38 apartments and 3 townhouses.

On September 29th 2021 the Northern Beaches Council announced it had adopted its Northern Beaches Affordable Housing Contributions Scheme, following the release of the Frenchs Forest Planning Precinct proposals by the State Government in July. This idea commenced in 2015 under the former Warringah Council. 

The Scheme enables Council to make provision for affordable housing in new or redeveloped housing precincts through a levy on developers. It was introduced initially to apply to the Frenchs Forest Planned Precinct. In June, Council resolved to also include a new development in Narrabeen under the scheme.

The redevelopment at 1294-1300 Pittwater Road and 2-4 Albert St Narrabeen was set to deliver a contribution equivalent to more than $1.1 million, dedicated to Council as affordable rental housing.

When the State Government placed the Frenchs Forest Planned Precinct zoning proposals on public exhibition in July of that year, Council also exhibited draft amendments to both the Affordable Housing Contributions Scheme and the Affordable Housing Tenancy Guidelines.

The Scheme can be extended to other areas that are rezoned or are subject to increases in residential density in the future.

Council's Housing webpage on this provides further insight:

The objective of draft Affordable Housing Tenancy Guidelines is to outline the requirements for the allocation and management of tenancies for properties within the Northern Beaches Council Affordable Housing Portfolio.

It also sets out criteria for eligibility, rent, management of waiting lists and asset management.

It is intended the full cost of the program, including day-to-day property and cyclical maintenance, tenancy management, administration fees and major upgrading works is fully covered by rent revenue collected by the Housing Manager (Council or its nominated agent)

Affordable Housing on any Council-owned Land

Any proposals for the redevelopment of Council-owned property will be assessed and considered against the directions in the LHS in the same way as proposals for private land.

Once Council has obtained affordable housing stock it will tender for a Community Housing Provider to manage and deliver affordable rental housing.

Any proposals for the redevelopment of Council-owned property will be assessed and considered against the directions in the LHS in the same way as proposals for private land.
Once Council has obtained affordable housing stock it will tender for a Community Housing Provider to manage and deliver affordable rental housing.

The reference to a Mona Vale Place Plan is part of the Council's released Draft Economic Development Strategy for feedback by the end of March 2023. The Council states the draft strategy was prepared by economic development firm NDP Economic Development with the assistance of Council staff and follows a thorough analysis of the current economic climate and consultation with the community.

It includes as an 'Action' the completion and implementation of Place Plans for Avalon, Mona Vale and Manly within the next 1-2 years as well.

The Mona Vale Place Plan timeline, via council's webpage, was scheduled for a public exhibition of the draft place plan in early to mid 2023, to review feedback, revise draft place plan in mid to late 2023 and report to Council to endorse place plan by the end of this year.

Mona Vale was identified as a Centre for Investigation in Council’s Local Housing Strategy, in line with the Greater Sydney Commission’s North District Plan identifying the same from its outset as a potential 'hub'.

The Council's MVPP webpage states that; 'The current building height controls allow for up to four (4) storeys in the Mona Vale town centre. We are not planning to increase these existing building height controls as part of the place planning process.'

A newly advertised 4-storey development with two levels of basement parking'Maya, Mona Vale' for the corner of Bungan and Waratah streets, of shop-top housing with 33 apartments, costing an estimated  $14,636,716.00 to build, and a height of over 15 metres, is another example of what is being approved in Mona Vale.

This DA started back in 2019 with the plans showing a height of 15.87 metres. The Pittwater LEP has a cap at 13 metres or 8.5 metres in this location. The proposal was presented to the Northern Beaches Local Planning Panel (LPP) on Wednesday 18 December 2019 with a recommendation for approval by the Northern Beaches Council, again.

The application was modified since being granted approval. This reduced the density of the development from 36 apartments to 33 and the number of car parking spaces from 112 to 103 spaces. Most of the flats will be 3 or 2 bedrooms.

The approved development still had a maximum height of 15.0m, which is a 4.0m non-compliance with the permitted 13.0m height limit. The modified development involved a slight reduction in the maximum height of the approved development of 400mm. The bulk of the areas that breach the height limit are situated in different areas of the roof of the building.

The application for modifications was exhibited in accordance with Council's Community Participation Plan (CPP), on its website, the only place DA's are now 'advertised', and no submissions were received. 

Submissions had been received from neighbours and on behalf of the Body Corporate living in the adjacent building, pointing out the height breach, loss of privacy and sunlight, and the blocking of their view, in the first instance of the DA process. Their concerns did not stop the development being approved as is. However, here again the stated objectives of clause 4.3 of the still in place Pittwater Council LEP 2014 apply.

Under clause 4.3  (2C):

Despite subclause (2), development on an area of land shown in Column 1 of the table to this subclause and identified as such on the Height of Buildings Map, may exceed the maximum building height shown on the Height of Buildings Map for that land, if the height of the development is not greater than the height shown opposite that area in Column 2.

Column 1           Column 2

Area                  Maximum height above the flood planning level

Area 1               11.5 metres

Area 2               8.5 metres on the street frontage and 10.5 metres at the rear

Area 3               8.5 metres

Area 4               7.0 metres

(2D)  Despite subclause (2), development on land that has a maximum building height of 8.5 metres shown for that land on the Height of Buildings Map may exceed a height of 8.5 metres, but not be more than 10.0 metres if—

(a)  the consent authority is satisfied that the portion of the building above the maximum height shown for that land on the Height of Buildings Map is minor, and

(b)  the objectives of this clause are achieved, and

(c)  the building footprint is situated on a slope that is in excess of 16.7 degrees (that is, 30%), and

(d)  the buildings are sited and designed to take into account the slope of the land to minimise the need for cut and fill by designs that allow the building to step down the slope.

(2E)  Despite subclause (2), development for the purposes of shop top housing on land identified as “Area 5” on the Height of Buildings Map may have a height of up to 10 metres if the top floor of the building is setback a minimum of 6 metres from the boundary to the primary street frontage.

The Pittwater LEP to April 2018 HOB map for Mona Vale shows:

The 'Maya' site at present, 2023

Traffic along Bungan-Waratah street of a weekday has increased

The blocking of views, breach of privacy and the bulk and scale of the development increase the likelihood of similar developments being approved in areas adjacent to this, and, as with Darley Street West, being spread into streets adjacent. 

The working group for the Mona Vale Place Plan, version II, has reiterated the community's aim/aspiration of ''retaining the village feel of Mona Vale''.

Mona Vale is just one of the local suburbs identified by the Northern Beaches Council as places to become 'hubs' or to 'activate' for more housing - Newport and Avalon are also named.

Another aspect of what is being approved is that those impacted in West Darley street and backing onto it now have to look out for what DA is submitted since the rezoning is approved as the period to provide feedback on these is now 14 days.

This brings up another problem residents are drawing attention to - not knowing a DA has been submitted that will impact their neighbourhood unless they live right next door and receive a Notification from Council. Although many residents associations are paid the courtesy by Council of being notified of these, not everyone is a member of their local residents association.

This change has occurred despite assurances the community would be kept informed and have a voice post-forced amalgamations, and underlines why a few of the emails and comments sent in to Pittwater Online these past weeks are renewed calls to have Pittwater Council reinstated.

In 2012, the Coalition State Government appointed an Independent Local Government Review Panel to undertake a review of local government. In the same year, the Government also appointed the Local Government Acts Taskforce to rewrite the Local Government Act.

In the 2013 REVITALISING LOCAL GOVERNMENT Final Report of the NSW Independent Local Government Review Panel, the lead-into forced amalgamation documents, page 78 notes;

'Opponents of amalgamation rely heavily on the argument that local identity will be lost in bigger local government units; that larger councils will pay less attention to specific needs of different suburbs or neighbourhoods and will fail to take steps to maintain their character. However, the Panel can find no evidence that loss of local identity is an inevitable consequence of creating larger local government areas. What does seem clear is that very rarely communities are so different, or so fiercely independent, that forcing them to share a local council is probably unwise.'

Pittwater Council epitomised fiercely independent and successful small scale local government. The Vision formulated for the former LGA reflected community sentiment to enhance and protect what millions of people visit the area for annually - a place that emphasised looking after the natural beauty of the area.

In February 2017 the then new NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian stated the government has established a cross-government working group to explore all options to make housing more affordable for NSW residents. Premier Berejiklian's Media Release also announced that the merged councils are staying put reiterating;

“In addition to maintaining all existing mergers, we will push ahead with those councils in Sydney that are before the courts.

“Local government reform is particularly important in Sydney if we are to deliver on our commitments to increase housing supply, improve planning and deliver local infrastructure and amenity to communities. These are strong justifications for proceeding with mergers.''

Urban Task Force stated in its own Media Release of February 15th that,

"The continuation of the merger process needs to be accompanied by a fast track approach to large housing projects during the transition process. The Minister for Housing, Anthony Roberts, should establish an action team under a Commissioner for Housing Supply for a two year period to lift housing approvals." 

Those who have long stated the forced amalgamations, the targeting and disempowerment of communities and sacking of councils that may scrutinise unwanted developments so they may be rushed through, began to gather credence through such statements. 

However, communities were assured they would be consulted and have an opportunity to make their voices heard on plans for their areas, including DA's.

In April 2020 then NSW Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock announced that under amendments to local government regulations councils will only have to put notices about their activities and decisions on their own websites(Local Government (General) Amendment (COVID-19) Regulation 2020). They were no longer required to advertise these in local print media - which would also raise awareness of some of these, particularly those proposals journalists recognised as significant and likely to impact on residents or the environment.

Significantly the print version of the Manly Daily closed at the same time with an online version through the Daily Telegraph set to continue the publication, which included a paywall. Those who sign up get access for the first 12 weeks at $4 per month and then are billed $28 per month ever after, or $272 per year for your first year, and $336 ever after. The MD had been impacted by the shift towards digital readership in free online news services prior to then and had reduced its Issues in 2017 from 5 days to 2. In January 2021 the DT reported it had 100 thousand online subscribers, a windfall of over 33 million dollars before adding in digital advertising fees.

It was believed then the Local Government (General) Amendment (COVID-19) Regulation 2020 was the only permanent measure among a number of temporary changes to the Local Government Act intended to financially support councils through the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The change has remained.

In July 2022 the NSW Department of Planning published 'Changes to notifications including newspaper advertising and online hearings' stating:

'Outdated provisions in the EP&A Regulation required planning authorities to notify the public of various planning matters through local newspapers. There is a broader industry trend away from hardcopy to digital media. Local newspapers have been transitioning to online-only delivery, often with a paywall, or suspending publication entirely.

Planning authorities such as councils can therefore no longer effectively or efficiently comply with this regulatory requirement. The changes therefore replace the requirement to publish planning notices in a local newspaper with online publication. Online publication will be on the NSW Planning Portal or the relevant council’s website.

The changes better align the EP&A Regulation with the digital government agenda and support the department’s established ePlanning program, which is increasing the use of technology in planning. It ensures development assessment and strategic planning processes make use of advances in technology and the changing communication preferences of consumers.

The amendments allow online access to information, while reducing costs and administrative burden for planning authorities such as councils. The changes modernise the EP&A Regulation by responding to the short-term COVID-19 effects and longer-term structural changes to the news media industry.'

This excludes those who are not digitally literate, cannot access a computer, cannot negotiate a website and is viewed as a further anti-democratic practice and an erosion of residents right to know, which benefits developers above community.

The changes have prompted some councils to persist in advertising DA's where they may be freely accessed - but not that which subsumed Pittwater, Warringah and Manly Councils as Proclaimed by the State Government on May 16th, 2016, just one year after the March 28 2015 State Election which the Coalition government, led by Mike Baird, won. 

Only those councils which had commenced legal action to stop this occurring prior to the Proclamation survived intact when the State Government decided to cease pursuing forcibly amalgamating these and apply its plans through a raft of changes to policies and applicable Acts.

At the 2015 Local Government Conference then re-elected Premier Mike Baird was greeted with:

Six Pittwater Council Councillors and supporters at the NSW Local Government Conference on Tuesday October 13, 2015 at Rosehill - image courtesy Mona Vale Residents Association

Mr. Baird attended the NSW Local Government Conference in 2015 to speak about the benefits of amalgamating councils but was greeted by 'back off Baird' by Pittwater residents outside the building. 
Inside the conference it was Pittwater residents who interjected with;

 We know that the only group to benefit from huge mega councils will be developers who have quite openly called for a reduction in the numbers of councils.

And when Mr. Baird stated:

 "There is no doubt that if we have less councils, we have hundreds of millions of dollars that can be put to work for our ratepayers," 

One of the Pittwater protesters yelled out, "Bollocks!" as others raised pieces of paper saying "no forced amalgamations" above their heads.

"Change has to happen," Mr Baird continued, "I know that many here will be resistant to that change. And I can see the placards, thank you... I had the constructive feedback on the way, in thank you.
"I know there will be resistance to this but I am determined to finish this process with local government, to do this together."

And so announced the intent to push through council amalgamations.

Interestingly the current CEO of the Northern Beaches Council Ray Brownlee PSM has announced his departure on Friday February 10th, to return to being General Manager at Randwick City Council, one of those councils that fought against being forcibly amalgamated. 

On July 27th 2017 the NSW Premier Berejiklian announced that the proposed Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra merger was not proceeding. This announcement followed legal action by Woollahra Council and Randwick Council to oppose the merger.

This meant Randwick Council was not amalgamated and continues to stand alone. Randwick was among several metropolitan councils that saw the writing on the wall and commenced legal action before the May 2016 Proclamation. 

Pittwater Councillors had also called for standing up to the State Government and passed a Motion to join the legal action, but that decision was reversed in a hastily called meeting when those who had moved the original Motion could not attend due to being at work out of the area, state and even country.

All up Mosman, Willoughby, North Sydney, Lane Cove, Hunters Hill, Ryde, Strathfield, Canada Bay, Burwood, Ashfield, Ku-ring-gai, Hornsby, Woollahra, Randwick and Waverley council retained their stand alone position - they only had to stand up for themselves for 18 months. 

The approval by the Northern Beaches Council and the State appointed Planning Panels of DA's and rezonings that ignore the Pittwater community vision for the area, and what is in place to guide that, is fuelling a growing anger. Along with the numerous calls for years to get Pittwater Council back had been requests to include in the Questions for 2023 Candidates for the Seat of Pittwater in the then upcoming State Election whether each candidate will support the community in getting its council back. Their replies may be read at the linked to page.

Due to NSW Labor party members attending and voicing support at so many of the anti-amalgamation and de-merger protests that have taken place since, Pittwater Online recently sought comment from the current opposition spokesperson.

Greg Warren MP, Shadow Minister for Local Government, confirmed in January 2023 through his policy advisor that:

''a NSW Labor Government will not support the forced merger of local councils, nor will it support any forced demerger. Rather, this must be done voluntarily with the clear support of local residents as confirmed through a local plebiscite. 

To this effect, a NSW Labor Government will legislate to put into place independent mechanisms to enable this to occur.''

This does not clarify whether the same mechanism applied to an earlier move by residents and the Protect Pittwater association to get the council back would be applied. Then, after a protracted response time of almost two years where the proposal was seemingly 'misplaced', the group was told they would have to get signatures across the whole of the newly created Council area, not just from 10% of those within the former LGA area of Pittwater to commence a broader community discussion and process. 

The Office of Local Government wrote to the group saying that: 

“… the proposal … does not meet the legal requirement of being certain, nor is it supported by an appropriate minimum number of electors as required by the Act”.    

“Given that our proposal was composed with the help of two barristers, Protect Pittwater will now take advice to consider our next course of action,” the group said in a statement. 

However, Chapter 9 How are councils established? of the Local Government Act states:

Part 1 Areas

Division 2 What must be done before areas can be constituted?

215   Who may initiate a proposal?

(1)  A proposal may be made by the Minister or it may be made to the Minister by a council affected by the proposal or by an appropriate minimum number of electors.

(2)  An appropriate minimum number of electors is

(a)  if a proposal applies to the whole of an area or the proposal is that part of an area be constituted as a new area—250 of the enrolled electors for the existing area or 10 per cent of them, whichever is the greater, or

(b)  if a proposal applies only to part of an area—250 of the enrolled electors for that part or 10 per cent of them, whichever is the lesser.

Nearly 3,500 signatures had been collected - 10% of the proposal applying to 'only part of an area' electors, and certainly not 'whichever is the lesser' but a demonstration of much more considering the short amount of time the group and its volunteers took to gather these.

On May 13th, 2021 the NSW government wrote a new opportunity for fully funded council demergers, updating local government laws to allow for council-initiated proposals within a fixed time frame. 

Save Our Councils Coalition vice president Sue Young said then that under changes passed by both Houses of the NSW Parliament in the Local Government Amendment Bill 2021, councils amalgamated in 2016 would be able to launch demerger bids within 10 years of their establishment. 

However this is applying a 'across the whole LGA' mark once again. Considering the former Warringah Council had advocated and campaigned for the amalgamation, and with a larger population, this too would be a fruitless exercise of ever shifting goal posts and ever changing applying of some sections of the Act while ignoring applicable sections.

The cost of any de-amalgamation of the new area resulting from a business case submitted under the new provision would be fully funded by the state government, Ms Young said, while also questioning the usefulness of the amendment unless a majority of councillors supported a demerger. 

“The amendment may not be a viable pathway for Pittwater residents wanting to de-amalgamate from the Northern Beaches Council,” Ms Young said. “I consider the benefit for Pittwater is that the community proposal should be treated in the same manner as a proposal from an amalgamated council and fully funded by the government, with limits on response and processing times.” 

This week's renewed calls by residents for a return of Pittwater Council back state the government's policies, modified Acts and requirements have disenfranchised residents participation in shaping their community, or ignore their 'feedback' as it does not fit in with what is planned. Approved developments that raze once green areas, fill the whole block with bulky buildings that breach height restrictions are cited as 'a deliberate destruction or 'uglification' of Pittwater'.

At the December 2022 Council Meeting a Mayoral Minute was submitted shortly before the meeting to: “Congratulate and thank our Development Assessment Team and senior staff on their continued efforts to ensure we have a robust, transparent and efficient development assessment system.”

This was in reference to the NSW Auditor-General December 12th 2022 released Report 'Development applications: assessment and determination stages'.

Pittwater Councillor Miranda Korzy stated in her January 2023 'From the Chamber' update for residents that:      

''...as was pointed out to me by residents later - because the Mayoral Minute was submitted so close to the meeting that councillors had little time to read it - the report notes that the audit required interviews with a long list of council and government staff - but not with residents. Those on the list included council planning and compliance staff, NSW Planning and Environment department, ICAC, NSW Ombudsman, and the Planning Institute of Australia (NSW).

Secondly, the audit required detailed examination of only 25 of the 4,475 DAs the report said were determined by NBC between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2021. The total estimated construction costs for all 4,000 plus developments was $1.8 billion.

NBC was one of three councils audited, and findings, reported on December 12, included that: 

“Northern Beaches Council has established processes to support compliant and effective assessment and determination of development applications …

The Council has a clear governance and risk management framework for development assessment that sets out roles, responsibilities and delegations…

Northern Beaches Council's approach to managing conflicts of interest promotes transparency ...

Northern Beaches Council has established processes to deliver consistent, quality assessment of development applications …

Northern Beaches Council has established processes to effectively support the Northern Beaches Local Planning Panel.”

Without having had an opportunity to read the full report, I could not support this motion given the experience of Pittwater residents. I told the meeting that I recognise the technical skill and professional expertise of planning staff.

However, I noted that many Pittwater residents are extremely angry about DAs approved in recent years that permit cutting down of large numbers of mature canopy trees, with massive excavations changing the contours of the land and creek lines along with destroying wildlife habitat. These developments appear to many of us to be contrary to the intent of the Pittwater LEP and DCP as well as the community’s intense desire to protect Pittwater’s environment. ''

On April 5th 2022 newly reinstated Planning Minister Anthony Roberts stated at an event run by developer group Urban Taskforce he would be scrapping Design and Place State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP). 

The Design and Place State Environmental Planning Policy set a path for net zero, more tree canopy and green spaces, better ventilation of apartments, and resilience to heat, flood and fire threats, and requirements to assess where dwellings would be built, in particular whether they are in a flood zone or in a bushfire risk area registered by the NSW RFS. The proposed comprehensive Place and Design SEPP, which included updates to the Apartment Design Guide, The Building Sustainability Index (BASIX), a new Urban Development Guide and Design Review Manual included sustainability measures.

These measures represented a significant leap forward in the NSW Government’s efforts to improve sustainability and reduce emissions and were likely to require some adjustment from the development industry.
They were a blueprint for meeting the challenges of climate change in urban design.

However, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr. Roberts was put under pressure by developer lobby groups to dump the SEPP and a spokeswoman for Roberts said Premier Dominic Perrottet had requested the minister prioritise housing affordability and deliver new homes.

With projected and designed increases in populations governments still determine to build up, which requires developments of mutiple stories to be approved in established urban areas, and build out, which leads to the clearing of greenfield, farmland and wildlife habitat. 

Pittwater's residents are not alone in their push back against state planning policies and Council approval of non-compliant proposals. In an opinion piece co-authored by Western Sydney University's Professor Nicky Morrison, School of Social Sciences and the Institute for Culture and Society, and  Associate Professor Awais Piracha, School of Social Sciences, sharing insights from their September 2022 published study 'The loss of peri-urban agricultural land and the state-local tensions in managing its demise: The case of Greater Western Sydney, Australia' it is stated;

''Our study highlights growing tensions between the New South Wales government and its attempts to manage population growth and housing pressures, and local councils and their efforts to protect food production on the city outskirts. The loss of productive land around our major cities is an increasingly urgent issue for our food security.''

The study found that Western Sydney may have lost as much as 60% of its agricultural land over the past ten years. 


The Department of Planning and Environment’s latest housing supply forecast predicts the region will supply roughly 60% of Greater Sydney’s new dwellings in the period 2021-2025. 

Attempts have been made to concentrate new development in two designated growth areas – the North-West and South-West – from 2006 onwards. These locations used to contain swathes of undeveloped greenfield land. But local council policies to retain productive farmland have been put aside to accommodate state government growth plans.

In December 2022 the incumbent State Government announced it would rezone areas to deliver 70,000 homes by June 30, 2024 and it would be in charge of assessing these. The bulk of these sites are in Western Sydney at present, on or adjacent to Sydney's last koala population and its habitat. Under the Rezoning Pathways Program, developers can nominate rezoning proposals for more than 1,000 dwellings on sites in metropolitan NSW and at least 300 dwellings in regional NSW. These proposals would bypass councils and instead be assessed by the state’s planning department.

Despite the major implications of the scheme, the NSW Government failed to detail how local provisions will be considered when these residential developments are assessed and what community consultation, if any, will occur. LGNSW President Darriea Turley AM said the new program was the latest example of the NSW Government cosying up to property developers at the expense of councils and the communities they represent. 

“The changes that are being proposed here would affect every council area in the state. It also brings into question what, if any, consideration will be given to existing local plans and policies when major housing developments are being assessed," Cr Turley said.

“By removing council input and community consultation on these major developments, the government is essentially removing the safeguards that protect communities from inappropriate and ad hoc development.”

Cr Turley questioned whether the NSW Government was being genuine when it badged the new program as a way of unlocking new homes faster.

“This government is quick to blame delays on councils. Yet it is well established that the overwhelming cause of delays stem from infrastructure delivery issues and other hold ups from a multitude of government agencies,” Cr Turley said.

“A few years ago, the NSW Government took development application powers off Sydney councils and introduced mandatory local planning panels. The argument was that councillors should focus on strategic planning rather than on individual development applications.

“Now with this latest announcement, the government is coming after the strategic planning as well.

LGNSW stated Property developers had been gifted an early Christmas present after the NSW Government announced it would sideline councils and communities from assessing new major housing developments.

The following week the State Government announced Michael Cassel has been appointed as the acting CEO of the NSW Reconstruction Authority, which has been formally established as part of the NSW Government’s response to the Flood Inquiry. 

The NSW Reconstruction Authority is a statutory corporation reporting to the Minister for Planning, and the Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery.

Under section 12 of the NSW Reconstruction Authority Act 2022, the ‘’Authority may carry out development on certain land in particular circumstances’’. The Authority may carry out development on land (specified land) if the Authority is satisfied the specified land is in a part of the State that has been, or is likely to be, directly or indirectly affected by a disaster, and the development is necessary to give effect to the primary object of the Act. 

Section 12 further states that ''given the nature of the disaster or likely disaster, and its direct or indirect effect on the specified land, carrying out the development immediately is appropriate in the circumstances, and the development will not involve clearing native vegetation or will involve clearing native vegetation only to the minimum extent necessary, or the Authority is satisfied the specified land is not in a part of the State that has been, or is likely to be, directly affected by a disaster but the development is a direct response to the disaster or likely disaster, and cites as an example— 'development for the purposes of residential accommodation to house residents who have been displaced by a disaster'.

This will include developing land within national parks, protected marine areas or land subject to native title claims, so long as the development is ''necessary and appropriate''. This will also include the habitat of threatened or critically endangered species, alike what the then state government is pushing through in western Sydney koala habitat lands along with developing what is left of Cumberland wood plain lands.

The authority will be able to do anything that is "supplementary, incidental or consequential" to these functions and the CEO will be able to take whatever steps they deem "necessary or desirable".

All a long way from adding an extra storey to a development at Palm Beach to maximise profit, helped by a recommendation for approval from a Council, despite an in place LEP and DCP - but applicable here, should a developer want to rezone land for another 1000 dwellings at Ingleside, the back of Bayview or Belrose.

''The Mona Vale Road isn't being upgraded into a dual lane both ways Mona Vale Highway just to funnel people to Mona Vale beach....'' one resident commented recently, '' ... it's pretty obvious by now what's coming down that road....''

As the council keeps approving thousands of developments across the area compliance with those approvals and 'boots on the ground' has been lacking according to residents reporting runoff from sites into the estuary and adjacent areas. Residents have been left to 'police' these themselves, alike that response to the Palm Beach fish and chip site, as with all these approvals the amount of staff needed to ensure compliance through site visits is not occurring. 

At the March 2023 council meeting Curl Curl Councillor Greens Councillor Kristyn Glanville raised a motion at council last week addressing one of the greatest sources of complaints to councillors: compliance failures.

Pittwater Councillor Miranda Korzy reported in her 'From the Chamber' March update:

'A planning and environment lawyer, Ms Glanville called for a report from staff identifying issues with the private certification scheme and recommendations for improving state legislation concerning it. 

Her motion also proposed a workshop for councillors to raise ideas for improving community compliance with building and development regulations. 

Examples of these measures could include: random inspections of building sites; joint blitzes with the NSW Environment Protection Authority; new technology to identify illegal development, such as tree clearing; and education campaigns to encourage a culture of compliance. 

Ms Glanville said that in talking to council staff, the community, and from her professional background, she believed there were two features of the system that needed to be dealt with.

Firstly, council must provide enough resources to deal with compliance issues properly; and secondly, apply pressure on the NSW government to fix problems with private certification - given that problems with privately certified development are a significant driver of complaints to council.

Complaints we receive include problems with certifiers, illegal clearing of trees or vegetation, illegal building works completed without permission, and inappropriately certified works by private certifiers.'

Although the motion passed unanimously, it is a too little too late for residents of Pittwater.

The targeted rezoning of Pittwater to facilitate environmental destruction and overdevelopment, buildings, such as the DA for the old Palm Beach site that breach the height limit for their zones by metres being recommended for approval, the rapid ruination of the villages of Mona Vale and Newport - are the reasons so many are celebrating a Labor government being installed by the NSW populace as that will bring the chance to restore Pittwater Council and in doing so also restore the environmental, heritage and community aspects of Pittwater that were thrown out with the forced amalgamation and caused the formation of groups such as Protect Pittwater and the Pittwater Environmental Heritage Group  - both of which are already gathering signatures on a petition to commence that process, again - a movement that began when Pittwater Council was sacked by the previous Coalition government in May 2016.

''It's a pity that it required a change of government for us to finally achieve that opportunity.'' one Letter to the Editor remarked as this Issue goes to press.


“Pittwater is a Series of Villages Connected by Bush, Beach and Water.”

Since the early 1990s, Pittwater’s Local Environment Plan (LEP) and its zonings have reflected residents’ desire to: 

  • protect and enhance Pittwater’s natural environment and recreation areas
  • conserve Pittwater’s European and Aboriginal heritage
  • minimise risks to the community in areas subject to environmental hazards including climate change and
  • protect and promote the health and well-being of current and future residents of Pittwater.

In the same vein, the Pittwater Development Control plan recognises that:

“Any future growth of Pittwater must conserve, protect and enhance the natural environment and beauty of the area. Development will need to be ecologically sustainable and considerate of the natural hazards of the area that have helped to shape the region, which will ensure a safe and good quality of life for the community and future generations.

Pittwater’s zonings have been critical to protecting this spectacular and precious area. Large swathes of our suburbs were classified as Environmental Zones - later redefined by the NSW government as Conservation zones. Much of Pittwater’s residential areas are currently zoned C4 (Environmental Living).  

Conservation zones, such as C4, are applied to properties with significant environmental values - which may be ecological, scientific or aesthetic - and to those potentially exposed to significant hazards such as  bushfires, flooding and landslides. The zones help determine what owners are allowed to do on their land.

C3 zones, which are typically for Environmental Management, and what you can do in these zones is more restrictive.

Northern Beaches Council conducting a Conservation Zones Review, as part of its preparation for a harmonised or 'one' LEP across the Northern Beaches. The review was on public exhibition until December 2 2022, and comprises a complex set of documents and maps. It proposed rezoning 3,613 properties within the former Pittwater Local Government Area from C4 to residential zones, and 1,328 from an Residential zone to a Conservation zone. By comparison, 54 properties in the former Manly LGA will lose C zonings, and in the former Warringah Council area, one. 

One of the main causes of the changes in Pittwater’s zones is that land with native vegetation in core habitat areas, and Threatened Ecological Communities, is defined as having “High Environmental Values” - and only one of these criteria is required for a C4 or C3 zone. However, similarly significant wildlife corridors and tree canopy are defined as only “Medium Environmental values” - and two of these are required for a C4 zone.  

Protect Pittwater Update

Saturday March 11 2023
Today at our stall outside La Banette, bakery in Avalon, people from last week returned with friends to collect 'Bring Back Pittwater Council' stickers. 

They also asked us how to vote to best 'Protect Pittwater'.

Our advice today was NUMBER EVERY BOX.  Give your first preference to your candidate of choice but don't waste your vote getting eliminated if your No 1 choice doesn't get up.  

Pittwater is such a special place.  We must protect it.  We need to work together!'

Bring Back Pittwater Council sticker design by Pru Wawn