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    Sydney’s new regional planning panels promise quicker determinations on significant developments and rezoning

    Nathan Johnson

    The processing of significant development applications in greater Sydney is set to undergo a major change as the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) divvies up its planning powers across six regional panels.

    From 21 November 2016, the existing Sydney East Joint Regional Planning Panel and the Sydney West Joint Regional Planning Panel will be no more. Instead, six regional panels will take on their key planning approval activities including the determining of regionally significant development applications (generally development with a capital investment value of more than $20M) and the consideration of pre-gateway (rezoning) reviews.

    THE DISTRICTS

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    The Sydney Planning Panels will comprise of five members including a Greater Sydney Commission District Commissioner who will Chair the panel as well as two state appointed representatives and two council appointed representatives.

    The GSC says a key goal of the regional panels will be to improve determination time frames by at least 10 per cent by November 2017, and reduce pre-gateway (rezoning) review timeframes to less than 90 days for 85 per cent of requests. This, says the GSC, will be facilitated by an spreading the application workload across the Sydney panels, allowing for faster decisions.

    The City of Sydney will continue to be excluded from the operation of the Sydney Planning Panels for the consideration of development matters. The Central Sydney Planning Committee will continue to operate as normal. Pre-gateway (rezoning) reviews for the City of Sydney will continue to be undertaken by the Planning and Assessment Commission.

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