Facilitative approaches to development assessment

We rarely shout out about our development assessment work when we wear our ‘Council Town Planner’ hats. Many of our clients might be surprised to hear that we also assess applications—although of course not our own!

Assessment culture can increase economic activity

While development assessment is often much less glamorous than major projects, it is never-the-less an important part of the development process. Those responsible for administering the process often receive criticism for placing roadblocks or taking too long to make decisions. The way applications are assessed can be very significant to economic development.
One of our valued clients is North Burnett Regional Council for whom we have the pleasure of providing services such as assessing development applications. We have been involved in one way or another since 2001, starting initially in Mundubbera. Just recently we were pleased to be able to help a local entrepreneur navigate the approvals process in Mundubbera’s main street, Lyons Street. 
InsiteSJC’s involvement on the project commenced when we received an enquiry about a proposal to convert a couple of buildings within Mundubbera’s main street, Lyons Street into backpacker accommodation. Because we have lodged dozens of applications for backpacker hostels elsewhere, we were quite familiar with the planning and building issues. We were quickly able to identify some design considerations for the project but, overall, recommended that Council treat the matter favourably. We provided prelodgement advice and direction, resolving virtually all concerns with Possco’s Mark Postle before Council even received the application.
This approach gave the intending applicant a high degree of confidence that approval would be forthcoming without delay. It saved time for him and Council, and of course time equals money.

How we make it easier

Our approach in providing development assessment services follows the same basic steps each time—

  • conduct initial discussions with the project proponent to understand their proposal and objectives; explain the process overall
  • ascertain what, if any, approvals would be necessary
  • form a view about the extent of support and advise on approval prospects
  • advise of the key issues an application would need to address, providing extracts of the planning scheme to address (We prefer that applicants address the few key issues rather than try to respond to a comprehensive list of fairly irrelevant or conditionable matters.)
  • advise about likely costs such as application fees, referral fees, infrastructure charges, works required
  • advise of desired changes to the design or proposal
  • advise about what professional help is required—consultants, like building designers, surveyors, engineers, town planners are necessary for some applications
  • sometimes we would also provide initial comment on a draft application
  • after the applicant lodges the application, we would take it through the IDAS process, usually without an information request.

The result is satisfied local businesses

The applicant for the Lyons Street backpacker hostel says that he was delighted with the service from the Council and InsiteSJC. 

"North Burnett Regional Council and its consultants InsiteSJC have been excellent to work with. I was impressed and also grateful for the help and support shown by David Newby and his team. Getting everything sorted out informally early before lodging the application meant we received our Council planning approval the next week, and that was over Easter!” said Mark Postle. "I would strongly recommend InsiteSJC to anybody needing help with any town planning issues and also thank North Burnett Regional Council for their support.”
We receive considerable satisfaction helping locals, like Mark Postle, achieve their development goals. Many times those locals are ordinary business people trying to start up a business or expand their premises. They are good at what they do but the process of developing a project concept, obtaining approvals, and making it happen, is something they encounter perhaps only once in a lifetime. That is where a facilitative approach to development assessment can make a difference!
We wish Mark, and the many other entrepreneurs in the North Burnett, the best for their development projects.



(0 Bytes)