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So its time to be a Nimby

By plane - 19 November 2007 22

Okay, so the neighbours have just got a nice yellow ACTPLA sign in their yard, indicating an application for quite a significant change to the title/lease, and to put up some units. Having had a look at the plans, a few of us neighbours are a little unhappy, and in true Nimby fashion are looking to write an objection.

Has anyone done this sort of thing before, and can share some pointers. Is it worthwhile writing the objections as a combined effort between the residents, or individual ones for each neighbour. Are there professionals that assist (and help get better results) or is it best to just do it alone. Does ACTPLA want a point by point argument using the guidelines of the Territory Plan, or do heartfelt comments work better?

Any help?

What’s Your opinion?


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22 Responses to
So its time to be a Nimby
Gungahlin Al 5:12 pm 20 Nov 07

Plane: a lot of good advice here.

I would add to contact your local Community Council for assistance/guidance. You’ll find contact details for all of them under Links on our Gungahlin website http://www.gcc.asn.au

It’s probably an appropriate place to mention that the new Territory Plan when gazetted next March should make it a lot easier for residents to write submissions/objections.

The new structure will separate Code and Merit assessment tracks. And then you’ll be able to focus just on those aspects in the Merit Criteria with your objection – the Code Criteria will be essentially quantitative facets – they are either met or not, and if they are met then you can’t object to that aspect of the DA.

This is a key reason why we’ve been putting so much effort into the draft stage of the Territory Plan review – through the GCC submission and on Minister Barr’s Reference Panel – so the rules are better in the first place.

The redrafted Territory Plan is out for the final round of consultation right now and it closes on 7 December.

Mr Evil 5:02 pm 20 Nov 07

Wait till they build it – then burn it down?

OpenYourMind2 2:38 pm 20 Nov 07

S4anta, you don’t know how many people I’ve seen go down having such an attitude. You have to remember the public servant is getting paid to uphold a rule or whatever, eventually they’ll move onto another job and most likely won’t have invested much emotional energy into the whole thing. On the other side, I’ve seen people put the heart and soul into an argument with a department and even if they win their little battle, it’s at an immense personal cost.

les 1:46 pm 20 Nov 07

just did a similar exercise myself. Am yet to hear the outcome, but from my experience, it is definitely important to know what you’re talking about. So ‘it’s a nice quiet street’ definitely won’t work, but quoting the Territory Plan regarding the maximum plot ratio, overshadowing, vehicle access, setbacks from your boundary will work, although primarily if you can prove that the plans as they are presented are in conflict with the clauses you’ve identified.

It’s not about hating development but people are still entitled to a reasonable level of quality of life and that’s what the planning controls are there for. If they aren’t used properly then people should be entitled to contribute their views.

Good luck.

Ponkygirl 1:45 pm 20 Nov 07

A similar case might be DANIEL/PRIOR AND ACT PLANNING & LAND AUTHORITY & ANOR [2006] ACTAAT 16 (30 MAY 2006)(at http://www.courts.act.gov.au), where the neighbours successfully appealed against approval for a seven-unit development in Weetangera. They ran a variety of arguments, many of which were dismissed by the court – that may give you a good idea of what to focus on.
That development has now been approved as a four-unit plan (see CROWN HOLDINGS NO. 2 PTY LTD AND ACT PLANNING & LAND AUTHORITY [2007] ACTAAT 22 (22 OCTOBER 2007) – it may be you can only achieve a partial change to the plans rather than outright rejection of the proposal.

S4anta 11:15 am 20 Nov 07

Plane,

Check out the ACTPLA website, read what it has to say. Structure your arguements in a bipartisan, clear and concise matter, and you should be sweet.

If it gets a bit over you, just say to yourself ‘i can outwit this f**king public servant’.

Works everytime.

VYBerlinaV8 9:16 am 20 Nov 07

It’s kinda hard when on one hand we have people complaining about high housing prices, but people don’t want the areas they live in developed further. Of course, everyone would like to live in a street with quarter acre blocks, trees that meet over the street and no units for miles. Which is why these suburbs have million dollar properties in them.

Unless there’s a compelling reason to stop the development, get out of the way and let them do their thing. (Then find out how it went and see if you can do it too).

Jonathon Reynolds 8:29 am 20 Nov 07

@captainwhorebags:
sorry, “decreased views from your house” is generally not a valid grounds for objection.

@plane:
Go check some of the cases that went to the ACT AAT (Administrative Appeals Tribunal), it will give you some insight in to what issues are likely to have any real weight (especially if they are similar to your own circumstances)

http://www.courts.act.gov.au/magistrates/index.html

captainwhorebags 8:21 am 20 Nov 07

danny: I agree with the sentiment of what you’ve written. I prefer my own block, but can see the appeal of medium density townhouse/unit style living, particularly if it creates a vibrant atmosphere around a suburban shopping centre (although the top end of town, Yarralumla is an excellent example).

If the objection is lodged because of simple nimbyism “it was a nice quiet street and we don’t want any more people here” then I think it should be thrown out.

Look for unarguable legitimate concerns, such as decreased views from your house, over shadowing due to multilevel development, increased parking burden on the street, etc etc. Base your objection on facts and avoid emotional concerns.

boomacat 8:04 am 20 Nov 07

You should address each of the relevant considerations under a separate heading.

Use evidence to support each of your claims.

Be clinical in your approach, don’t be emotive.

danny 8:04 am 20 Nov 07

I’m not aiming to troll with this comment, I’m actually interested in your thoughts on this subject

I spent a fair proportion of my life living in a Canberra suburb that over the past ten years has changed dramatically. Much of the suburb that was once single dwelling is now medium density units. Even though I had to move out a few times since my place went under the hammer (and inevitably the wrecking ball) I still don’t view the development as a bad thing.

The suburb is growing/changing/evolving, people are moving in, there is more of a pulse there now then there ever was (and that is one of the more often quoted issues outsiders have with our fine City – it lacks a pulse). Countless jobs and industries were supported by the development in the suburb which is a good thing isn’t it? True, the large front yards with sprinklers over summer are gone but they have been replaced with some pretty tidy buildings.

I can’t comment on the problem you are facing since you haven’t mentioned what suburb it is, after all you may be right, the particular development you’re facing could be completely inappropriate. But what are people’s thoughts on the idea that a city needs to grow in order to stay alive? Without it wouldn’t you have an ageing population that stayed put and a suburb that wouldn’t change? Wouldn’t it eventually stagnate in areas as the elderly became unable to perform the upkeep? This would cause the city to continue to sprawl and successive generations would be forced further and further out.

I’ve never really had the opportunity to listen to those on the NIMBY side yet so I really would like to hear your thoughts on why you view such unit developments negatively.

Jonathon Reynolds 12:10 am 20 Nov 07

As per what Pickle has indicated…

However you also need to consider the proponents application in conjunction with any applicable (including draft) guidelines that may also be in force.

Remember, just as you have the right to object to a particular development where you feel it may be inappropriate, the proponent has the right to develop in accordance to what the lease conditions, territory plan, special zoning exemptions/considerations and appropriate guidelines dictate or allow. It helps to be a constructive NIMBY rather than a NIMBY for NIMBY sake.

Don’t waste your time if the submission would be ignored under 3rd party appeal provisions.

Go have a look at some of the (older) submission work I was previously involved in with the Gungahlin Community Council:

http://gcc.asn.au/oldgcc/activities/submissions/planning.htm

Pickle 10:57 pm 19 Nov 07

Study this:
http://apps.actpla.act.gov.au/tplan/

and especially stuff like this:
http://apps.actpla.act.gov.au/tplan/B/B1.pdf

Address it like a public service selection criteria for a job, you will soon figure out for yourself if you have a hope of fighting it

cranky 10:30 pm 19 Nov 07

I’ve been on the receiving end of an organised opposition to a renovation. Still a house, not dual occy/apartments etc.

The objectors, organised by the ACT chairman of the Flat Earth Society, put in an omnibus claim, covering change of streetscape, loss of heritage value, loss of view, loss of greenery, and more.

Their claim was dismissed completely, but they had good enough connections to organise a meet with the then Minister in charge of Palm/ACTPLA whatever.
I believe that word went down that our plan had to be absolutely correct to gain approval. End result was an encroachment over a boundary of 900mm was deemed totally unacceptable, and our plans rejected.

Moral of the story – Your claims will be thoroughly examined, and only very valid claims will get up. However, political contacts can assist.

bd84 9:52 pm 19 Nov 07

From the ACTPLA website “If you feel the application may affect you in any way and wish to object, you must lodge a written objection clearly stating the grounds for objection. However, you may also provide comments in support of the application.”

I would think you would have to give specific and detailed reasons as to why the development should not be approved, not just “I don’t want them to build it next door to my place”

I’m sure dot points would work as well as anything else, on how it would effect your property, the street or traffic etc..

I guess you could get professionals to help, but you’re the one outlaying the money for the surveyors etc, if it was my money I would only invest it if I had really good grounds to support my case.

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