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Collapse Issue 520:<br />31 May 2021<br />_____________Issue 520:
31 May 2021
Collapse  NEWS NEWS
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More time for comment after portal anomalies revealed

The public comment period for a Woy Woy development application has been unexpectedly extended for another month.

The extension comes after a submission claimed that neighbours had not been notified by letter and that the council had not provided consistent information about the opportunity to comment.

Conflicting information was provided both through the council's planning portal and in person, according to the submission.

The objector said that he initially learnt of the proposal for a three-unit development at 95 Paton St, Woy Woy, through reading about it in the April 19 issue of Peninsula News.

He said that, despite living opposite the proposal, he had not been notified by letter and neither had his neighbours.

He said an immediate neighbour of the proposed site had not believed an application existed because he had not received a letter from the council and did not have the computer skills or equipment to access the council's planning website.

"He does not use a computer.

"His family assist him with correspondence he receives.

"In the absence of official notification from Central Coast Council, it is not possible to convince him there is a development application for the property next to him.

"Nor is it our responsibility.

"His property is adversely affected by the proposed development application, but it is unlikely he will make a submission to Council."

The objector said that, in accessing the website and visits to the council offices, he was given inconsistent and changing information about the exhibition period.

He was told at the counter that the dates published in Peninsula News, April 21 to May 21, were incorrect.

However, screenshots provided by the objector showed these dates were shown on the council website, but other dates were shown at different times, as well as provided by council staff.

Eight pages of the submission detailed the objector's experience of conflicting information provided by the council.

He said that when he attended the council offices on April 30, he was told the advertising period was from April 30 to May 28.

Despite being assured that notifications would be posted ("probably") on May 3, "not a single house in the affected area has received official notification from Central Coast Council" by May 21.

Screenshots taken on May 16 showed both deadline dates.

He said one of his neighbours told him on May 18 that the deadline was May 21, although the website was showing May 28.

A call to council staff confirmed the May 21 deadline.

A request was lodged for the council's town planning section to return the call. This did not occur.

When the objector checked the website on a different device, it showed a deadline of May 21.

"I notice today (May 20), on the Central Coast Council website portal, the details for notifying and advertising of this development application have changed again online.

"The website now shows two different dates for notifying and advertising the development application.

"My deep concern is that this mess has occurred and brings into question the integrity of this development application and the application, advertising, notifying and advertising process."

The council website now shows three advertising periods, including the new period from June 4 to July 2.

Peninsula News has previously reported examples where neighbours have claimed they have not received notifications about proposed developments, where the council's planning portal has not provided application details during the publicised comment period or has provided information which has misrepresented the status of an application.

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