Planning comments may go unnoticed
Many comments submitted to Central Coast Council by residents on planning matters may be going unnoticed and unrecorded.
A recent application for the removal of three casuarina trees in Pearl Beach was posted on the Council's planning portal on the day it was approved.
Comments were submitted to the council via the independent Planning Alerts website and verified as "successfully delivered to the email server of Central Coast Council (Gosford)".
However, they were not acknowledged on the council's planning portal.
The portal showed the application for 34 Diamond Rd was completed on June 22 and approved the same day.
Mr Stephen Parsons submitted a comment: "A pity to rush the approval of such valuable trees. Inexorable demise of mature trees in Pearl Beach."
Another person commented: "Casuarina trees in Pearl Beach are a food source for black cockatoos and should be retained if possible. It is difficult to understand why three casuarina trees located at the rear of the property would need to be removed."
A third person commented: "These posts are a waste of time. The alert came out and next morning the tree removal was taking place. Why bother, if this was already approved?"
Ms Mary Knaggs from the Pearl Beach Environment Group replied: "I agree the system is a little flawed.
"Those making the comment usually do not realise it is too late.
"I am heartened that at least some people care enough about our environment even if sometimes it is too late.
"I am hoping the concern may make proponents and those with an approval role think twice before considering actions that are not in accordance with the requirements of the LEP guidelines or the DCP.
"More importantly they are actions that are gradually eroding the special bushland village character of Pearl Beach."
Another application, for a residential demolition at 13 Lurline St, Ettalong, was approved with a complying development certificate by a private certifier.
The council portal showed a "lodged" date of July 5 and an approval date of June 29, but it did not show a resident's request through the Planning Alerts website: "Please retain trees that are on site to provide homes for birds, and shade to cool the properties."
In another case, a construction certificate was issued by a private certifier for a secondary dwelling at 4 Veron Rd, Umina.
A comment was lodged but not shown on the council portal: "I cannot see any documents that relate to this DA.
"Will the trees be spared?
"We need these to support our birdlife and control the impacts of urban heat. Please save the trees."
The development application for the secondary dwelling was approved on December 12, four years ago.
Details of that application are still available on the council's planning portal, but no evidence exists on the portal that the comment was received or available to the public.
Website, 9 Jun 2021
DA12295, DA61705, DA53211, planningalerts.org.au