Not good enough on zombie DAs

Ward 1 Liberal Blue Mountains City Councillor Kevin Schreiber made an urgent plea for council to write again to the Minister for Planning to investigate decades old development approvals.

Two development applications - both decades old - have been revived at the council this year- a 1989 DA for a wildlife park on the highway at Wentworth Falls and a 20-year-old development application to build a 120-room hotel on bushland near the old Katoomba golf course.

Cr Schreiber wants Planning Minister Rob Stokes to do more about it - making developers finish their work sooner.

At the July council meeting, Cr Schreiber raised an urgency motion referring to correspondence recently received by council from Minister Stokes's office.

He was particularly concerned by comments from the office that specified that council's concerns about the consents were being addressed because "the Act provides for such situations by enabling councils to issue the owner of the relevant land a development control order to complete the works within a specified time."

Cr Schreiber said the minister must ensure the Act makes applicants do substantial work within three years and complete the work within five.

"We've got to get it more precise," Cr Schreiber said.

Council endorsed the urgency motion at the Tuesday, July 30 council meeting.

"These DAs should be resubmitted for further approval under current LEPs, noting that some of these are now likely up for sale at a much higher profit than when the DA was first lodged, which looks like land banking into the future," he told the council.

"In most cases residents in the area of these such properties would have no idea this was going to happen in the area they now live."

He said the historical development consents needed to be compatible with current planning standards.

Kevin Schreiber: The ward 1 Liberal Blue Mountains councillor continues to campaign on "zombie DAs" . Pictured at the proposed hotel site.

Kevin Schreiber: The ward 1 Liberal Blue Mountains councillor continues to campaign on "zombie DAs" . Pictured at the proposed hotel site.

Ray White Commercial is seeking expressions of interest to buy the 16,840 square metre block in Katoomba near the old golf course. It is advertised as a DA-approved hotel on land zoned medium density residential.

The deal also offers an alternate 40-townhouse development, subject to council approval. Expressions of interest closed last week. According to real estate websites, the land at 142-150 Narrow Neck Road last sold in 2004, for $1.4 million.

Farshad Amirbeaggi, a solicitor director with Yates Beaggi Lawyers, is acting on behalf of an unnamed developer client on the wildlife park site at Wentworth Falls. He said the plan is for a $30 million dollar "five to six star" wildlife park development with 40 hotel rooms.