Although the governance project applies only to boards, the draft practice notice contains guidelines for “planning authorities” in general, including the Minister of Planning and other agencies such as Transport for NSW. We therefore expect that the draft practice notice, if adopted, will be followed in the future by the Department of Planning, Industry and the Environment when negotiating the VPA on behalf of the Minister. The NSW government has published an updated draft policy framework for planning agreements, which contains an updated practical note (draft practical opinion) and a proposal for ministerial leadership. Once adopted, councils should pay attention to the draft practical opinion when negotiating voluntary planning agreements (VPAs). While the draft exercise retains many aspects of the existing practice note, there are some notable changes. In addition, a “planning authority” is designated either by a board, by the minister, by a ministerial corporation, or by an authority designated as a public authority under the regulations. The draft framework was initially issued in early 2017 and submissions were received with varied and complex feedback. Policies were reviewed in response to these opinions to review the recommendations of the kaldas review and align them with current policies and practices. The Department requests information on an updated policy framework for planning agreements. Planning agreements are a tool to provide innovative or complex infrastructure and non-profit outcomes. As a result, the draft practical opinion can be significantly weighted by municipal councils when negotiating planning agreements with developers.
This can pose problems for developers in cases where the draft practical opinion puts more emphasis on planning agreements that are compatible with and complement strategic land use and infrastructure policies and other contribution programs. While these objectives have advantages, they can, by their very nature, lead to risks of delay and less flexibility in planning agreements. Planning authorities, and in particular councils, should issue guidelines and procedures for the implementation of voluntary planning agreements, and the establishment of a VPA (or possible revocation or modification) may be recorded in the field. Section 93 (H) of the EP-A Act stipulates that a planning contract thus registered under the Act is mandatory for each owner from time to time in the land, as if he had entered into the planning contract himself. They are closed when a proponent has requested a modification of an environmental planning instrument or has submitted (or is proposing) a development application. The VPA is concluded between the proponent and a planning authority (or two or more planning authorities) and implies that the developer makes a contribution to the development to provide a public benefit in the development. Management`s draft does not apply to APVs that have already been the subject of a public notice, but to all VPAs under negotiation and have not yet been issued at the time of the publication of the instruction. This may delay the completion of partially negotiated VPAs if they need to be amended in light of the draft practice notice. The draft practice notice also indicates that planning authorities may consider the draft practical notice when completing the VP already issued, whereas the management`s project does not require it. The current VPa practice note dates back to 2005 (practical note 2005), when the VPA regime was first introduced.
The NSW government published an updated project in November 2016 (Project 2016) to create a fairer and more transparent framework for the VPA, but this project has never been finalized.