Ballina approvals under microscope

By DAWN COHEN

THE STATE Government has ordered a review of the way Ballina Shire Council assesses development applications, it was announced yesterday.

Local Government Department executive officer, Robert Bulford will analyse how the council responds to developer requests to alter building conditions already approved. Eight Sydney councils and six regional councils also are coming under the State Government microscope of Section 96 applications ? the procedure by which developers can alter limitations placed on council-approved plans.

"We are not suggesting there is a problem with Ballina or any of the other councils," a department spokesperson said.

"We have chosen councils that process a high number of development applications."

Ballina Shire Council considers about 1000 to 1200 development applications a year.

In 2004, 147 applications were made asking council to re-examine its response to a development application.

"I am pleased that Ballina has been selected," mayor Phil Silver said.

"It will give us external feedback on our procedures."

The department has submitted 43 questions for consideration prior to Mr Bulford's visit on May 11.



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