All too often clients bring us into the development process when they have encountered challenges or see no option other than to seek professional advice. It is at this stage they have spent copious amounts of unnecessary time and money that, in most instances, could have been easily avoided.
So, when is the best time to engage a Town Planner? During the feasibility of your project, whether it be a small residential subdivision or a large commercial development, is the optimal time to engage a professional.
We can determine early on if a project is worth the time and costs associated, as well as assisting a client in navigating the planning process and avoiding a State Administrative Tribunal appeal, commonly known as SAT appeal. However, if you are already well down the rabbit hole and required to lodge a SAT appeal our advice is to STOP and give us a call. Here is why!
Our team would coordinate the consultants on behalf of our clients, ensuring that all engaged parties are relevant to the application process and the issues raised are relevant to the project.
This process can get repetitive, and it is not uncommon for mediations to occur several times, with many set 4 – 6 weeks apart as a result of further investigations required to be undertaken in between and also to align with SAT’s availability.
Following mediation, SAT often require the decision maker to reconsider the decision being appealed and factor in any changes made to the application as part of the mediation process. If the mediation and reconsideration process cannot resolve the matter, a full hearing is scheduled, and this would likely be some 8 weeks following the reconsideration decision.
A full hearing, typically takes 1-3 days, would require a detailed list of issues to be dealt with and as a result, expert witness statements from the relevant expert/s.
In addition, depending on the complexity of the issue, it may be prudent to have a legal professional (e.g. planning lawyer) engaged to coordinate the appeal for the Applicant. It is often the case that the decision maker, being a government body, would have representation by a legal professional (e.g. State Solicitors Office).
All this results in time and cost!
SAT has up to 3 months to issue its decision on the matter, following a final hearing. It is rare to have the SAT issue its decision on the date of the hearing.
All in all, the above process could endure some 7-9 months from the start of an appeal to receiving a decision and can be costly in professional fees.
At Dynamic Planning, our experience with the tribunal is fundamental to a satisfactory outcome, whether that be winning or walking away. Sometimes it is more important to understand what is associated with winning and whether a changed result is worth the time and costs associated.
So, if you are facing a SAT appeal, whether it be commercial, residential, rural, or industrial, the only question you should be asking is: can I afford not to have an experienced planner in my corner?