SUTHERLAND Shire Council has employed more staff to process a flood of development applications once the new local environmental plan (LEP) is gazetted.
However, mayor Kent Johns warned there would still be delays because of an expected "unprecedented volume" of applications.
The planning blueprint, which will shape development in the shire for the next 10 years, is still being considered by the state government five months after the council approved the third and final version.
At the time, the council hoped it would take effect by the end of 2014.
Councillor Johns said "a sharp increase" in the number of development applications was expected once the LEP was gazetted.
"Local architects have also indicated that they have a large number of applications fully prepared and waiting to be lodged," he said.
"To prepare for the expected increase, council has recruited additional staff and put in place a number of measures.
"Some short-term delays are still expected as the change in volume will be unprecedented.
"However, council expects that under the new LEP many applications will comply and should therefore have an easier path through the assessment process."
A new Masters Home Improvement store proposed for Kirrawee is dependent on a rezoning in the new LEP.
Masters, which is jointly owned by Woolworths and US company Lowe's, has plans for a huge hardware, building supplies and garden centre at the corner of Bath Road and Waratah Street, a block from the existing Bunnings Warehouse.
The new development is proposed for a site owned by car dealer Ferdi Dominelli’s’s family company.
A Masters spokesman said the company ‘‘looks forward to bringing a new store to Kirrawee and providing local customers with more choice and great prices in the local hardware market’’.
‘‘The new store will create more than 300 local retail and construction jobs, and will have a team of more than 100 ongoing retail staff once open,’’ he said.
‘‘We continue to work through the planning process with our landlord and the council, and hope to be ready to open in time for Christmas 2016.’’
The nearest Masters store to Sutherland Shire at present is at Chullora.
A NEW MODEL
The LEP took several years to prepare and was exhibited three times over 18 months.
A total of 4901 submissions were received, including 1350 as a result of the final exhibition.
An independent inquiry, established by the state government, supported the ‘‘thrust’’ of the document, while recommending a raft of changes.
SETBACK FOR WOOLIES
WOOLWORTHS has not given up hopes for a $24 million supermarket development at Kirrawee, despite the council’s rejection.
It is not known whether the new LEP could influence its next move in trying to develop a site in Flora Street, opposite the brick pit development.
Woolworths is believed to have bought six properties, occupied by old factories and workshops, for its intended project in the belief that the council would give it the ‘‘green light’’.
However, on April 3, 2014, the council refused the development application on the recommendation of a joint regional planning panel (JRPP) which found the proposal had ‘‘significant shortcomings’’.
Woolworths had 12 months in which to lodge an application with the council, seeking a review of the decision or appeal to the Land and Environment Court.
A council spokeswoman said no appeals had been received and all appeal and review rights had lapsed.
A Woolworths spokesman said: ‘‘We are continuing to review our plans for the Flora Street site as we look to bring more choice, convenience and a great range of products to local supermarket shoppers.’’
Woolworths had hoped to open at Kirrawee ahead of rival Coles and Aldi which will be tenants in the $350million brick pit project.
Has the delay affected your building plans in the shire?