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What is the CIHAP?

On 19 May 2016, the Administrator of Cumberland City Council resolved to establish an independent assessment panel, known as the Cumberland Council Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (CIHAP), to provide transparency and probity in the assessment of development applications (DA’s) and planning proposals, and to provide an independent forum for stakeholders (applicants, the community and objectors) to present and discuss issues relating to development applications and planning proposals.
The CIHAP is a panel comprising of a pool of planning/urban design experts that are independent of Council, a community representative and a legal chairperson. They provide additional and independent rigor in the assessment process without unnecessarily delaying the processing of applications and planning proposals which comply with adopted policies.
The Panel replaces the Council in determining developments that exceed the staff delegation and review planning proposals (rezonings) which will help streamline the planning process.

In the future it also means that Councillors will no longer be involved in the decision-making process for determining those DAs, allowing them more time to focus on strategic planning issues, such as the planning controls that underpin DA decisions.
Panel members
The Panel members are independent of Council and are listed as follows:

Chairperson: Hon Paul Stein QC, AM

Alternate Chairperson: Julie Walsh
Independent Experts: 
Stuart McDonald 
Brian McDonald 
Brian Kirk 
Gabrielle Morrish 
Community Representatives:
Paul Moulds AM
Martin Byrne

The Panel members will be introduced at the meeting. The quorum for a meeting of the Panel is three members. Council staff will attend to provide technical advice on Council’s controls or answer questions if required.

The report on the Development Applications is prepared by Council’s Development Assessment Manager and the report for Planning Proposals by the Manager of Strategic Planning. These reports are for consideration of the Panel and include a full assessment of the application/proposal, the objections made and a recommendation.

When and where are meetings held?

The CIHAP will typically meet on the first Wednesday of each month and are held at the Council Chambers, Civic Precinct, 1 Susan Street, Auburn or 16 Memorial Avenue, Merrylands.
How is this CIHAP different to the current development application process?
Under an CIHAP structure, Councillors will no longer decide the outcome of these applications, instead they are referred to the CIHAP for consideration and determination.
How is this CIHAP different to the current planning proposal process?
All Planning Proposals where considered by Council and determined by the State Government. Under an CIHAP structure, Councillors will be better informed having an independent body review and make a recommendation on these important strategic documents. 
Who can attend CIHAP meetings?

All members of our community are welcome to attend.
How can I address a CIHAP meeting?

If you wish to address the Panel regarding an item on the agenda, you must first register by either email  or fax with Council on 9735 1222 by 12 noon on the day prior to the meeting.

Submissions by the applicant and objectors will be considered at the meeting. An objector is deemed to be a person who has made a written submission about the application.

The Panel shall, upon request, hear submissions from persons who identify prior to a meeting that they wish to make a submission to be considered by the Panel.

Unless the Panel otherwise permits, no resident, objector, applicant or supporter who addresses the Panel at any meeting of the Panel may speak for more than 3 minutes in respect of any one matter before any particular meeting.

If you address the Panel, your name will be included in the minutes of the meeting unless you request that it not be included.

Where there are a large number of persons making submissions with common interests, the Panel shall have the discretion to hear a representative of those persons.
Types of development applications referred to the Panel

Applications to be Determined under Delegated Authority to determine Development Applications in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and council’s policies, except as follows:
  1. Applications subject to unresolved 2 objections;
  2. Major development on Council’s property;
  3. Where the applicant or owner is a Councillor or member of staff;
  4. Where the General Manager has requested, or Administrator has requested in writing or a Council resolution requires that the application be referred to Council or appropriate Committee of Council;
  5. Where the application involves a variation to a development standard contained within the Local Environmental Plans and where there is a significant impact associated with the proposed variation as determined by Manager Development Assessment / Services and / or Director Environmental Planning Services / Executive Manager Planning;
  6. Where the applicant has proposed to enter into a Voluntary Planning Agreement in conjunction with the development application;
  7. Any application which the Administrator, General Manager, Deputy General Manager or Director Environmental Planning Services / Executive Manager Planning considers should be brought before the Council.

    Note 1: Council’s Development Control Plans are to be applied in a manner consistent with that prescribed under Section 79C (3A) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

    Note 2: Unresolved objection is an objection that is considered by Manager Development Assessment / Services and Director Environmental Planning Services / Executive Manager Planning or their delegate to have planning merit, relevance, substance, reasonableness and validity and which has not been or cannot be addressed by the imposition of condition of consent.

    Types of planning proposals referred to the Panel

    All Strategic Planning Proposals shall be referred to the CIHAP for a recommendation to Council.
    How will the meetings be run?

    The CIHAP public meeting will commence at 11.30am and all registered persons will be invited to speak. A decision and minutes of the meeting will be provided on Council’s website detailing reasons and conclusions for decisions and a record of voting.

    The CIHAP panel will prior to the meeting inspect the sites subject of the meeting.

    The Agenda

    The details of matters on the agenda are posted to this website and available to the public 5 days before the scheduled meeting.

    Meeting Minutes

    The Minutes of each meeting are posted to this website as soon as they are completed, usually on the day of the meeting. They are also included with the business paper for the next meeting.