Why is it so difficult to get an Planning Approval?

I have been at this game for 15 years and I must admit there are many many times I want to run for the hills or want to change careers and scrub toilets instead (i have the luxury of doing at times as I work from home).  This job requires balls which I am not well equipped with them but certainly have to act as though I have them.  It seems that logic and common sense does not exist in the planning approvals process and one need to rely heavily on manipulating the laws and policies or confrontation in order to convince them what is being proposed is not unreasonable and most times makes sense.  

I generally don’t take on a job I believe is not right for the community or the immediate neighbourhood and believe that many decision coming from Council’s are unjustified and just simply don’t make sense.  I suppose that is why the State Government has seen the need to take the decisions of major development applications ($3 million and up) away from Council and determining them through the Development Assessment Panels.  Previously the State Administration Tribunal took care of those that were willing to pay for a reasonable decision based on policies and law rather than emotive issues.

I have heard many cases where decisions were made to pre-empt what the Council would decide on an application.  Many planners from Local Government rarely go onsite to see what is being proposed.  Getting a look at the proposal from a real perspective is imperative to make good planning decisions.   Many as i have experienced base their decision on outdated aerial photography and 2d plans.  

I know when i was at University i was never really taught out to read a Town Planning Scheme nor understand how to interpret the Residential Design Codes.  I could certainly know how to write them.  However writing a policy or legislation is very different to actually using one.

We probably need more training for Local Government Officers in understanding the laws and policies they are using.

Anyway I best get back to work.. more people to help get through the maze of planning approvals process.

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