Stop the rot

If there is one thing that the ICAC hearings into the relationships between a small number of property developers and politicians suggests to me, it is that the people in NSW need a right to third party merit appeals against development approvals.   Most development consents have no third party merit appeal rights, only judicial review for legal error.  So long as the consent authority follows procedure in the decision-making process, then there are no appeal rights, even if they make a bad decision on merit considerations.   Yet it is the merit considerations where the impacts on a community lie.   Also, it must be kept in mind that unless a development consent is time limited, and very few are, then the consent lasts forever.   The primary argument against third party merit appeals is that it adds time and cost to the development process.  For mine, I would rather see the best decision reached.   Given what we are currently hearing out of ICAC, I am not sure that as a community we can be confident that we are getting the best decisions where politicians are the decision makers and they are receiving tens of thousands of dollars from developers.   For mine, I think the time has come for third party merit appeal...

Don’t let your Development Consent Lapse!

You or your client could suffer significant financial losses if your development consent has not been lawfully commenced.   Being granted development consent may seem like the end of the journey for many property owners and developers. However, there are then critical steps to be taken to ensure that the development consent can be preserved or acted upon.   Whilst the law in relation to commencement has changed significantly in the last decade – from “substantial” to “physical” commencement – the fundamentals remain the same. Any works to commence development consent must be lawful.   I have advised and acted on many matters concerning lawful commencement. In one case, I acted for a developer who secured a declaration from the Land and Environment Court for the lawful commencement of consent for a residential flat building, thereby preserving a consent worth several million dollars.   If you or a client have a development consent that is close to lapsing or you believe you have lawfully commenced but need verification, why not give me a...

Dogs & the Law

There are over 1.2 million dogs in NSW. The connection between dogs and humans is a beautiful and complex relationship that can sometimes go wrong for many reasons. The Companion Animals Act and Regulation set the regulatory framework for the keeping of dogs in NSW. There are significant penalties, the most significant being for a dog attack in circumstances where the dog is a dangerous dog, a menacing dog or a restricted dog with the maximum penalty being $77,000 and the potential to be jailed for up to 5 years. In other words, the government believe these are very serious criminal offences that should punished accordingly. Over the years, I have been involved in a significant number of prosecutions and appeals concerning dogs. I argued in the first instance, and on remitter, the most significant precedent for these types of matters – Council of the City of Lake Macquarie v Wayne Jeffrey Morris [2005] NSWSC 387 (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/nsw/NSWSC/2005/387.html). If you or someone you know have been served with any paperwork or even a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) in relation to your dog or other animal, there may be serious implications that you should be aware of before deciding how to...

The Inaugural Long Legal Blog

It has been an interesting journey to get to the point of writing this, my first blog.  Whilst Long Legal is only a few months old, it has taken 25 years to get here. This started with studying Urban & Regional Planning at UNE in Armidale commencing in 1989 as a 17 year old.  I went on to work as a Town Planner in the private and public sector doing Strategic and Development Assessment work.  I also had the privilege of appearing as an expert witness in the Land & Environment Court. Then came Law at Macquarie University in Sydney and a stint as Corporate Lawyer for one of the largest councils in the state as well as being Principal at Law & Planning. Over the years, I have had the pleasure to work with some exceptional professionals who became great mentors.  I have also made many lifelong friendships.  There are so many people to thank for being here that if I list names, I am sure to miss several.  So instead, thank you to everyone for helping me make this happen. Blog on!...