Maitland City Council will not support the State Emergency Service in its move to have more say on development applications and planning.
The SES announced last week that it would push to have legal authority granted to become a part of the planning and development approval process.
This would mean the SES could brief local councils, such as Maitland, about storm and flood risks.
But both Maitland City Council general manager David Evans and mayor Cr Peter Blackmore have shutdown the idea.
“I think if council has to go to the SES for advice it becomes another step, which could delay an application,” Cr Blackmore said.
“Any development application is out there for public comment and the SES is more than able to have a say then.”
Cr Blackmore said while he did not want to add further complications to the planning process, he did agree with one statement from NSW SES Assistant Commissioner Mark Morrow, about the standard of one in 100 year flood level.
“I agree there is a misconception in the community about one in 100,” Cr Blackmore said.
“They think it is one chance in 100 storms, or one chance in 100 years, but it’s not.
“This has been the standard for a number of years and it is set by the state government
“If the SES wants change, I think they should call on their technical people to put together a submission and go to the state minister for planning and state their case.”
“But it should be the whole state, not just Maitland.”
Council general manager David Evans said all local decisions on planning were informed by the state guidelines for building in flood-prone areas.
He said council decisions were informed by a flood standard or flood planning level.
This included the adoption of the 1 per cent or one in 100 year flood level as standard, which he considered to be the most commonly adopted flood standard in the state.
“This standard is used to essentially draw the line below which new residential development should not occur, and provides a basis for considered and responsible planning decisions,” Mr Evans said.
“It is a matter for the state government as to whether the SES should be involved in this process.
“However, there would be very few circumstances in which SES comment on an individual development application would be warranted; particularly where the flood standard has been a consideration in the rezoning of land.”