*** UPDATE 12 March 2016: The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has rejected the Milestone proposal. Read the article here.
Late last year Milestone Pty Ltd (Aldi) put a proposal to the Ku-ring-gai council to rezone the old garden centre site on the corner of Tennyson Avenue and Eastern Road so that it could build a new Aldi store along with some small retail stores.
That proposal was rejected by council on December 8th stating that it was inconsistent with “A Plan for Growing Sydney” and that it was inconsistent with Ku-ring-gai’s local growth strategy.
The full council analysis is here.
But wait, there’s more
As soon as its application was rejected, The Department of Planning and Environment received a “Pre-Gateway Review” submission from Milestone consisting of the same documents supplied to council and refused by them.
A Pre-Gateway Review allows developers to ask for a review of unfavourable council rezoning decisions. There are costs of a $5000 application fee, and then another $15,000 should the appeal be granted.
Pre-Gateway reviews were introduced in 2012 by the O’Farrell government as a means for developers to oppose negative decisions on their proposals. Some have suggested that it is a way for developers to bypass council decisions.
So how long does a Pre-Gateway Review take?
According to The Department of Planning, the average time for a pre-gateway review is 167 days (5½ months). Assuming that Milestone submitted the documents to The Department of Planning and Environment on the day that council rejected the submission, we can expect to see some decisions emerge at the end of May 2016.
What is the likelihood of success for Aldi?
By June 2015, 75 pre-gateway reviews have been submitted, with 56% being successful. So there is a reasonable chance of success.
There are many people that are favourable to Aldi building a store as it will supply convenience to local shoppers and jobs to the area. However, there are also many people strongly opposed to the decision saying that it will be disruptive to traffic and inconsistent with the local environment.