Feb 222012

Issue raised by residents.

During the VCAT Directions Hearing on the 6th Feb. a representative for residents pointed out the inconsistent with the development cost estimates submitted by the Applicant (developer). The developer’s Planning Application submitted to Council in 2011 estimated the development cost as $9.5M. The developer’s Major Case List application submitted to VCAT Jan. 1012 estimated the development cost over $12M.

This is an important point because the VCAT Major Case List eligibility criteria for residential development starts at $10.0M, and the estimated development cost is usually based Planning Application submitted to Council.

VCAT order.

VCAT ordered the Applicant to explain the variation and provide an explanation for the increase in the estimate of the development cost.

Applicant’s (developer’s) response.

After 7 days the Applicant submitted to VCAT the following, a letter from a quantity surveyor confirming the applicants estimate.

Click here for their letter and cost estimates.

Our issue with applicant’s response.

The estimate is not an independent and sworn estimate by a quantity surveyor, only a quantity surveyor’s letter confirming the developers own estimates are ‘reasonable’. Nor does it explain the variance. Additionally, it provides a third estimate of $11.3M matching neither the Planning Application or Major Case List estimates.

Our letter to VCAT.

The Resident objectors request that the Applicant be required to comply with the Practice Note – PNPE8 as outlined below.

The practice note for the Major Cases List ‘PNPE8 – Major Cases List‘ defines the ‘estimated cost of development’ as:

“the estimated cost of the development for which the permit or permit amendment is required, but does not include items such as land value, contingency fees or holding costs, consultants’ or architects ‘fees, the value of any material to be extractedfrom the land as part of the use or development, development levies or contributions or other items not directly related to the cost of construction or carrying out of the proposed buildings or works or subdivision.”

“Informing its view about the estimated cost of the development, the Tribunal will generally use the monetary figure specified in the planning permit application. A permit applicant or permit holder may be required to submit proof of the cost of development (such as a sworn valuation from a quantity surveyor) at the practice day hearing to substantiate any difference between that stated in the planning permit application and that specified in the application to the Tribunal.”

I request that VCAT direct the Applicant to provide sworn evidence explaining the escalation in the estimated construction costs between the lodging of the planning permit with the Council and the filing of the Application with VCAT. In the absence of satisfactory evidence being provided, the Residents request that the Application be removed from the Major Cases List.

Click here for copy of our letter.

Why are we doing this?

The developer wants to be included on the VCAT Major Case List rather than the regular VCAT hearing list for the obvious benefits of an expedited hearing. But based on his Planning Application he does not meet the necessary Major Case List criteria. He should be held accountable to comply with the tribunal rules, and comply with tribunal orders. We do not think his case meets the VCAT Major Case List criteria and should not receive expedited treatment.

 Posted by at 6:38 pm

  2 Responses to “VCAT Order and Correspondence: Estimated development costs.”

  1. You are all doing a great job and congratulations for all your hard work. Residents need to stick together with developments such as these.

  2. Congratulations on the action you are taking – it is a sign that the residents cannot be taken for granted, and that the developer cannot manipulate the process regardless of his financial resources.

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