GRIFFITH City Council has been forced to review its development regulations after at least two multimillion-dollar investors chose to take their business elsewhere.
Griffith’s development application system has come under fire after a chicken producer chose to take its developments to Leeton and Carrathool shires – which offered a cheaper deal.
Council director of sustainable development Neil Southorn said his committee was currently debating options surrounding Section 94a, which requires developers to pay a 1 per cent levy to council to fund community facilities such as the library, aquatic centre and the regional theatre.
“We’re definitely reviewing the impact that contribution has and we’re actively debating with the committee of council,” Mr Southorn said. “But we are confident there will be more proposals through the door, given the demand for chickens.”
Mr Southorn said council was looking at other options for developers, including cutting the levy percentage, introducing a maximum cap, allowing developers to do work in kind or scrapping the section altogether.
“We have sought economic modelling to determine the financial implications of cutting the levy altogether,” he said.
“But there are developments like at Baiada and Railway Street, which are occurring with the 1 per cent levy in place.”
Griffith Business Chamber president Paul Pierotti has accused council of being “short-sighted” – where planners should be doing everything in their power to attract development to the city.
“Council needs to wake up and realise this community is in dire need of economic stimulus,” Mr Pierotti said.
“They’re too short-sighted with rules and regulations and with the hefty charges, investment goes elsewhere.”
To keep Griffith competitive with other councils, Mr Pierotti said Section 94a needed to be removed altogether or drastically cut.
“Matching is not good enough, we need to go one step further and remove it altogether,” he said.
“Council needs to wake up and move into the real world of business.”