Planning and Development Disputes

Uninhabited areas of land within cities are often targeted for planning and development projects, which typically include the construction of residential and commercial buildings, or existing infrastructure changes and improvements. For instance, an abandoned factory might be revived as a multi-use residential community. A part of the bay could be reclaimed for the construction of shopping centres and condominiums. These projects provide revenue not only for the developer, but also for the location at large. However, this can cause planning and development disputes.

Development projects can disrupt the quality of life for existing communities in the surroundings and damage the environment. A new, residential site could increase noise, traffic and air pollution, while new shopping centres could destroy the bay and wildlife that depend on it. Land reclamation is another common cause of conflict in communities. The projects can thereby encounter opposition from residents, environmental associations, and other stakeholders in the community. Project developers may find themselves facing multiple disputes, as each stakeholder voices their opinion on the project at hand.

Development projects typically undergo review and approval from the local government or council before the work is initiated. This includes submitting an environmental impact review or assessment to prove to the council that it will not damage the natural surroundings. The council may approve the project, provided it follows certain guidelines. For a builder seeking to construct a building near a creek, a local council may require the plan to include a drainage system that discharges water properly. If drainage becomes an issue, the builder and local council may find themselves at conflict. It’s also quite common for communities to raise project issues to the local council prior to commencement in efforts to prevent any future issues.

Planning and development projects can be a win-win when early consultation helps resolve many matters of contention and satisfies the interests of the community, the government and those of the developer. At SHAW Dispute Resolution (DR), we can offer the opportunity for developers, residents, local associations and other stakeholders to communicate their perspective of a dispute, with a view to an agreed outcome, stemming from any of the following:

  • Local councils and building permits
  • Local government
  • Owner-builders’ responsibilities
  • Clubs and associations
  • Infrastructure changes
  • Land use
  • Disputes involving vegetation and trees
  • Environmental damage and waste
  • Coastal protection
  • Nature conservation
  • Air and water pollution
  • Resources and energy
  • Tourism and hospitality
  • Trade practices

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Thank you to Ali and your team for your prompt actions in organising the mediation. I have received amazing feedback from those involved about Ali’s calming but methodical approach to ensuring that everyone had the opportunity to be heard, raise their concerns and come up with solutions.  I am confident that with Ali’s help we have put in place a plan for future success. Thanks again for helping us work through the issues and get this great outcome for all.

Tori, People Vision (for Skycity)

November 2018