Hornsby Shire Council will write to the chair of the Hornsby Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP), asking that the decision-making section of the meetings be made open to the public.
IHAPs have replaced local councils across Sydney in the assessment and determination of development applications.
At the first Hornsby IHAP meeting in March the panel listened to submissions from members of the public, then retired to private chambers to discuss and decide upon the applications.
The panel’s decisions were made public the following morning.
“There is already considerable unease within the community about development applications being taken out of the hands of the locally elected council,” Hornsby Shire Mayor Philip Ruddock said.
“It is in the interests of all parties to make the process as transparent as possible.”
The motion was proposed by Councillor Janelle McIntosh, who shared the concerns of many in the audience at the first IHAP meeting.
“Council has always publicly debated the applications we have decided upon and it seems appropriate that the IHAP do the same,” Cr McIntosh said.
The IHAP operational directions give the panel the option of holding its deliberations in public or in closed session.