Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Location:            Lot 22 Munbinea Road, Hill River
Applicant:          Solar Farms Jurien Bay Pty Ltd (on lease from K Loveland)
Folder Path:        Development Services Apps / Development Application / 2013 / 44
Disclosure of Interest:   None
Date:         10 September 2013
Author:      David Chidlow, Manager of Planning
Signature of Author:
Senior Officer:       Ian Rennie, Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Signature of Senior Officer:
The proponent is seeking planning approval for a 5 megawatt photovoltaic (PV) solar power generating facility at Lot 22 Munbinea Road, Hill River.
Solar Farm Jurien Bay Pty Ltd is a joint venture between EMC Solar Construction Pty Ltd and Group T-Solar and would like to develop a solar project in the Shire of Dandaragan. The 5 megawatt installation will cover approx. 10-12 hectares of land and is a part of a broader roll-out of solar farms across the Wheatbelt region.
The solar farm installed in the Shire of Dandaragan will generate 8.76 gigawatt hours per annum, offsetting 6,570 tonnes of carbon and will be sufficient to power approximately 1500 homes each year.
EMC has also developed a solar energy trial at the CBH grain handling facility in Moora where competing PV panel technology is being trialled as a potential clean energy solution for the cooperatives’ 4,500+ members.
The solar panels installed will be fixed structures. Each individual solar panel installed will have dimensions of approximately 4 x 4 x 4 metres including foundations.
The WAPC granted a lease on portion of Lot 22 for the purpose of “Solar farm” on the 22 March 2012.

The subject land is currently zoned  ‘Rural ‘ under the Shire’s Local Planning Scheme No. 7 (LPS7). The adjoining land uses are also zoned ‘Rural’  with the exception of the adjacent lot to the north which comprises of a Nature Reserve.
The proposed PV solar power facility is a use not listed under the LPS7 Zoning Table. As a use not listed, in accordance with Clause 4.4.2 of the Scheme, Council is to either:
a) Determine that the use is consistent with the objectives of the particular zone and is therefore permitted;
b) Determine that the use may be consistent with the objectives of the particular zone and thereafter follow the advertising procedures of clause 9.4 in considering an application for planning approval; or
c) Determine that the use is not consistent with the objectives of the particular zone and is therefore not permitted.
When considering an application in accordance with Clause 4.4.2 of the Scheme, the Shire is to have due regard to the relevant matters stated under Clause 10.2 of the Scheme. They are as follows:
a) The aims and provisions of the Scheme and any other relevant local planning schemes operating within the Scheme area;
e) Any relevant policy or strategy of the Commission and any relevant policy adopted by the Government of the State;
f) Any Local Planning Policy adopted by the local government under clause 2.4, any heritage policy statement for a designated heritage area adopted under clause 7.2.2, and any other plan or guideline adopted by the local government under the Scheme;
i) The compatibility of a use or development within its setting;
l) The likely effect of the proposal on the natural environment and any means that are proposed to protect or to mitigate impacts on the natural environment;
n) The preservation of the amenity of the locality;
o) The relationship of the proposal to development on adjoining land or on other land in the locality including but not limited to, the likely effect of the height, bulk, scale, orientation and appearance of the proposal;
p) Whether the proposed means of access to and egress from the site are adequate and whether adequate provision has been made for the loading, unloading, manoeuvring and parking of vehicles;
q) The amount of traffic likely to be generated by the proposal, particularly in relation to the capacity of the road system in the locality and the probable effect on a traffic flow and safety;
y) Any relevant submissions received on the application;
z) The comments or submissions received from any authority consulted under clause 10.1.1.
The aims and provisions of the Scheme for the subject lot address the objective of the Rural zone as follows:
“to provide for a range of rural activities such as broadacre and diversified farming so as to retain the rural character and amenity of the locality, in such a way as to prevent land degradation and further loss of biodiversity”.
As solar farms are a relatively new development venture in Western Australia, no state or local policy has been developed on this issue, therefore, references shall be extracted from the Western Australian Planning Commission’s (WAPC) Planning Bulletin No 67- Guidelines for Wind Farm Development, as suggested through correspondence from a Department of Planning (DoP) Officer, which suggests:

“Rural, non-rural and similar zones, local governments shouldconsider wind farm proposals under the provisions of Clause 4.4.2(b) of the Model Scheme text”.
The Shire’s Local Planning Strategy (Strategy) is the only relevant plan for such a proposal which supports the development as stated in Objective 4 of section of the Strategy:
“Support appropriate non-rural uses where they are compatible with adjoining and nearby rural uses, environmental attributes and landscape to complement the primary productive use of the land where a site contains remnant vegetation and other environmental features or lacks realistic potential for agricultural use the Council will consider the proposed non-rural uses as the predominant use on its merits”.
Objective 3 under the Strategy for “Rural” zones states:
“Required proposals for non-agricultural uses to be supported and justified by an agricultural impact assessment unless otherwise varied by the Council”.
Under the Strategy, Council may refuse an application for planning consent where in its opinion the proposed development will:
1. Adversely affect the rural landscape;
2. Adversely impact upon the agricultural use of the land and adjoining/nearby areas;
3. Cause detrimental environmental impacts;
4. Result in unacceptable fire management risk;
5. Place unacceptable servicing requirements which have not been appropriately addressed by the applicant;

6. Result in impacts which cannot be adequately contained on the application site; and
7. In the opinion of the Council will result in an undesirable planning outcome and will be contrary to the orderly and proper planning of the locality.
It is considered that the solar farm will not affect the rural landscape or its agricultural pursuit, as it is comparatively a small portion of the rural lot to be utilised for the project.
The PV panels are designed and engineered to collect and absorb sunlight and not to reflect it, alleviating concern with glare and reflection. Generally solar panels reflect in the order of 4% of incoming light compared to vehicle windows which reflect around 8% of incoming light, therefore will not introduce any additional risk at ground level or air traffic in the vicinity.
Given the above information, it is the Planning Officers recommendation that Council grant approval with conditions.
·         Adjoining landowners
·         Department of Planning
·         Department of Environment Regulation
·         Department of Parks and Wildlife (Geraldton and Jurien Bay Offices)
·         Air Services Australia
·         Civil Aviation Safety Authority
·         Main Roads Western Australia
One submission was received from a neighbouring landowner concerned about the visibility of the solar panels from their farm dwelling. The submitter requested further information on contours, this information was provided.
·         Local Planning Scheme No 7
·         Local Planning Strategy ¡V Rural Land Use and Rural Settlement
There are no policy implications relevant to this item.
The applicant has paid a sum of $1,600.
·         Shire of Dandaragan Local Planning Strategy ¡V Rural Land Use and Rural Settlement.
Circulated with the agenda are the following items relevant to this report:
·         Application (Doc Id: 15169)
·         Plans and details (Doc Id: 15170) (Marked 9.4.2)
Simple majority
That Council determines that the use “Solar Photovoltaic Facility” is consistent with the objectives of the “Rural” zone and is therefore permitted under section 4.4.2 of the Shire of Dandaragan Local Planning Scheme No.7 and grant planning approval for a proposed 5MW Solar Photovoltaic Facility at Lot 22 Munbinea Road, Hill River subject to the following conditions:
1. All development shall accord with the attached plan(s) and specifications dated 12 July 2013 and subject to any modifications required as a consequence of any condition(s) of this approval. The endorsed plans shall not be modified or altered without the prior written approval of the Shire;
2. This decision constitutes planning approval only and is valid for a period of two years from the date of approval. If the subject development is not substantially commenced within the two year period, the approval shall lapse and be of no further effect;
3. The Proponent shall, at the Proponent¡¦s expense, construct and drain an access driveway(s) from Munbinea Road to the property boundary to the satisfaction of the Shire of Dandaragan.
4. The Proponent shall prepare a Traffic Feasibility Study and Delivery Method Statement identifying any roads under the care and control of the Shire of Dandaragan that may form part of the transport route for products from the relevant port and / or local manufacturers to the site during the construction period. Any damage caused to that road(s) by the Proponent or the Proponent’s contractors shall be repaired at the Proponent’s expense to the satisfaction of the Shire of Dandaragan.
5. The Proponent shall prepare and implement a Management Plan, to the satisfaction of the Shire of Dandaragan, that;
a) Minimises the impact of the approved development on the amenity of the locality due to the transportation of materials to and from the site;
b) Details the temporary land uses, the built form of structures and the operation and management of those temporary uses;
c) Addresses the Proponents response to fire and emergency incidents;
d) Ensures the use of buildings, works and materials on the site do not generate unreasonable levels of noise, vibration, dust, drainage, wastewater, waste products or reflected light;
e) Manages weed and pest nuisances on the site and in the locality; and
f) Addresses the post construction operations of the site and the removal of temporary structures; and
6. Shire of Dandaragan is to be advised of completion of the solar facility.

Advice Notes:
·         The Proponent is to liaise with the local school bus operator to ensure these runs are not disturbed due to increased volumes of traffic during the construction phase.
·         Storage tanks should be fitted with BFB coupling or a standpipe installed to allow for fast flow.
·         Bulk water supply for fire suppression be made available to all Emergency Services within the Shire. Building Protection zones and Firebreaks will have to be adhered to.
·         The proponent may wish to consider providing greater than minimum fire mitigation strategies to protect against bush fire events.
·         This is planning approval only and a building permit for temporary and permanent structures must be obtained for this development prior to construction commencing.
·         All designs associated with the proposal are to comply with the requirements of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

·         Should the applicant be aggrieved by this decision, or any conditions imposed, there is a Right to Review under the Planning and Development Act 2005. An application for Review must be submitted in accordance with Part XIV of the Planning and Development Act within 28 days of the date of the decision to the State Administrative Tribunal, GPO Box U1991, PERTH WA 6845.