THE City of Melbourne should consider introducing submitter's meetings to help resolve planning conflicts and avoid councillors having to make decisions "on the fly", the council's new deputy planning chair Stephen Mayne (pictured) has said.
Ideas to reform planning in the City of Melbourne are set to be discussed this week, including a plan that would see contentious developments automatically referred to the full city council.
Cr Mayne said he was meeting with City of Melbourne planning portfolio chair Ken Ong, Greens councillor Rohan Leppert and council planning staff to discuss possible planning reforms.
He said he wanted to discuss introducing submitter's meetings with planning applicants, objectors, councillors and council staff to help resolve conflicts before applications went to council committee meetings for a decision.
He said this could help prevent the deferral of planning applications.
"The biggest thing I'm keen to avoid is making decisions on the fly," Cr Mayne said.
Melbourne councillors now have the power to call in planning applications to go before the full council, but Cr Mayne said he also wanted to discuss a set of criteria where applications would be referred automatically.
He said such criteria could include the development's cost and size and the number of objections lodged.
"No one is saying the system is broken, but the new council now has the opportunity to look at the planning process."
North and West Melbourne Association president Kevin Chamberlin said the council had to do more than "tinker around the edges" to fix planning.
"Council staff and councillors essentially have these powers now, they should use them more often," Mr Chamberlin said.
He said the council's focus should be on the City of Melbourne's new structure plans for the inner north.
"They are not addressing the serious strategic planning issues that have emerged as a result of the flawed Arden-Macaulay and City North Structure plans," Mr Chamberlin said.