Introduction

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Pikes & Verekers Lawyers has a long history of providing advice and Court representation in the areas of planning and environmental law. 

Our clients include local councils, statutory authorities, corporate and individual clients. 

We have extensive experience in all classes of the Land and Environment Court including Class 1 (development appeals), Class 4 (enforcement and judicial review) and Class 5 (prosecutions). 

We also regularly appear in environmental prosecutions in the Local Court. 

We aim to keep our clients out of Court as much as possible and have extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution including mediation and section 34 conferences in the Land and Environment Court.

Pikes & Verekers Lawyers has been named for two consecutive years as one of the leading planning law firms by Doyle's Guide to the Legal Profession.

Experience

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Class 1 Appeal – Residential Flat Development

    • Successfully obtained consent in respect of a 19 unit residential flat development. 

Class 1 Appeal – Canada Bay Council – Seniors Living Development on Flood Prone Land 

    • Successfully defended Council’s refusal of development applications for the construction of a seniors living development on flood prone land, and the demolition of the former Drummoyne RSL Club and construction of a mixed retail/residential development. 

Heritage Conservation 

    • Successfully defended a Class 1 appeal in the Land and Environment Court in respect of a development application seeking to demolish a contributory item in a heritage conservation area.

Class 1 Appeal – Leichhardt Council – Waterfront Land 

    •  Successfully defended proceedings in Class 1 of the Land and Environment Court in relation to Council’s refusal of a development application on a significant waterfront site in Balmain.

Class 1 Appeal – Mosman Council – Bulky Goods Retail 

    • Successfully defended a Class 1 appeal in the Land and Environment Court against Council’s refusal of a Dan Murphy’s liquor store.

Hotel in Sydney CBD 

    • Advised a hotel owner in relation to existing use rights, fire safety issues and unauthorised building work and have overseen the lodgement of a “without prejudice” development application and building certificate application to avoid the issuing of notices under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. 

Retirement Village in Sydney’s Hills District 

    • Acted for the holder of a development consent for a 100 plus villa retirement village, the validity of which was unsuccessfully challenged in Court proceedings.

Planning Agreement 

    • Advised a Western Sydney council in relation to a lengthy and complex planning agreement between the landowners, developers, council and the RMS involving more than $30m worth of road and other civil works in connection with a land release area.

Single Residential Dwelling 

    • Successfully obtaining approvals for the development of luxury single dwelling including a single property of 4000m² in the eastern suburbs of Sydney with significant issues raised as reasons for refusal.

Winten v North Sydney Council 

    • The pre-eminent case on the structure and interpretation of the State Environmental Planning Policy No.1: Winten Property Group Limited v North Sydney Council [2001] NSWLEC 46.  

Terrace Tower Holdings v Sutherland Shire Council

Class 1 Appeal – Challenge to Section 94 Contributions 

Judicial Review Proceeding – Gold Mine/Gold Ore Processing Plant 

    • Significant litigation on behalf of Parkes Shire Council defending modifications to a gold mine and gold ore processing centre consent, the proper characterisation of uses and the construction of section 96 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and relevant threshold tests when considering 30 year old development consents. 

Judicial Review Proceedings – Validity of Development Consent 

    • Significant judicial review litigation defending the validity of a major seniors living development consent in North Sydney on behalf of the Uniting Church: Amalgamated Holdings Ltd v North Sydney Council (2012) 191 LGERA 51.

Existing Use Rights – Declaratory Relief 

    • Class 4 declaratory relief proceedings on behalf of Mosman Council in respect of existing use rights applicable to a 1930s dual occupancy development, the characterisation of that development and the scope of changes permitted to the development in reliance upon existing use rights.

Class 1 – Affordable Housing Policy

    • Class 1 litigation relating to a residential flat building at Warners Parade, Bondi Junction turning not only on the bulk, scale and conformity of the development with adjoining land uses, but also a serious consideration of affordable housing provisions under Waverley planning controls and voluntary planning agreements affecting future consideration of Waverley affordable housing policies.

Prosecution of Illegal Boarding House Operators

    • Appearance as solicitor advocate for a council prosecuting owners of a property that was being used as a boarding house contrary to planning instruments. Prosecution required the preparation of a detailed brief of evidence where defendants pleaded not guilty. Prosecution was successful against owners who were represented by counsel instructed by local government and planning law specialists.

Advice regarding Existing Use Rights

    • Provided advice to a large car parking operator in Sydney CBD regarding the availability of existing use rights in defence of civil enforcement proceedings where use of land commenced prior to the introduction of town planning laws. Preparation of advice included a detailed analysis of historical records such as building and development applications as well as applying intervening town planning legislation.

Prosecution of Asbestos Dumper

    • Advised a council in relation to the investigation of illegal asbestos dumping in a suburban area. Appeared as solicitor advocate in various subsequent proceedings against a company and individual. The Court subsequently imposed fines totalling $250,000.00 for breaches of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act.

General Experience

    • Preparing, appearing and instructing on hundreds of Class 1 appeals in the Land and Environment Court for councils and applicants involving issues such as:
      • heritage
      • threatened species
      • view loss
      • flooding
      • bushfire
      • residential flat buildings and SEPP 65
      • seniors living
      • waterfront developments on Sydney Harbor and Parramatta River
      • rural subdivisions
      • affordable housing
      • powers of the Land and Environment Court under the Roads Act 1993

Contacts

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Gary Green

Partner
ggreen@pvlaw.com.au

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Peter Jackson

Partner
pjackson@pvlaw.com.au

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Julie Walsh

Partner
jwalsh@pvlaw.com.au

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Ryan Bennett

Partner
rbennett@pvlaw.com.au

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Roslyn McCulloch

Partner
rmcculloch@pvlaw.com.au

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Stephen Griffiths

Special Counsel
sgriffiths@pvlaw.com.au

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Joshua Palmer

Senior Associate
jpalmer@pvlaw.com.au

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James Fan

Associate
jfan@pvlaw.com.au

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Alistair Knox

Lawyer
aknox@pvlaw.com.au

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Tom Bush

Lawyer
tbush@pvlaw.com.au

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Expertise

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  • Environmental approvals and licences 
  • Environmental Impact Statements and Species Impact Statements 
  • Pollution incidents 
  • Contaminated land 
  • Environmental due diligence 
  • Enforcement proceedings including Class 4 proceedings in the Land and Environment Court 
  • Prosecutions (Local Court and Land and Environment Court) 
  • Development applications 
  • Planning proposals/rezoning 
  • Existing use rights 
  • Section 121B Orders 
  • Permissibility of uses 
  • Section 96 modifications 
  • Development Control Plans 
  • Retrospective consents 
  • Designated development 
  • State Environmental Planning Policies 
  • Construction Certificates 
  • Complying Development Certificates 
  • Occupation Certificates 
  • Tree Preservation Orders 
  • Section 94 plans 
  • Heritage matters 
  • State significant development