MINUTES OF THE MONTHLY MEETING OF DUNDALK TOWN COUNCIL, HELD IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, TOWN HALL, DUNDALK, ON WEDNESDAY 25TH NOVEMBER 2009 PRESENT Cathaoirleach, Councillor M Bellew, presided.
ALSO PRESENT Councillor S Bellew, Councillor C Keelan, Councillor O Morgan, Councillor M Butler, Councillor M Dearey, Councillor J D’Arcy, Councillor E O’Boyle, Councillor I Dooley, Councillor H Todd, Councillor K Meenan and Councillor J Ryan.
IN ATTENDANCE Mr F Pentony, Director of Services and Town Clerk
283/09 ADOPTION OF MINUTES On the proposition of Councillor M. Dearey, seconded by Councillor S. Bellew, the following minutes were adopted:
Special Meeting 27th October 2009
Monthly Meeting 27th October 2009
Special Meeting 10th November 2009
_____________________________________________________________________________ 284/09 TIDY TOWNS AWARDS
Cathaoirleach, Councillor M. Bellew apologised for the late start which was due to attendance at the Louth County Council Dundalk and Environs Development Plan meeting.
He advised the Members that he had attended the Tidy Towns Awards ceremony on Monday and accepted the Gold Medal on behalf of Dundalk Town Council. He said the award together with previous awards should be displayed in the foyer of the Town Hall.
285/09 MATTERS ARISING Councillor E. O’Boyle referred to Minute No. 270/09 (Monthly Meeting 27th October 2009) and advised that he still wasn’t entirely happy with the response and will take the matter up with the Town Clerk.
_____________________________________________________________________________ 286/09 HOUSING PROGRESS REPORT In reply to a question from Councillor K. Meenan, Mr. D. Storey, Senior Executive Officer, advised that the Barrack Street Housing Scheme is almost complete. However, it will probably be January 2010 before the houses are allocated. The Scheme consists of independent living units for the elderly. He advised that the Council will be consulting with the HSE in relation to allocations. The Council have yet to decide how to deal with situations where the people being considered for the houses are already house owners. Some schemes which may be considered are the Fair Deal Scheme and the Contribution in Lieu Scheme. Approximately 50 people have been identified as possible tenants for the housing scheme.
It is hoped that the Rock Road houses will be ready for allocation in January 2010.
_____________________________________________________________________________ 287/09 PROGRESS REPORT Report was noted.
288/09 EXTINGUISHMENT OF PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY – THE PUBLIC FOOTPATH AND GREEN AREA TO THE SOUTH OF CLAN NA GAEL SPORTS GROUND IN COX’S DEMESNE DUNDALK On the proposition of Councillor J Ryan, seconded by Councillor E O’Boyle, it was agreed to defer this item to the January 2010 Monthly Meeting.
Mr. D. Storey advised the Members that the Consultants have recently commenced the second stage of the Cox’s Demesne Area Urban Vision process which is training for the local residents. In early 2010, when the training has been completed, the local residents will be asked to propose pilot projects for the area. A number of quick wins proposals in Cox’s Demesne have been approved recently by the Department under the Small Works Programme. However, a submission to the Department for ‘quick wins projects’ in the Muirhevnamor area have not been approved and the Council have been advised that any further works in the area will only be considered under the proposed remedial works scheme for the area. Councillor H. Todd asked when the small works projects will commence in Cox’s Demesne and Mr. D. Storey advised that all works should be started by year end. Councillor K. Meenan asked if the Department was likely to change the goal posts again as they did previously. Mr. D. Storey advised that when the Remedial Works Scheme submission is ready it will be sent on to the Department. Any funding provided will have to be matched by the Council by way of its internal capital receipts. Councillor J. Ryan said he cannot understand why the Department would reject the quick wins projects for Muirhevnamor when all these proposals would have enhanced the Estate. Cathaoirleach, Councillor M. Bellew said that the people of Muirhevnamor have again become disillusioned. He said the Department has back tracked in relation to regeneration in Muirhevnamor and he wondered if they were still committed to providing the funding. Mr. D. Storey reminded the Members that he had advised them about one year ago that the Department had identified Cox’s Demesne as the priority for regeneration. He also stated that €1 million will be provided over 3 years towards regeneration.
The Members complimented Mr Storey for all his work on regeneration.
_____________________________________________________________________________ 290/09 ADOPTION OF DUNDALK & ENVIRONS DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2009-2015 Cathaoirleach, Councillor M. Bellew informed the press that the meeting would be in committee from this point on.
The County Manager advised that at the earlier meeting in Louth County Council a proposal was put forward by the Members to modify his recommendation in relation to Ref 22 & 22A (Ardee Road). Having consulted with Mr G Duffy, Senior Planner, it was considered that the modification would be acceptable as a modification of the Manager’s Report. Councillor M. Dearey said the modification would not compromise the flood attenuation. He said the new Planning Bill will place the burden of proof on the developer to show that the land will not flood. The County Manager added that the principal he had set down in his report regarding flood concerns would be adhered to. Councillor J. Ryan was advised that the modification involved changes to the zoning map. On the proposition of Councillor J. D’Arcy, seconded by Councillor J. Ryan, it was agreed that the Manager’s recommendation for these lands (Ref 22/22A) be accepted subject to the modifications in the map circulated at the meeting on 25th November 2009.
Following a roll vote call:
In Favour: Councillor M. Bellew, Councillor S. Bellew, Councillor M. Butler, Councillor J. D’Arcy, Councillor M. Dearey, Councillor C. Keelan, Councillor O. Morgan, Councillor E. O’Boyle and Councillor J. Ryan.
Abstain: Councillor I. Dooley, Councillor K. Meenan and Councillor H. Todd.
The proposal was carried.
On the proposition of Councillor J. Ryan, seconded by Councillor M. Dearey is was
Cathaoirleach, Councillor M. Bellew advised the press that the meeting was no longer in committee.
The following resolution was proposed by Councillor J. Ryan and seconded by Councillor E. O’Boyle ‘Having considered the Draft Plan, the amendments and the Manager’s Report, Dundalk Town Council resolve to make the Plan subject to the modifications agreed by the Council in their deliberations’. The resolution was passed unanimously.
_____________________________________________________________________________ 291/09 TRIBUTES TO GERRY DUFFY
Cathaoirleach, Councillor M. Bellew led the tributes to Gerry Duffy, Senior Planner, who will be retiring at the end of the month. He said Gerry was fair and broad minded. Louth Local Authorities will be sorry to see him go. He wished him all the best. Councillor J. D’Arcy said Gerry was a man of outstanding intelligence and ability and was always courteous. Councillor M. Dearey wished him well in his retirement. He thanked him for his engagement especially during the review of the Plan. Councillor K. Meenan found Gerry to be very helpful and said he will be a big loss to the Council. Councillor E. O’Boyle concurred with all the sentiments expressed and wished him every happiness and good health in his retirement. Councillor J. Ryan wanted to be connected with all the nice things said about Gerry. He said Gerry was always available. He wished him all the very best as did Councillor O. Morgan, Councillor M. Butler and Councillor C Keelan. The County Manager said Gerry had been an excellent public servant, highly professional and brought common sense to very complex processes. He wished him health and happiness. Gerry responded by thanking the Members for all their very kind words. He had enjoyed his involvement with the Town and had always been shown great respect by the Members. He said he is looking forward to a new beginning. He has no plans but hopes to remain active in the community. He thanked the Members for the courtesy extended to him.
292/09 AMENDMENT OF STANDING ORDERS (START TIME) On the proposition of Councillor M. Dearey, seconded by Councillor O. Morgan, it was agreed that the standing orders be amended to provide that meetings will commence at 7.00pm and finish at 9.30pm.
_____________________________________________________________________________ 293/09 NOTICE OF QUESTION – COUNCILLOR E O’BOYLE – (DEFERRED FROM OCTOBER MEETING) (1): BRUSH & RUBBISH FIRES & THEIR COST TO THIS COUNCIL? How many times has our fire service attended at brush and rubbish fires on this Council’s land and on the adjoining privately owned land behind Boyle O’Reilly Terrace and St. Nicholas Avenue in the past 20 years and what has been the cost or expense to this Council of this on-going and continuing operation?
Answer: There were 49 fire call outs to the Boyle O’Reilly / St Nicholas Avenue area during the period from 2004 to 2009. The estimated cost to the Council was €22,000 approximately. Councillor E. O’Boyle enquired if there were any practical steps that could be taken to end this practice. Frank Pentony, Town Clerk, advised that part of the ground is owned by the Council and part is privately owned. One option would be for the Council to erect fencing to prevent entry to their land. However, he stated that there is no provision in the 2009 Budget to carry out this work.
_____________________________________________________________________________ 294/09 NOTICE OF QUESTION – COUNCILLOR E O’BOYLE - (DEFERRED FROM OCTOBER MEETING)
(2): AN BORD PLEANALA TO DE-ZONE MUCH OF THE LAND ZONED RESIDENTIAL?
In the light of the statement made by Mr. John O’Connor, Chairman of An Bord Pleanála, on the occasion of the publication on 14th October 2009 of An Bord Pleanála 2008 Annual Report that a proportion of the excessively and unsustainably zoned residential land in many of the current Local Authority Development Plans will have to be de-zoned, I would ask the Manager to prepare an audit of such land in our County and Town jurisdictional areas, focussing particularly on land which we have zoned for residential development which has yet to be provided with roads infrastructure and main sewer service? This list should ideally grade lands in order of readiness to develop, having reference to criteria such as “ready to develop immediately”, to “requires main sewer service”, “requires provision of road”, “is up to four kilometres from the town centre”, etc.
This exercise will help to place the Members of our two Authorities in a position to establish whether any of our zoned land falls into the category complained of by the Board and if so, by how much.
I believe that we, as a Planning Authority, should adopt a proactive attitude to achieving the Board’s recommended position on planning, which is contained succinctly in the Chairman’s Address when he stated that, “Now, more than ever, we need to embrace the principles of good planning and sustainable development in order to prevent further deterioration of our environment, to respond to climate change, to maximise the return from expensive infrastructure investment, to get the most efficient use of limited land resources and to help restore confidence (by the public in our planning process) by producing well located good quality developments…”
Answer: Firstly, the comments quoted by in this question are extracted from the ABP Chairperson’s statement on publication of their Annual Report 2008. In this statement the Chair takes the opportunity to comment on the broader issues and context that face ABP.
Secondly, ABP does not have any direct role in decision making process in relation to the zoning of land or adoption of development plans or local area plans, per se. This is a reserved function. However it should be acknowledged that the Board is a prescribed body for the purposes of making a plan and is duly notified when a plan under preparation and is entitled to make a submission/observation.
The Draft Dundalk and Environs Development Plan, 2009-2015 includes a breakdown of serviced and un-serviced residential zoned lands (table 6.2 refers):
(Live permissions included)
Residential 1 (serviced)
Residential 2 (un-serviced)
The members will note that in the recent consideration of: the Draft Development Plan, the Amendments and Manager’s Report, the Manager identified that the extent of zoning is a historic situation deriving from previous development plans. The Manager also advised that the draft plan acknowledges this overprovision and seeks to manage development through the identification of specific development areas and phasing. The members are further advised that following close consultation with the DoEHLG it is recommended that an overall phasing strategy will be developed for the plan area within one year of the making of the plan. Lastly the members are advised that the Planning & Development (Amendment) Bill, 2009 shall if/when enacted prescribe additional duties on the planning authority with regards to the preparation of a core strategy for the county and town. Any changes to the legislative context shall be duly acted upon by the executive and the members will be advised accordingly in due course. Councillor E. O’Boyle said the answer was a bit weak. The County Manager said that development will be managed by way of phasing as provided for in the Development Plan.
_____________________________________________________________________________ 295/09 NOTICES OF MOTION – COUNCILLOR M. BELLEW
Public Lighting in Dundalk Areas
That this Council call on ESB Contracts to honour their agreement in relation to repair and replacement of public lighting in the Dundalk areas as a matter or urgency, and that appropriate officials from ESB Contracts be invited to attend the Council meeting at their earliest convenience to discuss the ongoing problems with public lighting in the town.
The motion was proposed by Cathaoirleach, Councillor M. Bellew and seconded by Councillor E. O’Boyle.
It was confirmed that the public lighting maintenance contract has been sold onto Airtricity. The County Manager said that the Council will need to make enquiries to identify who needs to be written to in relation to a meeting. Councillor K Meenan was concerned in relation to public liability claims where some one has a fall as a result of poor lighting. Councillor M. Butler asked who is responsible for public lighting in estates that have not been taken in charge. Frank Pentony, Town Clerk, advised that the developer is responsible.
That this Council consider providing traffic calming measures at the Long
Avenue from Hill Street Bridge junction to Blackrock Road/Red Barns Road junction.
The motion was proposed by Cathaoirleach, Councillor M. Bellew and seconded by Councillor O. Morgan.
(3) That this Council consider providing traffic calming measures at the junction of Ath Leathan and the Inner Relief Road.
The motion was proposed by Cathaoirleach, Councillor M. Bellew and seconded by Councillor I. Dooley.
Councillor M. Dearey said it is important that this Estate is connected with the Town. Councillor C. Keelan said he accompanied Colin Matthews, Assistant Engineer, recently on an inspection at this junction and asked that his report be circulated to the Members.
296/09 NOTICES OF MOTION – COUNCILLOR OLIVER MORGAN (1) Speed Ramps and Traffic CalmingMeasures That this Council make provision in the 2010 budget to provide Speed Ramps and
other Traffic Calming Measures in Garrybawn, Tom Bellew Avenue, in the interest of safety of residents and visitors.
The Motion was proposed by Councillor O. Morgan and seconded by Councillor M. Butler.
(2) Street Lighting That this Council make provision in the 2010 budget as a matter of urgency to erect street lighting from the Dundalk Retail Park junction to Hardy’s Lane on the Blackrock Road (incorporating Na Piarsaigh GFC).
The Motion was proposed by Councillor O. Morgan and seconded by Councillor M. Butler.
__________________________________________________________________________ 297/09 NOTICES OF MOTION – COUNCILLOR MARK DEAREY
Music Instruments and Recording Equipment
That the disbursement of music instruments and recording equipment proceed as per my earlier motion and the decision of the Council at the time.
The motion was proposed by Councillor M. Dearey and seconded by Cathaoirleach, Councillor M. Bellew.
Frank Pentony, Town Clerk, advised that the scheme will be advertised shortly. The scheme will provide for the loan of instruments over a 3 year period.
That this Council makes an objection on the siting of new nuclear power stations on the UK west coast during the current public consultation period being conducted by the UK Ministry for Energy and Climate Change.
The motion was proposed by Councillor M. Dearey and seconded by Councillor E. O’Boyle.
Submissions can be made to the UK Ministry by 22nd February 2010. Councillor C. Keelan also supported the motion. He said it is proposed that 6 stations alone face onto the Irish Sea. He said the Council needs to send out a strong message of opposition.
298/09 NOTICE OF MOTION – COUNCILLOR KEVIN MEENAN This Council noting that
In April’s emergency budget it announced that the Christmas Social Welfare Payment (better known as the Christmas bonus) would not be paid this year.
In 2008 the payment was made to around 1.3 million people: 940,000 recipients and an estimated 400,000 dependents.
Despite the severe economic difficulties faced during the 1980’s the revenue was always found to cover this payment.
Recognising that the removal of the payment will
Cause great hardship and force families dependent on social welfare who rely on this payment to cover the costs associated with Christmas into the hands of ruthless money lenders.
Result in elderly people who use this additional payment to help cover the costs of fuel over the winter going without sufficient heating this year.
Depress local economies and put businesses and retailers who rely on the Christmas trade under further pressure by taking money out of local towns.
Calls on the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan TD, and the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Hanafin, to restore the Christmas Social Welfare Payment.
The motion was proposed by Councillor K. Meenan and seconded by Councillor H. Todd.
Councillor E. O’Boyle, Councillor I. Dooley, Cathaoirleach, Councillor M. Bellew, Councillor J. Ryan and Councillor C. Keelan also supported the motion.
_____________________________________________________________________________ 299/09 NOTICE OF QUESTIONS – COUNCILLOR MARIANNE BUTLER
How much revenue was raised for this Council from Non-Principal Private
Answer: Revenue received by Louth Local Authorities is respect of Non-Principal Private Residence Charges amounted to €828,980.00 as at 16th November 2009.
Councillor M. Butler asked how much of this money would be paid over to Dundalk Town Council. Frank Pentony, Town Clerk, said that the distribution of the funding was not yet known. However, further information in relation to the charges/income can be found on the NPPR website.
Does this Council have a policy and/or enforcement powers in relation to cars for sale being parked at major junctions and roundabout.
Answer: Firstly it should be acknowledged that the use of lands for parking of vehicles for the purposes of selling said vehicles would constitute a material change in the use of the land, having regard to Section 3 of the Planning and Development Act.
Under the provisions of the Planning and Development Act (Part VIII- Enforcement) the planning authority may instigate enforcement proceedings, either by way of a warning letter or enforcement notice, on the owner, occupier or any person carrying out the development. Normally enforcement notices are served on the owner of the property. Accordingly in these cases the Council would normally pursue the matter through the provisions of the Roads Act and the relevant Bye-Laws. Likewise where illegal parking is occurring in proximity to major junctions or causing an obstruction to footpaths the Garda Siochana also have an enforcement role.The enforcement powers in relation to cars for sale parked on major junctions and roundabouts is contained within the Roads Act 1993 (Section 71). This provision allows Authorised Officers or a member of An Garda Síochana to remove the car. The Council is currently reviewing the number of Authorised Officers and any illegally parked cars for sale will be removed.
Frank Pentony, Town Clerk, advised that any enquiries regarding the removal of illegally parked cars in the Town Council’s area should be directed to Dora Minogue in the Traffic Section.
_____________________________________________________________________________ 300/09 RESOLUTIONS On the proposition of Councillor J Ryan, seconded by Cathaoirleach, Councillor M Bellew it was agreed to support the Monaghan Town Council and the Mullingar Town Council motions.
_____________________________________________________________________________ 301/09 CORRESPONDENCE The correspondence received regarding twinning Dundalk with Louisville, USA was noted. It was agreed that this item be deferred to a meeting in the New Year.