Labor councillors have called on the NSW government to reconsider plans to strip Newcastle City Council of its planning power over major developments.
The NSW Department of Planning has accepted all 19 recommendations of the Kaldas review into the state's planning system, including that "consideration be given to extending mandatory Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels to the Central Coast and Newcastle local government areas".
The panels, which already operate in Sydney and Wollongong, consider all development applications worth $5 million to $30 million.
Under the existing planning system, the independent Hunter and Central Coast Joint Regional Planning Panel assesses projects valued at more than $30 million.
Projects worth less than $5 million are assessed by council staff under delegation unless they attract more than 25 objections, involve significant variations to planning guidelines or are "called in" by two or more councillors.
The Berejiklian government introduced the IHAPs in 2017 amid concerns over inappropriate relationships between councillors, local government managers and property developers.
A Department of Planning spokesperson told the Herald that the department was still "considering" whether a mandatory IHAP was "suitable" for Newcastle.
Newcastle deputy mayor Declan Clausen said the panels "threaten local democracy" by removing councillors from decision-making.
"Mandatory IHAPs have the potential to reduce the accountability and transparency of planning decisions, as their members are neither elected nor accountable to the community," he said.
Six Labor councillors have lodged a notice of motion for Tuesday's council meeting calling on the council to ask new Planning Minister Rob Stokes for Newcastle to be excluded from the IHAP area.
The motion argues that Newcastle's elected council has considered 79 DAs, or about one per cent, of all applications since 2013.
Cr Clausen said councillors had followed staff advice 94.9 per cent of the time when assessing DAs.
He said an IHAP would cost the council about $100,000 a year to run, or $5000 per DA based on the 20 assessed by councillors in 2017-18.
"A key consideration for any DA should be the public interest, and, for complex proposals, democratically elected representatives are best placed to consider that."
The motion also asks the council to endorse other measures to ensure transparency, including "restricting active property developers and real estate agents from holding civic office".
Independent councillor John Church, one of Labor's political rivals in the chamber, worked for real estate agency PRD until leaving last week to set up a marketing and communications company, Churchcomm.
CORRECTION:An earlier version of this story said Cr Church still worked at PRD.