Lake Macquarie council has effectively deferred a decision on a proposed standard remedial action plan which residents surrounding the former Pasminco smelter would have to follow when developing their properties.
The plan, which had been criticised by affected residents for making a "blanket assumption" that more than 2300 properties around the former smelter site were polluted, returned for endorsement at Monday night's ordinary council meeting.
With only 10 of the 13 councillors in attendance, an amendment to defer a decision on endorsing the plan was carried by deputy mayor Nick Jones' casting vote, but he dropped his support when it was voted on as the motion.
The situation resulted in no official resolution on the matter and leaves the proposed changes up in the air until at least the next council meeting in February.
The aim of the plan was to make it easier for residents to submit development applications by providing a standardised method of dealing with contamination.
But residents are still left the hefty cost, in the tens of thousands of dollars, to dispose of contaminated soil.
Cr Jason Pauling moved the amendment to defer adopting the plan until there was a "clear and permanent solution" for the disposal of contaminated soil.
He said it would be wrong to adopt the plan given an agreement between to allow contaminated soil to be dumped at Summerhill tip was soon due to end and residents had not had a touted second meeting with the NSW Environment Minister.