Submissions on Council's new LEP due midnight Sunday 14 July

By bobreid, 5 July, 2024
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The MidCoast Council Have Your Say consultation on the draft MidCoast LEP closes at midnight on Sunday 14 July.

So if you would like to lodge a submission on this draft you need to do so before then. You view the draft LEP and lodge a submission via the following link – draft MidCoast LEP Have Your Say.

The major impact of the draft LEP will be on the North Arm Cove and the Carrington paper subdivisions that are adjacent to the North Arm Cove and Carrington villages.

We encourage all residents to lodge submissions on this draft LEP, the more submissions lodged the more notice Council will take of our communities concerns.

We have a number of concerns with the draft LEP which are listed below. Please feel free to include any of these concerns in your submissions.

Our main concerns are:

  1. Council originally proposed to rezone paper subdivisions to either C2 Environmental Conservation or C3 Environmental Management zones, but was required by the State Government’s Gateway Determination to rezone them as C4 Environmental Living with a five hectare dwelling entitlement to “balance the ability of landowners to have a fair and reasonable pathway to lodge a development application of a dwelling with the need to manage essential services, natural hazards and biodiversity values”.
    For the North Arm Cove and Carrington paper subdivisions, the main beneficiary of the C4 zoning would be Walker Corporation, which could potentially form about 26 five hectare blocks. Due to the fragmented nature of the North Arm Cove paper subdivision with Council owning about 1,000 blocks, and the presence of road reserves and privately owned roads, the vast majority of the 2,500 landowners will not be able to consolidate lots to form 5 hectare blocks.
    Since there will be minimal benefit of the C4 zoning, Council should revert to its original proposal and rezone the North Arm Cove and Carrington paper subdivisions as C2 and C3 zones.
  2. The draft LEP proposes to rezone the Heros Beach reserve from the existing RE1 recreation zone to a C3 Environmental Management zone due to vegetation cover. Since Heros Beach is an important recreation reserve for the community that is frequently used its RE1 zoning should be retained. 
  3. The Yallarwah Park exercise track area should be rezoned as RE1 instead of C3 Environmental Management. It is also an important recreation facility for our community and this should be reflected in its zoning.
  4. On page 32 of the Planning Proposal it states that the C3 Environmental Management zone is to be applied to “native vegetation on coastal foreshores”, and “this zone has been applied to specific land use sites including paper subdivisions”. This has not been done in the draft LEP so it needs to be amended to include C3 zoning along the foreshore in the North Arm Cove and Carrington paper subdivisions. This zone should be at least 100m wide. Since all of the coastal foreshore in North Arm Cove and Carrington is adjacent to the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park it is important that the undeveloped foreshore which is in the paper subdivision be rezoned as C3 for protection of the Marine Park.
    The C3 zone should also apply to the land alongside Bulga Creek which is a Marine Sanctuary Zone.
  5. The Paper Subdivisions Analysis report contains the following statement: “the land in Crown and Council ownership be identified in an appropriate conservation zone”. Rezoning this land to C4 as per the draft LEP is not appropriate conservation zone. This land should be rezoned to a C2 Environmental Conservation zone to improve its conservation status.
  6. Council land is currently classified as operational land. The Paper Subdivision fact sheet states the following in relation to land transferred to Council ownership: “the land will be retained in public ownership for environmental and community benefit” and “the reselling of land by Council will not be permitted”.
    In addition to rezoning this land to C2, Council should reclassify this land as community land and include a clause in the LEP that it is to be protected for conservation use and  cannot be sold.
  7. The original draft of the Paper Subdivision Analysis Report included the following recommendation for the North Arm Cove paper subdivision: “the land be nominated as an area unsuitable for development or occupation under the SEPP (Exempt and Complying Development) 2008”.  
    The draft LEP contains no provision to exempt the North Arm Cove or Carrington paper subdivisions from this SEPP. Considering that erecting structures such as fences, sheds, water tanks and driveways under this SEPP is one of the greatest threats to the biodiversity and ecological values of the paper subdivision, Council should include a provision in the LEP to exempt paper subdivisions from this SEPP. Alternatively, Council should request the NSW Government to amend Schedule 4 of the SEPP – being Land excluded from the General Exempt Development Code - to include the North Arm Cove and Carrington paper subdivisions.
  8. In the draft LEP Brackens Bay, Lot 969/DP9939 is to be rezoned as C4 Environmental Living. All of this block should be rezoned as C3 since it is the main route for access to Beauty Point which Council has identified as a possible future boat ramp for the community. The zoning needs to allow for the option of a future road to access Beauty Point.
  9. Lot 783 DP113400 contains an aboriginal heritage site that has been recognised by the NPWS. The draft LEP proposes to rezone this lot as C4. It is a 5.5 ha block which could be potentially developed. It should rezoned as C3 or C2 to protect its heritage. 
  10. Lot 1458 DP12277 is large enough to be subdivided into 2-3 five hectare blocks. Since this lot is a catchment area for a large marshy area along the foreshore, it should be rezoned as either C3 or C2. It also has heritage value (including lots 1455-7) being the site of the first cottage in North Arm Cove (1830 or earlier) and the ferry point (1828 or earlier).
  11. Under the existing zoning vegetation management in the North Arm Cove and Carrington paper subdivisions is controlled under the RFS Rural Boundary Clearing Code and Local Land Services legislation. These will not apply under a conservation zoning. Council’s existing vegetation management policy does not apply to this land. Council needs to implement a vegetation management policy for this land before the rezoning is completed.
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