MidCoast Council opens draft Local Environmental Plan for feedback

MidCoast Council will now have one unified Local Environmental Plan, informing developments like this mini-suburbia. Photo: MidCoast Council.

ENVIRONMENTAL policy and planning moves to centre stage for the MidCoast local government area (LGA), with Council’s draft Local Environmental Plan (LEP) now open for public input.

An LEP provides the framework and planning controls that guide development in the region.

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To date, the LGA has laboured under the existence of three separate LEPs, one for each of the three original LGAs (Taree, Gloucester and Great Lakes) that were merged by Premier Baird’s decree back in 2016.

“Having one MidCoast LEP will provide a consistent direction on how development in the MidCoast will occur,” Council’s Director of Liveable Communities, Paul De Szell explained.

“A single LEP will provide more certainty for the community and the development industry, and is intended to achieve better planning outcomes.”

The new LEP is the result of four years of consultation between the community, development industry, NSW Government and Council, drawing upon concepts from other recently-approved LEPs across NSW, to include the most up-to-date provisions.

“During this time, we have developed a Housing Strategy, a Rural Strategy and undertaken a number of zoning reviews to guide our future direction and have checked in with the community through extensive consultation,” Mr De Szell added.

“Zones dictate what can (and can’t) be done in your neighbourhood – from the way the land can be used and the size of lots, to the types of buildings and heights.”

The focus for ratepayers and developers should be on any changes to the zoning of their land, ranging from residential to rural, employment, conservation, recreation and waterways.

Almost all MidCoast Council zones are changing in some way, with impacts ranging from minimal, simple name changes, to more weighty considerations, like how big a land parcel must be in order to allow building.

In some rural areas, the size of lots will change from 40ha down to 5ha before any kind of dwelling may be built upon it, which could affect landowners in ‘unserviced village’ areas.

Council is keen for feedback from landholders on these new rural zones.

Residents can find out more by going to Council’s website www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/lep, or by attending one of the Drop-In Sessions: Bulahdelah: outside IGA – 11 June 10am-noon; Hawks Nest Community Centre – 12 June 3pm-6pm; Stroud: outside museum – 19 June 9am-1noon; Nabiac: markets – 29 June 8am-noon.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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