MidCoast Council’s environmental plan draws in big drop-in crowds

Hawks Nest Community Hall was crowded with patient queues and many landowners seeking clarifications.

LONG lines formed outside the Hawks Nest Community Centre on Thursday 13 June for a drop-in session to assist residents’ understanding of MidCoast Council’s proposed new Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

The LEP, as reported previously in NOTA, is an attempt to consolidate the most useful parts of the three ‘legacy’ plans from the pre-amalgamation councils (Greater Taree, Gloucester Shire, and Great Lakes), while also incorporating some useful features seen in other LGAs.

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Ratepayers and landowners dropped in from all over the Myall Coast, as this was one of only three such sessions to be held south of Coolongolook.

At the recent Community Conversations meeting held at the same Hawks Nest location, MidCoast Council Director of Liveable Communities, Paul De Szell, clarified that there are 24 zones to contend with, so the drop-in had plenty of fodder for confusion, as well as clarification.

“All land in the MidCoast is zoned into different categories ranging from residential, rural, employment, conservation recreation and waterways,” one Council spokesperson told NOTA.

“These zones dictate what can and can’t be done in your neighbourhood, from how the land can be used to the types of buildings and heights allowed.”

Mr De Szell has stressed that this LEP is something that everyone should take the time to check out.

“This is something our staff have been working hard on for years, to create one document for the entire region.

“It provides a more consistent approach, it’s an important document that affects all landowners in some way.”

Mr De Szell said in many cases the changes might be as minor as a name change for your particular zone, but either way, he said it was important to review the draft and provide feedback.

Such zones include, but are certainly not limited to, multiple ‘Residential’ zones, such as General, Low Density, Medium Density, High Density, Large Lot, Village, and Paper Subdivisions, all of which all have been consolidated from the three legacy LEPs into the new one.

Rural zones include Primary Production, Rural Landscape, and ‘Primary Production – Small Lots’.

There are also now three Environmental categories: Environmental Living, Environmental Management, and Environmental Conservation, each of which is fundamentally distinct.

Other zones of note include Forestry; Commercial; National Parks and Nature Reserves; and Infrastructure.

Council’s website features an interactive mapping tool, and phone appointments are also available by calling 7955 7777 or by registering for a call back at www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/lep.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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