THE desire to retain Nelson Bay’s low rise “coastal village” character and uncertainty regarding height limits are central concerns earmarked for discussion at the Tomaree Ratepayers and Residents Association (TRRA) General Meeting on 21 February.
Convenor of the Planning Committee Nigel Waters told News Of The Area that the association was not against more investment in the area, but “quality low to medium rise developments” would assist in preserving Nelson Bay’s natural assets.
“There is a lack of certainty about height limits,” Mr Waters said.
“Many in the community feel that absolute heights of new buildings in Nelson Bay town centre, and on adjacent ridges, need to be limited to maintain the town’s character.”
“The number of storeys or levels that a developer wishes to fit into agreed height limits is a matter for them, subject to the normal consultation and assessment processes,” he said.
Port Stephens Council’s discussion paper for progress of the town centre and foreshore, released December 2016, proposed that “existing and adopted height limits be legally included as development standards with the LEP”.
Those limits are currently seven storeys (24.5m).
The discussion paper states further that “this height limit could be varied to encourage feasible development to occur”.
“When and where this variation could be applied would be subject to further rigour through the development of Council Guidelines for the use of Clause 4.6 – Exceptions to Development Standards.”
The discussion paper suggests that the “static” property market needs boosting through further development.
“It is well known that the residential unit market in Nelson Bay has been static and has actually declined over the past 10 years,” the paper states.
Council planners will be present at TRRA’s General Meeting which will commence at 7pm at Nelson Bay Bowling Club on Tuesday 21 February. The meeting is open to the general public.
Port Stephens Council has confirmed that the draft discussion paper ‘Progress of the Nelson Bay Town Centre and Foreshore Strategy’ will be publicly available from 13 February on Port Stephens Council’s website.
Members of the public are encouraged to provide feedback on a range of issues until 13 March.
By Jo FINN