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Picketts Valley picThe Central Coast Community Better Planning Group (CCCBPG) and the Community Environment Network (CEN) have urged NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, The Hon Rob Stokes MP, to refuse a planning proposal from Central Coast Council.

Chair of CCCBPG and Executive Member of CEN, Mr Gary Chestnut, said he had written to Mr Stoke and to Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Mr Adam Crouch, calling for NSW Planning to reject Central Coast Council’s 27 April resolution to submit a planning proposal for Mr Stokes’ approval.

“We believe the approach Council is pursuing is not in line with the state-wide implementation of the Standard Instrument which should result in ‘like for like’ zoning,” Mr Chestnut said.

“Central Coast Council is embarking on the rezoning of conservation land for other uses,” he said.

“The planning proposal was intended to achieve the integration of Deferred Matters (DM) land into Central Coast Local Environmental Plan (LEP) in accordance with relevant sections of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.”

Mr Chestnut said deferred matters land was currently subject to the provisions of Interim Development Order No. 122 (IDO 122) and Gosford Planning Scheme Ordinance (GPSO).

“We understand the resolution of deferred matters land is important,” he said. “However Central Coast Council’s resolution will not result in the application of a consistent zoning framework across the Central Coast,” he said.

“The IDO 122 7(a) Conservation Land has been zoned for the last 42 years with the same objectives as the E2 Environmental Conservation Zone so it’s logical that all 7(a) Conservation land should be zoned E2.

“Council’s resolution will result in 7(a) Conservation Zoned land being placed in zones other than E2 even though E2 is the ‘like for like’ zone in the state-wide Standard Instrument (SI).

“Council’s Director of Environment and Planning stated that land currently zoned 7(c2) Scenic Protection, depending upon its location, will be rezoned to either E3 or E4 rather than the ‘like for like’.”

Mr Chestnut addressed the 27 April Council meeting and proposed  “That all deferred matters land that is zoned 7(a) Conservation under IDO 122 be zoned E2 Environmental Conservation and those parcels of land that have an existing dwelling right have an enabling clause applied in the SI to permit the erection of a residential dwelling and that all deferred matters land zoned 7(c2) Scenic Protection rural small holdings and 7(c3) scenic protection tourist accommodation be zoned E3 Environmental Management”.

Interim Administrator, Mr Dick Persson AM, gave the alternative proposal serious consideration but went with the staff recommendation expressing the view that he did not think it appropriate to place the cost of rezoning upon individual landowners.

“Had our recommendation been adopted the issue of deferred matters within the Central Coast LGA could have been resolved then and there,” Mr Chestnut said.

“Some landowners may hold the view that their land could be rezoned to a less restrictive conservation zone which could potentially increase their property values.

“If that is the case the property owner should take responsibility for the preparation, management, lodgement and cost of a planning proposal for another zone.

“Currently 3,445 property owners have DM landholdings in the former Gosford LGA. Of those, only 300 wrote submissions about the move to the SI. 

“In state electorates such as Terrigal, for instance, where there is a great deal of deferred matters land, landholders who have acquired environmental land as a lifestyle choice may end up with their land rezoned to allow permitted uses not conducive to their lifestyle.

“At a time when Central Coast Council continues to face significant financial challenges, we believe that it should not be Council and ratepayers who carry the impost of planning proposals but private landholders.

“Had Interim Administrator Mr Dick Persson resolved to move deferred matters land to E2 on 27 April significant council resources could have been saved.

“We believe the planning proposal put forward for Minister Stokes’ approval will take significant time and council resources to implement and result in significant loss of Environmental Conservation land,” Mr Chestnut said.

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