Council concerns go to planning panel over Skennars Head

BALLINA Shire Council has concerns about a proposed residential subdivision at Skennars Head that would more than double the size of the coastal village.

The development of the land on The Coast Rd - which is owned by the Stewart family - would have up to 500 residential allotments and a neighbourhood shopping centre.

At the moment, Skennars Head has between 250 and 300 blocks.

The planning proposal is being assessed by the Joint Regional Planning Panel after the council refused to proceed with rezoning the land.

The council's acting strategic services group manager, Matthew Wood, said he was working on a submission to be sent to the JRPP.

"There are a number of items the council would like the JRPP to look at," he said.

"One of those is the question mark over the dedication of environmental protection land (scenic escarpment) into public ownership.

"The proposal is not clear whether that land will be dedicated into public ownership.

"It's significant because it is a buffer area."

Mr Wood said the council was also concerned about the scope of proposed roadworks and who would pay for them.

He said the proponents had previously committed to paying for the upgrade of the intersection of Headlands Dr and The Coast Rd because of the amount of traffic that would be generated.

Another issue the council will highlight in its submission to the JRPP is the size of the proposed residential lots.

"The proposal includes a minimum lot size of 450sq m," Mr Wood said.

"That is inconsistent with the council's general policy, which is 600sq m-plus, and inconsistent with the average lot size at Skennars Head, which is 800sq m.

"There is no doubt that there is a trend towards smaller lots.

"But the question is whether that is appropriate in this location."

Mr Wood said the development of the Stewart farm was "substantial" and would have a major impact on the region.

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