Land development on hold

INDECISION at State level is delaying installation of local council planning tools.

As a result land available for development in some parts has been placed on hold, while in other places there has been a rush to develop while a 'window' remains.

Byron Shire Council's director of planning, Ray Darney, said continual changes to the local environment plan process by the State Government had delayed residential land release and increased workloads.

“Residential land that has been identified in the Bangalow Settlement Strategy has been held up for a number of years,” Mr Darney said.

“Understandably, the landowners are upset.”

In addition, Mr Darney said there had been delays in other LEP amendments which meant some landowners were unable to build a house on land that should have entitlement.

Clarence Valley Council, which amalgamated in 2004 and desperately requires a unified LEP, has waited nearly two years to be allowed to publicly display its comprehensive plan.

As a result there has been a run on development applications for rural residential land, which will be restricted once the new LEP comes on line, said the council's manager for strategic planning, David Morrison.

At least Kyogle Shire, with no LEP whatsoever - only an interim document dated from 1976 - has been listed as NSW Planning's highest priority, and has been offered enhanced assistance, according to Kyogle planner John Hession.

At the heart of these delays is the lack of a definitive State 'template' which council planners are encouraged to follow.

Defining development on acid sulphate soils, for instance, had altered five times in the past four years, said Richmond Valley Council's director of environmental services, Ken Exley.

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