Land plan slammed
FEARS have emerged that an application to rezone agricultural land in the "buffer zone" between Alstonville and Wollongbar could set a dangerous precedent.
An application to rezone 15.5 hectares of land at Robb St, Alstonville from agricultural land (urban buffer) to industrial land is currently on public exhibition.
The land is on the eastern side of the Russelton Industrial Estate.
Wollongbar Progress Association secretary Marilyn Perkins and former president of the now-defunct Alstonville and District Ratepayers Association, Jane Gardiner, have voiced their opposition to the move.
"Our concern is that this rezoning will be the thin edge of the wedge," Ms Gardiner said.
She said rezoning the land would be "tragedy of planning by small decisions" in the "agricultural heart-land of Ballina Shire".
The buffer zone was established in Ballina Shire Council's Local Environmental Plan in 1987.
Under the 2012 LEP, the zoning of the land has been deferred because of the proposed application of the E3 Environmental Management Plan to the land.
The buffer zone was set up to allow the two communities of Wollongbar and Alstonville to maintain separate identities and to maintain their rural character.
Mrs Perkins said there was "plenty of room" in the Russelton Estate already zoned for industrial use.
The land has been at the centre of debate for more than 10 years, with the neighbouring business in the industrial estate, Duraplas, having used a section of the industrial land for storage as part of a lease arrangement with the current owner of the agricultural land.
Submissions on the rezoning proposal close on August 16.