Central Coast Council has decided to defer consideration of a consolidated Local Environment Plan.
The council agreed with a request from mayor Cr Jane Smith, who described the consolidation as premature, to consider the matter further at a workshop.
The decision has been applauded by the Killcare Wagstaffe Trust, which addressed the council about the proposed plan.
The Trust had feared that consolidating the Plans for the former Wyong and Gosford council areas could put Coastal Open Space System environmental lands on and around the Peninsula at risk.
Trust spokesman Mr David Legge addressed councillors at Council’s July 22 meeting, saying the process for consolidating planning controls had been rushed and stressing the importance of maintaining the R2 zoning as outlined in the current Gosford Plan.
“Coastal Open Space System lands are unique and worthy of emulation by other councils,” Mr Legge said.
He also urged rezoning of some E3 lands to E2.
Since amalgamation, Council has been operating on the two Plans used by the two former council areas, which differ in various ways due to the requirements and topography of each area.
Mayor Cr Jane Smith said a move to consolidate the Plans was premature.
She said she would like to see councillors concentrate on formulating a comprehensive LEP over the next few years which takes into account issues relating to every section of the region, rather than opting for an interim consolidation.
Councillors backed her Mayoral Minute on July 22 to consider the matter further at a workshop.
“There are some concerns within the community over the draft Consolidation Plan, particularly in the former Gosford local government area,” Cr Smith said.
“Of special concern are items relating to development density and reductions to the R2 zoning, which is important in preserving our open spaces.”
“Councillors have had only two very short briefings on this plan, which was formulated before they were elected in 2017,” she said.
“Councillors need to understand the complicated matters involved and have opted to attend a workshop to get across the details, and to look at submissions already received on the matter and how they fit into the bigger planning picture.
“We need to work with the community in formulating a comprehensive plan.”
Cr Smith said current planning controls were delivering development outcomes and proposed changes had gone beyond the original scope and intent of a consolidated LEP.
“The draft Consolidation Plan seems to take a one size fits all approach and that is not how planning controls should work,” Cr Smith said.
“Planning rules should provide consistency in what can be built but also reflect the unique character of areas, including the desired future character.
“Communities must have a stronger say in how their suburbs are developed.”
Central Coast Council agenda 2.1, 22 Jul 2019
Interviews (Terry Collins), 9 and 23 July 2019
Jane Smith, Central Coast Council