The Central Coast could have a new, more uniform, policy on tree and vegetation management, if a recommendation from officers to be considered on August 12 is endorsed by councillors.
The report recommends a new chapter be inserted into the Wyong and Gosford Development Control Plans (DCPs) of 2013, making vegetation management consistent across the region.
The new chapter has refined exemptions under the DCP to “enable landowners to conduct domestic garden maintenance while protecting their assets in a simple and timely manner”.
Council’s website will specify “evidence requirements” for removals, and landowners will be encouraged to provide replacement native tree planting on site, where appropriate.
Additional exemptions allow for removal of trees less than 3m from approved buildings, the removal of dead and dying trees in R1, R2 and R3 residential zones, and the removal of undesirable or weed species.
Council’s website will also provide information for landowners to ensure that appropriate care can be made available for any resident animals during vegetation removal or pruning.
The exemptions will not apply when the tree or vegetation species is: a threatened species; a habitat tree for threatened fauna species; part of an endangered ecological community, for which a Biodiversity Conservation Licence is required; forms part of a heritage item, an Aboriginal object, an Aboriginal place of heritage significance, or is within a heritage conservation area.
The new chapter will apply generally to urban areas and environmentally zoned lands or non-rural zones.
It also identifies exemptions available through a variety of existing NSW legislation provisions, including bushfire hazard reduction works, 10/50 clearing, other planning authority, electricity network maintenance, State Emergency Service and other emergency work, approved forestry, survey work, conservation agreements, water management and road approvals.
The chapter identifies minor works which may be carried out to enable residents to conduct normal garden maintenance.
Where no exemption applies, a permit can be issued by Council for the works, which may be subject to compliance with certain conditions.
A draft of the chapter was exhibited between November, 2018, and February, 2109, and attracted more than 200 submissions.
The report says that the submissions revealed that the major area of community interest was the assessment of “dead, dying or dangerous exemptions”, but Council officers said an AQF 3 trade level arborist was an appropriate qualification level to certify the exemptions available.
Agenda item 2.2
Central Coast Council Ordinary Meeting, Aug 12