Extraordinary meetings see changes to LEP

Extraordinary meetings see changes to LEP

Hilltops Council has voted to endorse its Local Environmental Plan (LEP), harmonising the three plans that currently govern the region, but not without a number of changes across two extraordinary meetings.

The LEP was initially passed at council's Ordinary Meeting on August 25 however a number of Hilltops residents raised concerns in public forum.

In a submission against the motion, Edwina Beveridge said that mapping included in the LEP needed to be properly ground-proofed to avoid accidentally hampering future developments.

"There are two maps the first is ground water vulnerability, that map shows an area marked in blue which is considered groundwater vulnerable area," she said.

"The second map that I was concerned about was the biodiversity map, it shows a huge amount of biodiversity areas in our shire, in fact I would say it's bordering on 40 per cent of the shire being covered.

"I'm a bit concerned about the transparency on this mapping and what basis it was formed with.

"I'm worried about what problems it may cause for the future, for ourselves and other people wanting to invest or build, in the Hilltops shire."

Council originally voted to remove the sections of the LEP which featured this mapping, 7.2 terrestrial biodiversity and 7.4 groundwater vulnerability, however at the September 8 extraordinary meeting, those sections were returned to bring the LEP in line with the practice of other regional and rural councils in the state.

Also speaking against the motion, Aditya Jhunjhunwala said rezoning of industrial land used by his company Causmag would effect its ability to continue to operate.

"Within the LEP is the proposed rezoning of our land, that rezoning will most likely wipe out millions of dollars every year in economic contribution to Hilltops Council," he said.

"However that can be prevented by you, today we urge you to zone our land as industrial and complete a process which has been pending before 2010.

"We have offered a number of times to change our zone to residential once our plant is ready to be relocated.

"However zoning to a recreational zone will almost certainly lead to our bank to withdraw credit facilities, without which we cannot operate.

"It would also jeopardise our current loan application to purchase a photometric ore sorter which is a must for our survival.

"If the value of our land is lost as a result of a rezoning which prevents it's sale at the same price that our current zone allows the security held by our bank is greatly reduced and our current finance facilities could be withdrawn."

Councillor Chris Manchester also echoed Mr Jhunjhunwala's concerns.

"I believe we are doing the wrong thing by reclassifying this land as recreational," he said.

Despite an amendment to the LEP at the August 25 meeting for Causmag's land to remain industrial, a motion passed at the September 8 extraordinary meeting resulted in the land being rezoned to RE2 private recreation.

Council has also requested the landowners submit appropriate documentation for a site specific planning proposal within 12 months.

Other change made to the post exhibition LEP includes the need for council permission for horticulture on land zoned as RU1 and RU4.

The September 1 extraordinary meeting also removed a previous amendment made at the August 25 ordinary meeting to rezone DP 10763, DP 1182735 and DP 753624 from RU1 to R5.

The removal of the amendment was due to the fact councillors voted against a proposal to specify lot numbers and the minimum lot sizes for the rezoned areas.