Tura rezoning clears first hurdle

The strength of the southern councillors’ vote assisted by the support of Cobargo councillor Tony Allen has seen the Bega Valley Shire Council resolve to rezone Lots 33 and 34 Tura Beach Drive from a residential zone to a B5 business development zone.

While it may pave the way for a Bunnings store development, it is the first step in what may be a lengthy and tortuous planning process as it enters the realm of the state’s planning bureaucracy.

Council’s planning staff are now in the process of preparing a formal planning proposal for the rezoning and once completed will forward to NSW Planning and Infrastructure for ‘gateway approval’. The ‘gateway approval’ is essentially the go-ahead to exhibit the proposal from NSW Planning.

At the April 16 council meeting Cr Michael Britten moved, “That council resolve to rezone Lots 33 and 34 DP243029 Tura Beach Drive, Tura Beach to a B5 Business Development Zone.”

It was seconded by Cr Allen.

”There is a changing and evolving dynamic in commercial centres,“ Cr Britten said. “The support for the rezoning has been given by the Merimbula Chamber of Commerce. Since the evolvement of the Woolworths complex and the development of that area the use of this land has changed quite dramatically. The location is suitable for B5 development.”

Greens councillor Keith Hughes spoke against the motion saying there had been public opposition to the zoning change because of its effect on the neighbours.

“I hope we stick with the original zoning.”

Cr Sharon Tapscott asked:  “If the council were to rezone the land for commercial use would there be the facility for a buffer of vegetation between any commercial development and any residential development.”

Group manager planning and environment Andrew Woodley answered in the affirmative.

He said the development application itself might include a buffer or council could require the inclusion of a buffer as a condition of consent.

Speaking in favour of the motion, Cr Kristy McBain said the entry to Tura Beach had become a commercial corridor.

“I do not believe that a residential subdivision could ever go ahead on that corner now. All the developments at the front of Tura Beach are now commercial enterprises including the aged care facility as it is a profit-making concern.”

Mayor Bill Taylor expressed his opposition to the rezoning.

“For me it is pretty straight forward.  When I was on council six or eight years ago we went through the process of developing the new LEP (Local Environmental Plan) and as a result of that and up until very recently it (the land) was designated it be large lot residential.  It is my understanding that the owner requested that all the land be changed to medium density residential.

“So the owner of the land until recent times wanted it to be medium density residential. He saw it as an opportunity to develop it as residential and that complies with council’s policies at the time and state policy at the time. To change the zoning from residential to business is contrary to the state Department of Planning policy for Tura Beach; it is contrary to council’s adopted town hierarchy; it is contrary to council’s commercial strategy and it is contrary to the South Coast Regional Strategy.

“These things did not pop out of thin air – they are the result of serious studies by previous councils to adopt strategies for the orderly development of the shire.

“The mere fact that the owner of the land now had a suggestion from a commercial developer, he wants the land now rezoned in a sudden change of mind.

“This is contrary to council policy and the expectations of people who have bought and developed land in that vicinity so if council is going to adopt this approach at the request of a commercial developer, where are we going with the proper development of this shire,” Cr Taylor asked.

The motion was put and it was carried.

In favour were: Crs Britten, McBain, Tapscott, Allen and Fitzpatrick.

Against were Crs Taylor, Hughes, Seckold and Mawhinney.

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