Push for a denser Yamba



PLANS to release land in West Yamba to accommodate the predicted population boom have been on the drawing board for 10 years but land owners and council remain divided over the area's future.

Earlier this week, Clarence Valley councillors were expected to endorse a draft plan that would permit developers to build no more than 10 dwellings per hectare -- accommodating roughly 2500 new Yamba residents.

The endorsement from councillors and a subsequent move to seek State Government approval to publicly exhibit the plan would have heralded a significant step forward in the West Yamba saga.

Council had already taken plans for residential development west of Carrs Drive to the State Government back in 2001.

Back then council was working on a plan that would provide housing for around 4600 people but the State Government suggested council ask the people of Yamba what they thought of that figure first before the green light could be given to developers.

Almost 1100 residents responded to council's survey -- 38 per cent of whom said they would prefer no population growth at all.

Council decided that meant the other 62 per cent would be open to the idea and settled on a scaled down figure of 2000 people (working on the 10 dwellings per hectare) would be acceptable.

But landholders are continuing to fight for larger lot yields on their land.

They argue that State Government urban design guidelines for the North Coast issued in 2000 suggest 15 dwellings per hectare is reasonable for modern residential development -- a similar example in Yamba would be the Beachside estate.

What's more, some landholders say they would be happy with 12 or 13 dwellings per hectare despite the 15 prescribed in the guidelines.

The social flow on effects from larger lot sizes, they said, would also be felt.

They argued that the larger lots would price buyers out of the market and make it difficult for young families and retirees to afford to live in the area.

In the days leading up to Tuesday's council meeting in Maclean, a number of landholders, town planners and associated developers 'bombarded' councillors with information pleading their case to seek a deferral on the draft plan.

It worked.

Councillors voted 7-2 (with Crs Flanagan and McKenzie opposing) to defer the draft local environment plan for another month in order to allow the issue to be settled.

It should be noted that Mayor Ian Tiley, whose views on the West Yamba development have been widely known since his time on the former Maclean Shire Council, was not approached for his support.

Cr McKenzie had earlier questioned the environmental implications attached to the development after quoting a figure that estimated 270,000 truckloads of fill would be needed to service the new area.

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