The Daily/Warren Lynam

Green light for red light workers

SEX workers may be able to set up business next to your home and there may be nothing you can do to prevent it.

Under the Clarence Valley Council’s draft local environment plan (LEP), a home business containing two sex workers does not require development consent to set up in areas zoned residential, rural, forestry, neighbourhood centre or other zones.

Yamba resident and Valley Watch committee member Ronwyn Lopez, who wrote to The Daily Examiner with her concerns, said she did not want sex workers setting up business next to her home and suspected a lot of other residents would feel the same if they knew the contents of the draft LEP.

“I find it amazing,” she said.

She said she first learnt of the policy while doing a review of the LEP for a Valley Watch committee.

She did some homework and found the council’s draft maybe in breach of State planning guidelines.

She said there were two definitions of premises where sex workers could operate. One was ‘home occupation’ where one sex worker could operate and that did not need council consent. The other was ‘home occupation (sex services)’ where two people could operate as sex workers and Ms Lopez said that under State planning guidelines that should require planning consent.

But under the draft LEP it doesn’t.

Under the definitions used in the draft LEP, home occupation (sex services) means the provision of sex services in a dwelling that is a brothel, or in a building that is a brothel and is ancillary to such a dwelling, by no more than two permanent residents of the dwelling and that does not involve the employment of anyone other than residents, interference in the amenity of the neighbourhood, exhibition any notice, advertisement or sign, or; the sale of items.

Ms Lopez said that should not be allowed in residential areas.

“It should only be allowed in industrial zones where it meets set criteria,” she said.

She said it was possible under those definitions for a block of eight units to have two sex workers in each unit and that would be approved without council having to provide consent.

“There would be no restrictions on the hours of operations or the number of clients they could see,” she said.

She said if residents wanted to use the loss of amenity to a neighbourhood as grounds for objection, they would have to wait until the business was operating so they could demonstrate how amenity was affected.

Council strategic planning manager, David Morrison, said the council had no say in the definitions used in the document and that they were taken from a statutory local environment plan template provided by the State Government.

“We must adopt them, cannot delete them, nor can we change them or add other definitions,” he said.

He said submissions on the LEP technically closed on Friday, but the council would continue to take submissions this week.

He was not aware of the council having received any formal submissions on the sex worker component, but had not been through them all.

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