Last-minute bid to save residential subdivision plan
UPDATE, Wednesday, 7.10am: A PROPOSAL to rezone regionally significant farmland into residential lots, which was flagged to be scrapped, was saved in a last minute bid at Richmond Valley Council meeting last night.
The plan for the site, on Darke Lane at Swan Bay, has been on council books since 2015.
In a report to the council, development and environment manager Andrew Hanna recommended councillors determine the discontinuance of the planning proposal which proposes to rezone the land to RU5-Large Lot Residential from RU1-Primary Production.
"Since popping up in business paper we've had contact from the applicant who has provided additional useful information," general manager Vaughan Macdonald said.
"As there is no pressing need for council's perspective to deal with this matter tonight I am proposing that it be deferred so we have some time to consider that information to see whether that changes the position.
"There is no time imperative from council's perspective, so we are prepared to give them more time."
Original story: A PROPOSAL to rezone regionally significant farmland into residential lots will be discussed at tonight's Richmond Valley Council meeting.
But the plan for the site, on Darke Lane at Swan Bay, seems unlikely to get the tick of approval.
In a report to the council, development and environment manager Andrew Hanna explains the proposal has been "unable to satisfactorily address concerns raised by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Agriculture that potential future land use conflict will occur within a productive agricultural landscape".
"The immediate area of the property and surrounds is notably used for sugar cane cropping and the proposal represents a potential loss of important prime agricultural land," Mr Hanna wrote.
"The matter has been referred to and discussed in some detail with DPI and despite the applicant being given ample opportunity to address concerns, the issues remain unresolved.
"Without the support of DPI Agriculture and Council the planning proposal may not progress."
The proposal was submitted to the council in December 2015 and was sent to relevant agencies for comment early the following year.
Mr Hanna said all discussions with the applicant had emphasised the importance of demonstrating suitability with the surrounding agricultural land uses.
He said concerns about the proposal were raised early in the process.
"The land has been cropped for sugarcane production every year as evidenced by aerial photography stretching back many decades," he wrote.
"Ongoing agricultural cropping clearly indicates the land is productive farmland right up to the very edge and including areas of the 'footprint' indicated by a preliminary layout of the development.
"Impacts are likely to be realised, not only the direct loss of viable agricultural land (sugarcane), but also impacts upon adjoining land due to distinct lack of separation buffers.
"The development will be located within and amongst a viable agricultural landscape which has been consistently cropped for profit.
"It is unlikely a history of cropping of this scale and nature would be maintained if the land was unviable."
If the applicants are not satisfied with the council and the department's assessment of the proposal, they will be able to make representations directly to the Department of Planning and Environment for a review.