Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson is concerned that calls to delay the draft Byron LEP, or pull it off exhibition altogether, could saddle the community with additional expenses.
And planning manager Ray Darney has moved to assure ratepayers there would be a further exhibition period once the issue of environmental zones on farming land is resolved.
There have been a number of community complaints about the draft LEP since its release, particularly around the issue of environmental zones on farming land, and councillors are receiving petitions from landowners to extend the exhibition period to allow them to make more comprehensive and detailed submissions to council.
The draft plan is currently on exhibition until November 23 and Byron Council is determined to press on with the LEP process, which it has been funded to do in a timely way, according to mayor Richardson.
‘Council has received $30,000 from the Department of Planning and Infrastructure acceleration funding to place the draft Byron LEP on exhibition. A further $60,000 funding from the state department was given to complete the draft LEP to an agreed timeline.
‘A delay in the process may mean that we have to give back the government funding. It would not be a sound financial option to delay this process any longer,’ he said.
Last month the state government stepped in and ‘excised’ the E-zones from private property on all north coast draft LEPs until the state has undertaken further investigation. The move has upset environmentalists, who see it as the last opportunity to safeguard the region’s unique biodiversity.
While mayor Richardson acknowledged that there was a significant amount of information to absorb on the draft LEP, he urged residents who are concerned out the proposed E2 and E3 environmental zones on their land to make an appointment with a council planner.
He encouraged all residents to put in a submission so that the council could make an informed decision on the community’s concerns regarding the proposed environmental zones.
In response to the petitions to council, executive manager of planning Ray Darney said that councillors were aware of the need to consider alternatives to the proposed E2 and E3 zones
‘As a means of attaining views for an alternative position that council might put to the minister,’ said Mr Darney, ‘it is intended that a workshop will be held on Saturday 17 November to look at solutions to rural and environmental zones.’
Mr Darney said a further public exhibition would be required when an altered position is found.
‘People should ensure that they write to Council prior to 23 November outlining what their key issues are with respect to their lands and whether they favour or do not favour the proposed draft LEP as it affects them,’ Mr Darney said.
The draft Byron LEP 2012 has been out on public exhibition since Monday 24 September and closes 23 November. Council planning staff can be contacted on 02 6626 7126.
Information to help inform submissions can be found on Council’s website www.byron.nsw.gov.au.