I find it appalling that we still have people willing to mislead landowners as to the effects of having their land ‘down zoned’ from farmland to Environmental (‘E’ zones). In an article published in Echonetdaily on Friday, Greens MLC Jan Braham made the statement, ‘many landowners have been misinformed about the impacts the new draft local environment plans (LEPs) would have on farmland, as existing use rights still applied to agricultural land’.
Yes, correct; landowners do have existing use rights but what MLC Braham fails to inform you of is just how restrictive being down zoned to an E zone actually is. For instance a down-zoned farmer may not increase or intensify the use of their land without council consent. In many instances this will mean that a cattle farmer would not be able to crop their own land. Rezoning of the farmer’s land will also removed their right to exempt development resulting in even the smallest of sheds requiring council consent.
If they stop a farming practice for more than a year then a farmer will probably need consent to recommence. If you have a breach then your existing use rights may be removed entirely. But most importantly of all – remember this – your farm is no longer zoned ‘farmland’; it is now ‘environmental land’ and any development or changes you make must comply with the goals of this new zone!
The E zones are a disgrace; the landowner’s permission is not sought and compensation not paid.
My suggestion to these town- and city-based politicians that are pushing this environmental agenda: put your money where your mouth is, sell up your urban property, buy a farm and then apply to have it down zoned to environmental. Lead by example.
Lismore City councillor