The area of land zoned for environmental protection in the Tweed under proposed changes to the shire’s major planning blueprint has not changed, according to Tweed Shire Council’s chief planner.
Instead, council has adapted new state government environmental classifications, which include new maps for biodiversity and steep land to help guide landowners, council planning director Vince Connell said.
The Tweed’s draft Local Environment Plan (LEP) 2012 went on display yesterday for 60 days for public comment, and council will also hold information sessions to encourage community input.
Other far north coast councils have already placed their LEPs on exhibition as part of a major review of the system by the state, due by mid next year.
But planning minister Brad Hazzard recently excised new E2 and E3 biodiversity zones from the plans of five of these councils, including the Tweed, for further review, after lobbying by some landowners who feared farming could be restricted and their land devalued.
The controversial intervention sparked campaigns in Byron Shire by rural landowner groups in support of their removal and environmentalists who say the deletion of the two zones will risk the protection of wetlands, native forest and wildlife corridors.
Mr Connell said it was vital that property owners and organisations assessed how the zonings and other provisions in the new plan impacted on them, and provide feedback.
He said the draft LEP ‘underpins all other strategic planning decisions and documents for this local government area by outlining the land uses and development standards for all Tweed Shire land outside the Tweed city centre’.
During the first public exhibition of the draft in 2010, hundreds of submissions were received.
The draft is based on a template prepared by the state government to standardise the format, zones and definitions for all councils in NSW.
Mr Connell said the local context of the plan was derived from the current plan (Tweed LEP 2000) ‘and several local strategies consulted with the community and adopted by council in the past few years’.
‘The draft Tweed LEP 2012 has been created as a “best fit” for our local zones and other provisions within that standardised template.
‘That includes the provision of environmental protection zones. The area of land zoned for environmental protection has not changed from the current plan; council has just adapted the new environmental classifications contained in the template.
‘However, it does include new maps for biodiversity and steep land, to help offer guidance to landowners.’
Mr Connell said a special page on Council’s website (www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/) and a series of fact sheets would also help encourage feedback.
The information sessions will be held at venues and dates to be announced.
For further information, visit the Tweed LEP 2012 webpage at www.tweed.nsw.gov.au or call council’s Planning Reform Unit on 02 6670 2503.