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May 18, 2021

Lismore to allow dual occupancy on rural land

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Rural ratepayers in the Lismore local government area (LGA) will be pleased to hear that councillors voted unanimously last night to amend the local environment plan (LEP) to allow boundary adjustments and the consideration of detached dual occupancies in rural areas.

Councillor Graham Meineke put forward the notice of motion because ‘the new LEP… is not flexible enough to permit local peculiarities such as boundary adjustments with more than 10 per cent change to the zone’s minimum area’.

‘Up until February 28 this year, farmers were permitted to do these adjustments. The new LEP is statewide and very inflexible regarding this,’ said Cr Meineke.

The ‘Imagine Lismore’ process unveiled a demand for rural landholders to have a second dwelling on their property, which is currently not permitted under the new LEP.

Cr Meineke said, ‘Farmers are getting older and don’t want to move to town. They want their family to be able to live on the property and work it for them. At the moment they have to live in a house that is connected to the main house by a breezeway or a double garage 6m wide.

‘However, a resident at [suburban] Richmond Hill who wants to have a second dwelling, can site that dwelling 80m away. It seems incongruous that you can do that in Richmond Hill but in one thin boundary line away on the farmland on the other side, you can’t.’

Lismore City Council (LCC) strategic planning coordinator Paula Newman told councillors that a workshop would be required to handle the dual occupancy issue in the LEP.

‘The department has indicated that other councils have got detached dual occupancies in their rural zones. However, the concerns are that it could lead to further subdivision. A workshop could further explore this.

‘Council also needs to explore the implications as I think it will be quite popular… there could be hundreds of applications. Does that have impacts on roads and other farmland? It could have positive impacts on increasing the workforce in rural areas.’

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