A major landowner has asked Tweed Shire Council to help it draw up a master plan to rezone and develop 170 hectares of rural land south of Pottsville into the next new township on the Tweed Coast.
The unusual request for the help with the major urban development will be considered by Tweed councillors next week when they debate the future of land around the grazing and sand mining property known as Dunloe Park, earmarked years ago for urban expansion years ago under state and local planning strategies.
If and when developed into hundreds of new homes, the Dunloe Park urban release area would continue the southward coastal housing ‘ribbon’ east of the Pacific Highway toward Byron shire.
Tweed councillors in March considered the request from the Pottsville Development Corporation (PDC), which owns 40 per cent of the developable, or capable of residential development area of the large parcel of land, to progress master planning for it’s rezoning and staged development.
Another developer, Ramtech Pty Ltd, owns the remainder of the land proposed for urban rezoning.
But councillors were told Ramtech would not contribute to the cost of the master plan, which staff planners say would be around $250,000 to $300,000, a cost which they’ve recommended not be borne by council.
Staff planners have also recommended they investigate the strategic land use of the property and help the developer (PDC) in drawing up the master plan (at no cost to council), subject to community input in the process and public exhibition of a draft before final endorsement.
Council’s chief planner Vince Connell said in his report to be considered at next Thursday’s meeting that because the company would bear the final cost for the master plan by itself, it believed would increase its ‘commercial risk exposure of investing in the strategic development phase’.
Mr Connell said ‘PDC are therefore looking to reduce that risk by seeking a clear direction from council regarding its support for a planning proposal subsequent to the completion of a suitable master plan’.
He said his recommendations would provide ‘both PDC with a greater level of certainty about the level of council support for advancing the redevelopment of their land, and to provide council with the opportunity to firstly appraise the merits of the master-planning process proposal to the (planning) department’s Gateway’.
‘Therefore it is recommended that council support the Pottsville Development Corporation with their strategic master-planning of the entire release area, following which council may, at the request of the proponent, consider whether to endorse the final master plan,’ Mr Connell said.
Council planners have forecast in other reports that Dunloe Park could have around 975 dwellings in 2023-2036.
The release area planners say has ‘estimated net development area’ of about 169ha and has long been identified for future urban purposes, first nominated for such use in the 1991 Tweed Shire Residential Strategy then later adopted version of the state’s Far North Coast Regional Strategy 2006 and Council’s own Tweed Urban and Employment Land Release Strategy in 2009 for investigation in the short-term (up to 10 years).
The developer’s (PDC) report says their plan acknowledges ‘that the future growth in Pottsville will be predominantly within the Dunloe Park Urban Release Area, with projected housing supply in the order of between 1,800 and 2,600 dwellings (potentially housing up to 5,000 to 6,000 persons), which would make the population in the next 20 years or so in the vicinity of 10,000-12,000 persons’.
The current population of Pottsville is around 7,000, the report says, and its ‘growth in population in the last 15 years has basically come about as a result of the development of Pottsville Waters, Sea Breeze Estate and Black Rocks Estate’.
The lands were also again identified in the 2010 Pottsville Locality Plan and the 2012 Tweed Coast Wastewater Strategy.
In their bid, PDC says that ‘further, the Pottsville Locality Plan and the Tweed Urban and Employment Land Release Strategy (TUELRS) also identify that any such future development should give detailed consideration to the facilitation of medium density areas, affordable housing, employment opportunities and community facilities such as schools, child care centres and public open space etc.
They said that ‘importantly’, the adopted strategy identified the rezoning of the Dunloe Park Urban Release Area
as being a short term priority.
‘To date the supply of land for housing in Pottsville has been Pottsville Waters, Black Rocks Estate and Sea Breeze Estate with Black Rocks Estate recently sold out, with the final stage of Sea Breeze Estate soon to be completed (within approximately six months).
‘There is no doubt that once this final stage is complete in Sea Breeze Estate, housing affordability in Pottsville will be compromised by increased house and land prices driven by supply and demand factors.
‘It is vitally important therefore that a staged release of land in the Dunloe Park Urban Release Area over the next 15 to 20 years be put in place now. The first step is development and approval of a Master Plan for the area’, the PDC submission said.