The controversial rezoning of rural land surrounding Mooball which is set to increase the size of the village tenfold has been pushed ahead, despite council planning staff recommendation and resident pleas to increase the proposed lot size.
Residents, planning staff and some councillors wanted the minimum lot size to be increased from the developer’s proposed 450 square metres to 700 square metres in order to maintain the rural character and amenity of the village.
Critics say the smaller lot sizes was sought by the developers, a consortium of landowners of surrounding farmland, to maximising their profits, and that much of the land is flood prone.
But at Tweed Shire Council’s last meeting, Cr Barry Longland, supported by the pro-development faction of Crs Warren Polglase, Phil Youngblutt and Carolyn Byrne, overruled the staff recommendation and voted to continue with the proposal.
Residents held a public meeting recently where they aired frustration that submissions and petitions were ignored by councillors pushing for the rezoning.
And a political/business group formed some years ago called the ‘Mooball Moovers’, which lobbied for the development, folded suddenly last week after some locals sought to be part of the group and attend the group’s meetings.
Tweed mayor Gary Bagnall last week also tried to tabled a report outlining some of the history of the controversial proposed rezoning which is scathing of the process adopted by councillors voting for it and how planning policies were ignored.
But Cr Bagnall’s mayoral minute/report was shot down by the four councillors backing the rezoning.
It concludes by saying the process of community consultation and engagement, ‘along with development of policies, strategies and plans to achieve sustainable development and healthy communities is a total waste of the community’s time, council resources and taxpayer money when decision makers see no truth, hear no truth, with the only priority being in the interest of vested interests’.
The report began by saying most of the Mooball community was not opposed to development, ‘they simply want the constraints properly addressed and retain the rural character and amenity of the Mooball village and generally were satisfied and appreciated the council officers’ report and recommendations to council of July 2, 2015, acknowledging their genuine concerns’.
A number of submissions on the plan noted the impact of the smaller-sized (400 square metres) lots on the village’s rural character and conflict with agricultural land
Locals say a flood assessment and bushfire report were not provided for public comment, and that a staff recommendation to increase the lot sizes of an area closest to existing houses to act as a buffer with nearby agricultural operation, were also ignored.