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PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE BLUE MOUNTAINS

CONTENTS


1. Planning and Development in the Blue Mountains

2. Blue Mountains Conservation Society's Planning and Development Resource Kit

3. Strategic planning - what's new?

• Draft Amendment No 1 to BMLEP 2015
• New Tourism Zone – SP3
• Local Housing Strategy
• R6 Residential Character Conservation Zone

4. Recent developments of concern

• Elphinstone (Radiata) Plateau, Pulpit Hill Road, Katoomba
• Cabin and associated tourism facilities, Fairmont Resort, Leura
• Land clearing, Woodford
• New dwelling 398 Great Western Highway, Katoomba
• Tourism buses at Leura
• St Columba's Subdivision, Winmalee
• 20 cluster houses at 60 Winnicoopa Rd, Blaxland

5. Blue Mountains City Council Election Vote for the Environment Campaign (September 2016)

Not a suburb of Sydney

1. Planning and Development in the Blue Mountains


Planning and development in the Blue Mountains is determined by two key documents.

1. Blue Mountains Local Environmental Plan 2015 (BMLEP 2015) which you can find here.
The BMLEP 2015 outlines:

• What type of developments can be built and where
• What level and type of assessment new developments must go through to get approval
• Development standards such as lot size, height and setback
• Provisions to protect the environment and heritage

The BMLEP 2015 is statutory instrument in other words all new development must comply with the provisions of the LEP.
It should be noted development in some urban areas is still governed by the old Blue Mountains LEP 2005 which can be found here.


2. Blue Mountains Development Control Plan 2015 (BMDCP 2015) which you can find here.

The BMDCP provides information and guidance on site analysis for new developments, and environmental, heritage and other development controls which apply to new developments.

The BMDCP 2015 is a policy document, so developments do not necessarily need to comply with the DCP, but it is a key tool Council uses when considering whether to grant development consent.

More information on the planning and development process in the Blue Mountains can be found on Council' website here.


 

2. Blue Mountains Conservation Society's Planning and Development Resource Kit


• Are you concerned about a new development occurring near you and want to make a submission to Council but don't know how?
• Are you worried that the clearing of bushland at the end of your street might be illegal but don't know who to report it to?
• Have you visited your local creek and are alarmed to see what looks like pollution but don't know what to do?
• Have you seen some illegal dumping of waste in bushland and want to report it?

The Society's Planning and Development Resource Kit ( which can be found here) can answer all these questions and more.

Members of the public often approach the Society for advice or help on environment-related matters that they are concerned about in their neighbourhood or in the mountains more broadly. This is a positive sign that Blue Mountains residents care about the environment and want to take action to protect it. The Society therefore developed the kit to help residents take appropriate action on environment-related matters and learn more about the legal frameworks and institutions regulating development in the Blue Mountains.

The Society encourages residents to be proactive. The most common way authorities find out about illegal clearing, pollution events, unapproved development and other environmental damage is through reports by concerned residents and individuals.


 

3. Strategic planning - what's new?

Council is moving forward on a number of specific amendments to BMLEP 2015.

Draft Amendment No 1 to BMLEP 2015

During the public exhibition process for BMLEP 2015, some sites were deferred from being included in the new LEP until Council had further considered issues raised during the public exhibition process. Draft Amendment 1 to BMLEP 2015 deals with some of these deferred sites. The Amendment outlines what zones, protected areas or lot sizes Council wishes apply to these particular sites.

Amendment 1 to BMLEP 2015 was publicly exhibited from 13 July 2016 to 10 August 2016 (information on Council's website can be found here). The Society's submission can be found here.

New Tourism Zone – SP3

At the Council Meeting on 29 March 2016, Council voted to move forward on introducing a new intensive large scale tourism zone in the Blue Mountains called Special Purpose 3 Tourist (SP3), and identified in a Options Paper a number of existing tourism sites that could be rezoned SP3 (the Council Report from the 29 March 2016 Council meeting can be found here).

The Society made a submission to the Options Paper arguing that many of the sites identified were unsuitable for intensive tourism development, and opposed applying the SP3 zone in the Blue Mountains (submission can be found here).
Council has now reviewed the public submissions and has voted to commence the process to introduce the SP3 Tourist zone, which allows for intensive tourism development, into LEP 2015.

Council recommended that the following sites be re-zoned SP3:

  • Blackheath Caravan Park: Parts of this Council managed caravan park currently zoned RE1 Public Recreation and R2 Low Density Residential.

  • Hydro Majestic Hotel, Medlow Bath: Parts of the site currently zoned R1 General Residential and lower density residential/environmental E3 and E4 zones.

  • Scenic World, Katoomba: Parts of the site currently zoned RE2 Private Recreation.

  • Fairmont Resort, Leura: Parts of the site currently RE2 Private Recreation.

In addition, Council also resolved to proceed with rezoning a number of other tourism sites, but not to SP3.
These additional sites include:

  • Parklands Blackheath: Currently low density residential/environmental E4, proposed to be rezoned R1 higher density residential and tourist accommodation.

  • Church Missionary Society Conference Centre Violet St Katoomba: Currently low density residential/environmental E4 and E2 Environmental Conservation, proposed to be rezoned RE2 Private Recreation.

  • International Hotel School, Fitzroy St Leura: Currently zoned low density residential, proposed to be rezoned R1 higher density residential and tourist accommodation.

  • Echo Point Motor Inn: Currently zoned low density residential, proposed to be rezoned R1 higher density residential and tourist accommodation.

A planning proposal is currently being developed by Council staff outlining the above rezoning proposals which will come back to Council in a couple of months for approval. Once approved, the planning proposal will then be forwarded to the new State government planning body for Sydney – the Greater Sydney Commission – who need to approve it before it goes through to a public exhibition process. The community will then have the opportunity to comment and make submissions on all the proposed rezonings outlined above.

Local Housing Strategy

The Society understands Blue Mountains City Council is currently working toward preparing a Residential Local Housing Strategy (LHS), including a consultation process with the community. This is consistent with the recent NSW Government's requirement that local councils determine how to meet the housing needs of their communities, including identifying areas for increased housing densities. The Society understands that the NSW Government, as part of the wider planning for Greater Sydney, will place new housing projections or targets on councils including the Blue Mountains. Proposals to apply housing targets to the Blue Mountains have been controversial in the past, and the Society believes the development of a Local Housing Strategy will be critical in terms of determining where new housing, including new subdivisions and medium density, will occur.

R6 Residential Character Conservation Zone

As part of the development of BMLEP 2015, Council developed a new residential zone – R6 Residential Character Conservation Zone – specifically in order to protect the iconic leafy residential streets of the Blue Mountains, containing character housing set on large lots with traditional gardens. This new zone was not included in BMLEP 2015 as this required an amendment to the state-wide LEP template and the new zone was deferred for further consideration. This means the existing zoning under BMLEP 2005 for these areas has been retained.

Council has now developed a Planning Proposal to add the R6 zone to LEP 2015 via an amendment and to make consequent changes to the state-wide LEP template. Council is now waiting for approval from the new State government planning body for Sydney – the Greater Sydney Commission – to proceed with the R6 Planning Proposal, including a public exhibition process. A copy of the R6 Planning Proposal and the relevant Council decision from the March 29, 2016 Council meeting can be found here.

The Society welcomes the development of the R6 Planning Proposal which brings the R6 Residential Character Zone one step closer to ultimately being included in LEP 2015.



4. Recent developments of concern

The Society makes submissions on proposals or developments which are large and complex and which the Society believes will have a significant negative environmental impact. Recent submissions include:

  • Elphinstone (Radiata) Plateau, Pulpit Hill Road, Katoomba
    The Society has long campaigned for the conservation of the Plateau. You can read about the history of the Plateau and the Society's current campaign to save the Plateau in the August Hut News here.

    The site's owner – Maharishi's Global Administration Through Natural Law Ltd – have lodged three recent development applications for the Plateau:

    Numbers X/611/2015 and X/612/2015 (Construction of two X 4 bedroom dwellings)
    (see the Society's submission here) and
    Development Application No. X/709/2015 (Construction of one X 4 bedroom dwelling)
    (see the Society's submission here).
    See a recent Gazette article on the Plateau here.

    The Society is about to launch a major new campaign to save the Plateau from development and ensure ongoing public access. Watch this space!

  • Cabin and associated tourism facilities, Fairmont Resort, Leura
    The Society recently wrote to Council raising concerns about a development the Fairmont has commenced on the boundary of the national park, which the Fairmont commenced without any environmental assessment or development consent. Council subsequently fined the Fairmont. The Fairmont has now lodged a DA to allow the development to proceed.

    You can see the Society's letters here and here and Council's reply here.
    See the Society's submission to the Development Application lodged by the Fairmont Resort (No: X/790/2016) here and the letter sent to the National Parks and Wildlife Service here
    See a recent Gazette article here.


  • Land clearing at Woodford
    The Society wrote to Council and the Minister for the Environment raising concerns about possible illegal land clearing at Old Bathurst Road, Woodford (see the Society's letter here). Council replied and confirmed that the clearing was carried out without consent (click here) as did the Minister. See a recent Gazette article here.

  • New dwelling 398 Great Western Highway, Katoomba
    The Society wrote to Council (click here) expressing concerns about the impact of this development on a section of the Grand Clifftop Walk, which runs through the site. Council has since written to the Society committing to creating and registering on the title a Right of Way over the land to ensure continued public access to this section of the Grand Clifftop Walk.

  • Tourism buses at Leura
    The Council has proposed a number of options to resolve issues of tourism bus parking at Leura. The Society made a submission opposing Option 11 due to the unacceptable impacts on Rest Park and the swamp and environmentally sensitive land east of the park. You can see the Society's submission here. On 26 July 2016, Council decided not to pursue Option 11 (see the Council decision here).

  • St Columba's Subdivision, Winmalee
    Development Application No: S/30/2013. For the Society's submission click here. This development was approved in December 2015 –see the Council decision here.

  • 20 cluster houses at 60 Winnicoopa Rd Blaxland
    Development Application No: X/1114/2015.For the Society's submission click here.

 



5. Blue Mountains City Council Election – Vote for the Environment Campaign (September 2016)

In a bid to gauge opinions of the leading candidates in the Blue Mountains City Council Election, the Society distributed a questionnaire comprising of twenty questions relating to local environmental and conservation matters.  Each candidate was also given the opportunity to provide a brief statement on their personal conservation values. There were 19 leading candidates across the 4 wards, and all but one candidate replied.

The questions posed ranged from natural area management to planning and development; from waste to tourism; and from the Western Sydney Airport to CSG.

We also prepared a Report Card assessing the Council's performance over the past 4 years based on our 2012 Questionnaire. 

The Report Card and the candidates' questionnaires and responses, on a Ward by Ward basis, can be viewed in detail at our dedicated election website here.