Decision deferred on changes to 'iconic' development site
UPDATE, 3pm: A COMMUNITY leader has urged Ballina Shire Council to secure more open space as part of a planning proposal before them.
The proposal for planning changes as Skennars Head was deferred by councillors for a later determination at their meeting today.
Lennox Head Residents Association Monica Wilcox fronted the meeting about the proposal.
"This deputation is not anti-development," Ms Wilcox said.
"It's a call to make a development consider its community obligations.
"This is a high visibility coastal locality.
"This is an iconic stretch of coastline."
Ms Wilcox said there was a "need for residents to have a community identity instead of just another car-dependent strip suburbia".
She said terms such as "affordable housing were being used by the developer as a way of "increasing yields for overdevelopment".
"We're not against development," she said.
"This is in context of the entire shire.
"(We) should not have to endure the rules changing at every DA."
Jenny Rudolphe from Elton Consulting spoke on behalf of Melbourne-based developer Intrapac Property.
She urged councillors to support the staff recommendation to endorse the rezoning.
"We've worked with council and listened," she said.
"We've changed the floor space ratio.
"We believe that's an appropriate scale and height.
"We know that there is demand."
Ms Rudolphe said the development was "set back from the coastal area" and they had allowed "more than adequate open space for the R2 zone as well as the R3 zone."
She said they were required to provide 6000 sq m of open space, but were providing 13,000 sq m.
UPDATE, 2.20pm: A DECISION on a planning proposal for Skennars Head has been deferred.
Ballina Shire councillor Sharon Cadwallader originally supported a staff recommendation to approve the changes, but said she'd like to see the commercial area reduced in size.
"It has a long history, this rezoning," she said.
"Then council went in to bat for the community in the early stage of this development, it was taken out of council's hands.
"That's because the council was pushing so hard for what we felt the community wanted.
"It's an iconic site, there's no doubt about that."
The proposed changes would include the rezoning of parts of a property known as Stewart's Farm, with the application of business and medium density residential zones in the Skennars Head Expansion Area.
The council received 81 submissions about the proposal during the submission period.
The original motion lapsed, and Cr Nathan Willis suggested they defer the matter "to give further consideration to a reduction in neighbourhood commercial zone".
Cr Phillip Meehan said the commercial floor space was already limited to 5400 sq m.
"The initial discussion was about reducing the commercial floor space to 5000," he said.
"We're already there.
"This is a briefing and a discussion about nothing.
"The other thing I find really disappointing (is) we have been…working with the proponent here.
"There have been some discussions there in good faith."
Cr Ben Smith said they were also trying to develop the Lennox Head CBD and raised concerns about commercial areas that would detract from that.
"This has had a very prickly and long history," he said.
"The bottom line is, I'm fine with the development but I think we (can) get a better deal."
Cr Keith Williams said it was "quite reasonable" they defer their decision.
"I think we should be trying to make this retail centre smaller," he said.
Crs Sharon Cadwallader, Keith Williams, Nathan Willis, Jeff Johnson and Ben Smith voted for the deferral.
Original story: TWO planning changes for part of the Ballina coast will be considered at a council meeting today.
Ballina Shire Council will first consider a planning proposal for the Skennars Head Expansion Area.
The proposed changes would include the rezoning of parts of a property known as Stewart's Farm, with the application of business and medium density residential zones.
Councillors resolved to endorse the proposal and to submit it for gateway determination with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment in December last year.
That determination was granted on February 15 this year.
The proposal was placed on public exhibition from August 8 until September 28.
According to the council's report, they received a total of 81 submissions during this time.
The planning proposal includes a B1 "neighbourhood centre" zone of about 13,200 sq m and a medium density residential zone of 29,250 sq m.
It also includes changing an 870 sq m area of land that's currently zoned B1 to medium density residential.
The council's staff have recommended councillors endorse proposed changes to the Ballina Local Environmental Plan 2012 and allow staff to finalise and implement the proposal.
Also at today's meeting, councillors will consider a proposed voluntary planning agreement, also for the Skennars Head Expansion Area.
It's expected this will be discussed in a confidential session.
Ballina Shire Council will meet at the Cherry St chamber from 9am today.