Council will once again approach NSW Planning and Environment to request the rezoning of lots 33 and 34 DP243029 Tura Beach Drive, Tura Beach to a B5 Business Development Zone after a close vote at the council meeting produced a positive result for Wesfarmers in its bid to see a Bunnings established on the site.
Almost two years to the day there was the same show of hands to rezone the block; in the last attempt, NSW Planning and Environment rejected the application by council to rezone the site.
Privately there is a belief that Wesfarmers would not have purchased the site unless it was fairly confident of getting the changes agreed. In order to allow Bunnings to build a hardware store on the site, the zoning must be changed. Council must first agree that it should be changed before submitting the proposal to NSW Planning and Environment Department. The first hurdle has been crossed at the council meeting but it was not without considerable debate.
In opening the debate councillor Bill Taylor said that the staff report was “fairly truncated” but group manager planning and environment, Andrew Woodley said that the staff position remained unchanged with a recommendation for the site to be zoned for medium density housing (not a hardware store).
“The proposal is the same but supported by a detailed planning proposal from a planning consultant. It addresses the reasons for refusal two years ago but the staff position is not all reasons for refusal are overcome,” Mr Woodley said.
Asked what would happen if council supported rezoning the site, Mr Woodley explained that the documentation would be sent to the gateway panel and they would make the determination.
“It will be their decision. If they wish to proceed they will send it back to us and forward the public notification requirements.”
In proposing, and speaking to, the motion to forward the proposal to NSW Planning, councillor Russell Fitzpatrick said that now council had the plans from the company that was going to develop the land.
“We have a definite proposal and a site plan and economic analysis,” he said.
Councillor Keith Hughes though was against the motion.
“It’s pretty much an identical proposal. The location is the wrong place for this sort of development. There’s the potential for land use conflict as per the reason NSW Planning knocked it back before,” he said.
The mayor, Michael Britten said he believed the new proposal addressed the issues raised by NSW Planning. “I’ve looked at the figures and believe it’s entirely reasonable. I think it’s a complementary position. The Bunnings noise will be minimal; if it was residential there would be more cars.”
He said that he endorsed the proposal and believed that local suppliers and even nursery owners endorsed it too.
Councillor Liz Seckold said she completely agreed with the reasons given by NSW Planning last time. “Bega is the regional centre and this is next to retirement village. The impact on the local nursery will be severe,” she said.
“The dynamics of the area changed when Woolworths opened at Tura Beach,” councillor Sharon Tapscott said. “We can deal with the amenity for the retirement village, it will be easier with one owner rather than the owners of multiple homes in a medium density housing environment.”
But councillor Ann Mawhinney said: “It’s hard to believe anyone bought a house believing it was to be an industrial area. I’m not against large bulky goods services but this is an inappropriate site.”
Councillor Kristy McBain said that Tura Beach had changed significantly and the average age had come down. “If the zoning remains that block will be empty for a very long time; no one will build homes facing that road,” she said in reference to Sapphire Coast Drive.
“Tura Beach is one of the fastest growing areas of the shire This is a zoning issue, it’s not about what goes on the land, it’s a zoning matter only. It’s inappropriate for it to remain as it is now given how the rest has developed.”
Cr Taylor said: “What I see here is council moving to satisfy that developer. If they want to take a chance on rezoning that’s down to them. Even if the application goes through, they will only use three quarters of the land. There is the prospect of a number of developments and if it is rezoned it could be light industries or even restricted premises. We’re not talking about a Bunnings but any number of uses.”
The motion was carried when councillor Tony Allen voted as he did previously, along with Crs Britten, Fitzpatrick, Tapscott and McBain while Crs Taylor, Mawhinney, Hughes and Seckold voted against the motion.
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