Praise for council role as plan goes on exhibition

A new planning document to guide land use and development in the Blue Mountains went on public exhibition today, December 4.

Blue Mountains City Council’s Draft Local Environmental Plan (DLEP) 2013 has been the subject of long negotiations with the state government.

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill said the council’s DLEP 2013 has been prepared in response to the NSW Government requirement for all councils in NSW to prepare a new plan based on a standard template.

“The DLEP 2013 is essentially a conversion of council’s existing planning documents into a single, comprehensive LEP for the city that complies with the NSW Government’s standard format, while maintaining the key provisions in our current LEPs,” he said.

“In doing this, council has made a considerable effort to ensure the DLEP 2013 is a ‘best fit’ with the standard LEP, providing a planning framework that aims to protect our unique environment while permitting appropriate development in the future.

“All residents will notice that the zoning of their land will have a new name, and the permitted land uses may have changed, but for most properties in the Blue Mountains change will be minimal,” he said.

The public exhibition period for DLEP 2013 started today, Wednesday, December 4 and will conclude on Wednesday, March 4, 2014. 

For further information on DLEP 2013 and to have your say visit  www.bluemountainshaveyoursay.com.au/draftlep2013 or see the display advertisement in this paper.

The mayor said, “Council acknowledges the commencement of the public exhibition in December is not the ideal time to engage the community on a significant planning proposal, however council is required to adhere to the direction of the NSW Government. In recognition of this, council has extended the closing date of the public exhibition to March 2014 to ensure adequate time for the community to get involved.”

Town planning consultant and former Blue Mountains chief town planner Max Fragar praised the council’s role in developing the draft plan.

“What we know is that this council, rightly in my opinion, has resisted the standard planning instrument process until it was satisfied that the particular character and environmental protections for the Blue Mountains could be preserved in a standard LEP format,” he said.

“It’s quite obvious there’s been a bipartisan, unanimous approach to press the state government, and council, councillors and staff need to be congratulated for that.

“The Blue Mountains has always benefited from taking the position that it has special characteristics and is located within a World Heritage Area.

“It appears from reports made public that council is fairly satisfied now they’ve achieved compromises and changes, so there’s been a real benefit to the delay in placing the DLEP on public exhibition and being able to correspond with and hold meetings with the minister for planning.

“Council wanted to be sure that it wouldn’t be forced into a one-size-fits-all box.

“In the coming weeks we hope to have a better understanding of the new DLEP.

“While I believe everything the council did up until now appears to be in the interests of our beautiful Blue Mountains, it must be seen in the context of a very complex state planning system.

“It will be difficult for people to understand the real implications of new planning legislation at a local level and at a state level. While it should be simple, it’s not.”

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