Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill has urged residents to have their say on a new planning document as a defence against pressure from the state government to allow "overdevelopment".
The state government has required all councils to prepare "vision documents", with the Blue Mountains draft planning statement on public exhibition until November 15. Titled Blue Mountains 2040: Living Sustainably, it was developed following a range of workshops and surveys.
But the mayor has cautioned it could be used as a Trojan Horse to allow more intensive development in the Blue Mountains.
"One concern I have, and this is a statewide concern, is that it provides a pressure point for councils to capitulate to the clear overdevelopment of Sydney that is evident whenever one goes there," he said.
"I am also aware of communications in the past around increasing the amount of housing in our area to cater for an increased population.
"I hope that talk has subsided because we are very bushfire-prone, we are a city in a world heritage area and we are different."
With the state government removing councillors from the development application process, he said our Local Environment Plan "is all we have a say over".
"If we relax rules it could create an opening to the development lobby over which we would have no control."
Blue Mountains City Council Chief Executive Officer, Dr Rosemary Dillon, said the planning statement is "not a change of direction but reflects the priorities for a sustainable, successful and resilient Blue Mountains set out in our Community Strategic Plan 2035".
"Together they will guide future land use planning decisions for the local area and help us to seek support from the state government for projects and funding," she said.
The plan nominates a housing target of 550 new dwellings to be built in a six to 10 year period from 2021. "The delivery of this new housing will be appropriate to the natural environmental context and serve the needs of the local community," it states.
The document said a 2019 housing survey found many people "are willing to consider a denser form of development provided the design is high quality and sustainable to the Blue Mountains context".
The mayor has urged people "to express their views in the consultation process".
To find out more and have your say go to yoursay.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/localplanningstatement