Chamber's mixed view of proposed planning
The Peninsula Chamber of Commerce has expressed a mixed view of Gosford's proposed new planning scheme, the Draft Gosford Local Environmental Plan 2009, which is due to go before Council on Tuesday, May 31.
"This plan is a real mixed bag with both good and bad points," said Peninsula Chamber president Mr Matthew Wales.
"After six years in the making, I think everyone just wants the Draft LEP resolved so that the City can move on.
"However, many in the business community are disappointed that the Council did not take a more strategic approach to the review of land zonings and development controls rather than simply overlay the standard State Government zone template on the existing planning instrument," said Mr Wales.
"Inevitably you get things that simply won't fit and this is the case with Gosford where many existing land uses will end up as being non-conforming and will have to rely on existing use rights.
"We are also concerned with the limits being imposed on residential building heights and the very restrictive controls on setbacks and building envelopes for residential flat buildings.
"Other key concerns relate to the commercial foreshore areas of Ettalong Beach and Woy Woy which have tough limitations on building height and floor space ratios.
"However, we are encouraged by the language in the Council report that leaves the door open for a further review of these controls under a more strategic review down the track.
"The Peninsula Chamber will certainly be looking to work with the Council in advancing some of these detailed reviews including the Umina Beach CBD Village Structure Plan which is due to commence later this year," said Mr Wales.
The Chamber has also expressed some concern over the apparent lack of attention to seniors housing particularly on the Woy Woy Peninsula.
"The Draft LEP is rather silent of the provisions for seniors housing.
"The lack of suitable land for redevelopment in existing residential areas is a real concern and we believe the Council needs to take this issue on as part of any subsequent review so as to address the acute shortage of aged care facilities and dementia beds", said Mr Wales.
"While protecting fringe rural areas is important, there are some semi-rural locations which are ideally suited to appropriately planned aged care facilities which under the Draft LEP, are prohibited. We believe this should be revisited.
"But overall, the City needs to move on and we hope that Council will undertake further strategic studies of key areas of the Draft Gosford LEP that fall short of the business communities expectations," said Mr Wales.