Council Document puts B-Line to Newport Back on the Agenda and may facilitate inappropriate development
Proposed roundabout demonstration by residents at B-Line to Newport Rally, 2017 - photo supplied
In 2017 and 2018 the community in Newport and north of Newport rose enmasse to express they were against such a proposal. Subsequent investigations by Transport for NSW showing the extension of the service, and a terminal at Newport, was not feasible - the proposal was canned.
As the state government has recently announced the privatisation of all bus services for the area, and the Keoride system is set to be continued past its trial period, signalling even more shifting of the public towards private transport, uncertainty about what routes and services will be available once these changes take place may make the point moot.
However, the consultation closes today, November 10th, and as the document supports not only the extension of the B-Line but also a BRT to Newport, one Local Environment Plan for such a diverse range of communities and ecosystems, wants to see Mona Vale transitions as ‘Mona Vale services people living in the LGA’s north, including Newport, Avalon and Palm Beach, and could be transitioned from a predominantly low density centre to a place that offers more diverse housing and job opportunities, especially catering to the ageing population’, and lends itself to the Bayview Golf Course Development rejected a few times being passed through the wording of the document, residents of Pittwater are being asked by their advocate groups to provide feedback.
Other concerns with the Draft LSPS document titled ‘Towards 2040’ include:
- Spot Rezonings needs more emphasis so that it is clear council is strongly against allowing them
- The forecast expansion of Marinas in Pittwater has to ensure there is no net increase after (i.e. have to swap equal number of swing moorings at equivalent length)
- The draft document does not address or mention Air Quality – this should occur and set out the goals for improvement
- The draft also supports the introduction of a BRT (Bus Rapid Transport) system to replace the B-Line – all the way to Newport. A BRT requires a dedicated 24 hour bus lane which means there would be no parking on Barrenjoey Rd, destroying the village atmosphere and all the businesses along its route
- The Pittwater area needs a controlled sustainable tourism industry which takes into account the environment, and proper infrastructure
There are also concerns that in the development of the LEP through the Local Strategic Planning Statements that relevant Character Statements may not adequately maintain the true character requirements of the Pittwater community. Originally the State Planning Act following the council amalgamations (and following concerns raised by the forced amalgamated councils) allowed for an LSPS to be prepared for each of the five wards. Council did not elect to take up this opportunity and decided to only have one LSPS for the whole of the three former council areas now under its control.
The council view then was was that it was not practical to put the Character Statements in the LSPS due to the vast number that maybe required and the limited size that was required/suggested under the legislation.
Residents groups and advocates were advised that the NBC view was that the Character Statements should be an addendum to the LEP and in doing so this way would give greater legal status to the Character Statement giving them the same standing as the LEP itself. The assumption is that few developers would look at the LSPS anyway, so the LEP attachment/ addendum was a better way to go.
In developing the LSPS the NBC had to take into account the whole LGA, the District housing targets, the housing strategies (where and what was suitable for that location) and population targets. They had commissioned a number of expert studies in these areas which they were awaiting on. For completion the LSPS had to go through a Gateway Process.
The ‘Towards 2040’ document is a large collation of many aspects that shows a phenomenal amount of work has been done, even if some elements seem to have been transposed from already abandoned proposals. As it is slated to guide so much that may happen here for the next two decades, and options to provide feedback can be done in 5, 10 or 15 minutes, those elements that residents may definitely not want to see going ahead need to be expressed.
The planning system in 2019
Regional and District plans for Sydney are created by the Greater Sydney Commission. Visit: https://www.greater.sydney/metropolis-of-three-cities and https://www.greater.sydney/district-plans
Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS)
The LSPS is a new document required of all local councils by the NSW Government. Councils are required to exhibit their draft statement by 1 July 2019 and have their final version in place by 1 December 2019. “The LSPS should not simply repeat all the actions from a region/district plan, but present council’s priorities and give guidance to the LEP.” [NSW Dept of Planning] The LSPS will provide more certainty about councils’ future land use intentions. This will reduce the likelihood of a planning proposal that is inconsistent with an endorsed LSPS being supported by council or recommended for gateway determination. NBC has now released an online survey on its LSPS. https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/-/media/Files/DPE/Factsheets-and-faqs/faqs-local-strategic-planning-statements-2018-09.pdf?la=en
Local Environment Plan (LEP)
“Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) guide planning decisions for local government areas. They do this through zoning and development controls, which provide a framework for the way land can be used. LEPs are the main planning tool to shape the future of communities and also ensure local development is done appropriately.” [NSW Dept of Planning] Currently the Northern Beaches Local Government Area (LGA) has 3 LEPs – one each for Manly, Warringah & Pittwater. These 3 must be merged into one LEP. This process will have a critical effect on future planning & development decisions in Pittwater.
Development Control Plans (DCPs)
"While the rules set out in the LEP are most important, more detailed design and planning requirements are provided in DCPs. Here you will find information in simple language, with diagrams and pictures on issues including: Building design, siting and size; Access to sunlight; View sharing; Landscaping; Car parking; Heritage; Stormwater treatment; Waste management; & Fences and walls.
DCPs provide guidance only, which means there can be flexibility to make variations when supported by a good argument in a Development Applications (DAs).” [NSW Dept of Planning] Obviously any variation will need to take into account the LEP.
Integrating local character considerations in planning
A Local Character Statement (LCS)
The LCS is an optional, standalone document that a council could produce comprising a description of an area’s existing character and detailing its desired future character. It is a place to describe a community’s preferences for how an area could change while retaining its unique character. These statements could be implemented through introducing a local character overlay and associated standard instrument clause within the LEP.” [NSW Dept of Planning, Local & Place Guideline] https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/-/media/Files/DPE/Guidelines/Local-character-and-place-guideline-2019-02-26.pdf “We expect Councils will work with us and prominently feature Local Character Statements in every new rezoning from now on. They’re going to become a critically important feature of planning that puts communities at the centre of everything we do.” [former Planning Minister Anthony Roberts]
At present the NBC say it will put only a limited number of LCSs in the LSPS, due to space considerations. It is possible to create detailed LCSs in a separate document which can then be referred to in the LEP.