Friday, 28 February 2020
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend Council’s Community Meeting at the Towamba Hall on Tuesday 25 February. We were really pleased to answer questions from the floor across a range of recovery issues of concern to the community.
One of the key topics for discussion was development regulations and what they mean for property owners whose homes have been destroyed and who wish to rebuild.
We heard some frustration about the NSW Government planning framework in which Council operates.
Generally, rural land holdings must be at least 120ha to have a dwelling entitlement. Due to historic development patterns, there are many parcels of rural land of less than 120ha that contain dwellings that predate current planning legislation. Where these dwellings have been lost to fire, the entitlement to a dwelling may remain as an existing use right.
New dwellings on these, and any other property across the Shire, will need to meet current development standards. We want to reassure you that we’re working with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to make the redevelopment process as straightforward as possible for bushfire-affected landholders.
All that’s required to establish an existing use right for a dwelling lost to fire is a statutory declaration and a photograph or other evidence demonstrating that the dwelling existed before 1965.
To date we have helped a number of residents work though the planning process and we’re ready to help others as the need arises. Come and talk to us so that we can see how we might be able to support you to progress your development, within the NSW Government framework. We are confident we can find solutions for most people wanting to rebuild.
Dr Alice Howe, Director Community, Environment and Planning
Bega Valley Shire Council