Review of zoning plan template

1 September 2011

The Urban Taskforce today welcomed the NSW Governments announcement that it will be transparently reviewing the template used for local environmental plans. Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard, today announced that he will establish a Local Planning Panel which will engage with local councils and report back to government on how the standard instrument used for zoning plans can be improved.

The Urban Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said there have been some serious problems with the former governments ˜standard instrument.

We welcome moves to take a fresh look at some of the rigid provisions in this document.

Many properties faced a ˜down-zoning – a reduction in development potential – because of rigid requirements imposed by the Department of Planning.

In some instances, this has made it harder for local communities to attract jobs, supply new housing and meet the shopping needs of residents.

Mr Gadiel said that it was important that the review be open to the wider community, including the development industry.

Consultation mustnt just be limited to local councils, he said.

One of the reasons there have been so many problems with zoning plans, is that the state governments Planning Department has only consulted other regulators – such as councils – without talking to the people actually impacted by zoning rules.

We hope the mistakes of the past wont be repeated.

Mr Gadiel said that the government should consider special arrangements to ensure that any pending rezonings are not slowed down by this review.

Whenever a review is commenced, theres always a risk that public servants will down-tools and wait for an outcome.

Given the length of time that even the swiftest reviews tend to take, the government should take firm steps to ensure that any pending rezonings are still quickly processed.

If need be, that may mean proceeding with rezoning on a ˜spot basis, rather than waiting for comprehensive plans to be finalised.

The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.

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