Land zoning restrictions a 'boil that needs lancing'

Gunnedah environmental land zoning to be reviewed

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The extend of E3 zoned land in the Kelvin, Rangari area.

The extend of E3 zoned land in the Kelvin, Rangari area.

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A zoning study may result in environmental restrictions being lifted from rural properties.

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Environmental restrictions on landholders in the Gunnedah shire are the focus of a new zoning study.

At the recent meeting, Gunnedah's councillors voted to hire a consultant to carry out an analysis of the environmental management zone area in the shire after lobbying from landholders in the Kelvin and Rangari areas.

Landowners argue that they cannot develop their properties because the Gunnedah Local Environment Plan 2012 defines some areas as being of high scenic and environmental value, or are located above the 450m contour line.

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Wade Hudson, from the council's planning and environmental department, said discussions with the Department of Planning and Environment about the desktop study "indicated that this should realise quick wins and resolution of some of the concerns of people who own land within the E3 zone".

Cr Rob Hooke was among the councillors who supported the allocation of $6300 for the study, saying it was "a boil that's needed lancing for some considerable time."

"I think there were some landholders who were dealt a very bad blow by some planning, which really wasn't intended to put them into jeopardy, and I believe that they have been put in jeopardy," he said.

Grazier Matt Carter at Myall Springs, which is affected by the environmental zoning.

Grazier Matt Carter at Myall Springs, which is affected by the environmental zoning.

The ongoing issue was raised twice last year - in May and recently in December.

In May, farmers Matt Carter and Keith Perrett spoke on behalf of fellow landowners about the need to rezone areas of their properties for agricultural production.

At the meeting, Mr Carter said about 40 per cent of his property, Myall Springs in Rangari, had "sensitive areas".

"It's a pretty shaky future for myself and my children when we're very limited to what we can do with this land," he said.

He was backed by Mr Perrett who said there had been no consultation with landowners before the plan was locked in, and the "significant issue" had "proved hard for owners who haven't been able to operate as they always have".

In a report to council last month, general manager Eric Groth said they had since worked with landholders to create a planning proposal, which will be submitted to the Department of Planning and Environment with the aim of "identifying the land potentially suitable for rezoning".

The story Land zoning restrictions a 'boil that needs lancing' first appeared on Namoi Valley Independent.

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