Council warning on Lizard Rock planning proposal

Northern Beaches

Council is opposing a planning proposal to develop land at ‘Lizard Rock’ along Morgan Road in Belrose for its complete destruction of natural bushland for over 400 homes.

The planning proposal is inconsistent with local and regional planning strategies and should be reconsidered in light of significant planning, environmental and hazard issues, Council has warned.

In its submission to the Department of Planning and Environment, Northern Beaches Council said the Planning Proposal by Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (MLALC) does not demonstrate strategic or site specific merit and should be rejected.

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said the NSW Government should find alternative ways to support Aboriginal self-determination instead of allowing inappropriate development on bushfire prone land.

“Council one hundred percent supports the intent of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and appreciates the importance of enabling Aboriginal people to achieve economic self-determination through developing land,” Mayor Regan said.

“But we are required to consider all proposals on their merits, regardless of the landowner, and this proposal does not stack up.

“We have numerous, significant concerns about this planning proposal. This is 400 plus homes in the middle of the bush, not connected to any services, surplus to any housing targets set by the State, that will exacerbate existing shortfalls in the provision of community floorspace for libraries and active open space for sports fields, and destroy around 45 football size fields of bushland. Not to mention, it puts future inhabitants in an extreme bushfire risk.”

In its submission, Council outlined the following concerns with the Lizard Rock planning proposal:

  • Inconsistency with strategy – the planning proposal does not demonstrate strategic merit and is inconsistent with key aspects of the Greater Sydney Region Plan, North District Plan, Northern Beaches Local Strategic Planning Statement – Towards 2040 and Northern Beaches Local Housing Strategy.
  • Non-compliant process – there has been no formal pre-lodgement consultation with Council on the planning proposal which is required in this circumstance
  • Short consultation timeframe – the 28-day timeframe to review the application and associated technical reports for a complex proposal and prepare a meaningful response is unreasonable
  • Significant inconsistencies within the planning proposal documentation itself, including variously referring to 450 ‘dwellings’ and 450 ‘lots’ which has the potential to create double or triple that number of dwellings if seniors housing and dual occupancy is permitted
  • Inconsistency with Conservation Zones Reform which recommends applying a C3 Environmental Management Zone to most of the site due to its high environmental value and the hazards that impact the site
  • Enormous loss of high biodiversity habitat, with 44.7 hectares of bushland to be cleared (equivalent to the size of around 45 rugby fields) for the new development
  • Bushfire risks – significant concerns exist regarding the bushfire hazard that applies to the site. Further, the proposal was developed on the premise of evacuation being provided by Morgan Road, a new slip lane on to Forest Way and a new emergency access on to Oates Place, but the availability and utility of these aspects has not been demonstrated.

Other key concerns include insufficient affordable housing, unjustified and outdated urban design, insufficient survey work of Aboriginal heritage and management options to safeguard heritage sites, the proposed slip lane is on Council land not zoned for this purpose, major impacts on waterways, slope instability, insufficient information regarding stormwater infrastructure impacts, insufficient information on economic and social impacts, insufficient modelling of traffic and transport and active transport proposals, insufficient emergency evacuation modelling, inconsistencies in documentation regarding infrastructure provision, additional infrastructure demand not adequately addressed and issues with the Voluntary Planning Agreement not contributing for a public purpose.

“The community has only been given 28 days to comment on this fast-tracked proposal prior to a Gateway decision being made , which bypasses Council,” Mayor Regan said.

“We urge the Department of Planning and Environment to take a close look at our long list of concerns and carefully consider this planning proposal.”

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