STRIKING a balance between competing interests in land use in South Gippsland Shire has been the driving force behind the Rural Land Use Strategy 2011. The authors of the newly released document, the result of extensive consultation and communication with the community, industry bodies and the State Government over many years, believe they have achieved this. They claim that the Strategy provides for the continuation of South Gippsland’s all-important agricultural industry at the same time as it allows for compatible rural residential and tourism uses.
The Strategy will be considered by Council at its meeting next week. First, though, the public will have the opportunity to have a say at public presentation sessions before Council today (Wednesday from 2pm at Council Chamber Leogatha) and 24 Aug at Nyora.
A key point of interest is likely to be the Strategy’s ruling on dwellings. As part of its promise to make things simpler, it has made it a more straightforward matter to obtain a planning permit for a new dwelling on land under 4.1 hectares (ten acres) in the Farming Zone. Gone is the need to link a dwelling with an agricultural enterprise, and complex timing conditions relating to tenement holdings or subdivision dates no longer apply. “Simplicity is the key,” says the shire’s director of development services, Phil Stone. In the Rural Activity Zone, however, it is not so simple.
The Rural Tourism Development Strategy 2009 affirmed the community sentiment that prospective tourism uses in South Gippsland were negatively affected by the Ministerial application of the Farming Zone in 2007. As a result, areas of particular tourism demand were identified and zoned Rural Activity. Special conditions apply to building in these Rural Activity Zones. “This policy is designed to encourage tourism uses that are not currently permitted in the Farming Zone rather than to allow dwellings for rural residential use,” warns the Strategy in relation to the RAZ. It insists that dwelling applications for lots under 4.1ha in the RAZ will need to address issues such as the location of the dwelling and its impact on nearby agriculture and related uses. A permit will be “encouraged if the dwelling is in conjunction with a separate tourism venture”.
No permits are required for building on land which is over 40ha in either the Farming Zone or the Rural Activity Zone, but stringent requirements will have to be met to obtain permits to build on land between 4.1 and 40ha.
Arguing that “the rural land of South Gippsland has been substantially subdivided, the legacy of historic land use and settlement patterns,” the Strategy supports the current planning provisions which include a minimum subdivision area of 80ha and “clear links between agricultural benefit and the excision of existing dwellings”. Subdivision by moving boundaries between lots (resubdivision) for agricultural outcomes may be allowed with a Planning Permit. Resubdivision to create a rural residential lot of under 4.1ha will not be permitted. Subdivision to remove an existing dwelling from a lot (excision) for agricultural outcomes may be allowed with a Planning Permit. A regularly shaped and located lot up to 2ha may be created under certain criteria.
The Strategy can be viewed in its entirety on the South Gippsland Shire council website, where there is also general information regarding it on the Agenda for the next Council meeting, to be held at Nyora next Wednesday, August 24, at 2pm.
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