Coolagolite residents raise quarry buffer concerns

Looking over council planning documents and zoning maps are Coolagolite residents (clockwise from left) Jeff Brown, Bill Vipond, Mark Fowler, Peter Ryall, Danie Ondinea, Jake Smith and Nina Vipond.

Looking over council planning documents and zoning maps are Coolagolite residents (clockwise from left) Jeff Brown, Bill Vipond, Mark Fowler, Peter Ryall, Danie Ondinea, Jake Smith and Nina Vipond.

ZONING in the council’s Local Environmental Plan continues to be a concern for some residents, despite the majority of the document being gazetted around 10 months ago.

Of most concern to several Coolagolite residents is a buffer zone around a Bega Valley Shire Council-operated quarry extending well into their own properties.

In at least one case, the entirety of a privately owned rural residential lot falls within the buffer zone.

Many others have anywhere from 25 to 50 per cent of their land within the zone, which affected residents say only reared its head in recent weeks.

In all, 13 privately owned lots are affected in some way, as well as the three lots on which quarries operate.

Coolagolite residents Bill and Nina Vipond have owned their Ridge Rd property for 40 years – long before the BVSC quarry was even created.

“They say the buffer zone is ‘intended to reduce conflict with neighbours’!” Mr Vipond said with a wry laugh.

“I’m not interested whether there are any restrictions – I don’t want the buffer zone full stop. 

“If you’re putting a buffer zone on my property because of road noise, will you be putting a buffer zone all the way along the Cobargo-Bermagui Rd?”

The Viponds and many of their neighbours said they have only recently been made aware of the proposal and believe any buffer should be accommodated on the quarry’s land, not their private properties.

However, BVSC acting group manager of planning and environment Keith Tull said the buffer zone has always been in place.

 “We are not introducing a buffer zone, it has always been there,” Mr Tull said.

Mr Tull said when exhibiting a proposal to amend rural residential lot sizes in the area, all information that can affect the land, including buffer zones, was provided in the documentation.

He also said it was not a council-imposed buffer, but one required under state legislation for extractive industries such as quarries.

 “It is just something for council to take into consideration if you are in this area and looking at developing,” Mr Tull said.

“It is just the same as access is a consideration, threatened species are a consideration.

“Under the 2002 LEP, a 1c zone looking to subdivide would have to have the same considerations.”

Rezoning of their land was also among the concerns raised by several Ridge Rd residents.

Aside from three lots deferred for further reports, most properties that had been 1c (rural residential) have been rezoned E4 (environmental living), while across the road – a remarkably similar landscape – became RU2 (rural landscape).

The Bega Valley Shire Council prepared its LEP 2013 in line with the Department of Planning’s standardised requirements 

and gazetted it in August last year - it replaced the Bega Valley LEP of 2002.

Mr Tull said in the majority of cases, the zone attributed to a property in the 2013 LEP is the equivalent to that under the 2002 planning document.

“For zone 1c in the LEP 2002 we see E4 as the equivalent,” he said.

Submissions on the “Planning proposal – rural residential lot sizes” can be made to the council before close of business Monday (which is a public holiday).

Details are on the BVSC website under the Public Exhibition link.

For further information, call BVSC strategic planner Mark Fowler on 6499 2107.

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