Zoning in on our Future

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A robust planning framework helps us protect our natural resources, manage urban settlement, support our economy, and fairly distribute services, facilities and open space across the entire region.

Like all NSW councils, when it comes to town planning and land-use in our region, we’re required to work within a legislative and well-documented framework.

But unlike most other councils, we’re currently working from three different frameworks – one for each of the three former regions – and that’s confusing for everyone!

Right now, we’re zoning in on the zones used across the MidCoast to develop a clear, consistent planning framework that will guide the way we manage land use across the entire region.

The result will be a single, contemporary set of planning controls that caters for our community now and into the future. All the while ensuring we maintain the unique character of our existing towns, villages and rural areas.

Click below to find out more.

Zones within our region determine what types of development and activities can take place in what areas. As well as helping protect our environment, zoning improves the liveability of our region by locating similar types of land use together. Zoning means the house next door can't suddenly be developed into a fast-food outlet or factory!

At the simplest level, all councils across NSW use eight different zone categories:

 Zone pie - Rural.jpg Rural zones generally cover the areas outside our towns and villages. Uses within these zones include primary production, forestry and rural landscape.
 Zone pie - Residential.jpg Residential zones cater for our housing needs, across a variety of housing types and densities. These zones also cover land use that provides facilities and services to local residents.
 Zone pie - Industry.jpg Business and industrial zones provide for commercial operators across a broad range of uses - from retail outlets and entertainment facilities, through to warehousing and factories.
 Zone pie - Infrastructure.jpg An Infrastructure zone ensures services and facilities can be delivered efficiently to the community. It covers land allocated for things like transport networks such as roads, bridges, airports and rail lines; electricity, water and telecommunications networks, and emergency services.
 Zone pie - Tourism.jpg A Tourist zone covers the operation of tourism-oriented developments and services such as visitor accommodation, leisure activities, and tourist attractions. 
 Zone pie - Recreation.jpg Recreation zones cover both public and private recreational use, including open spaces and sporting and leisure facilities. 
 Zone pie - Environment.jpg Environmental zones include National Parks and nature reserves, as well as areas identified for protection to sustain their ecological, scientific, cultural or aesthetic values. 
 Zone pie - Waterways.jpg Waterways zones cover the protection of our natural waterways, as well as providing for recreational and business uses.  

The framework for planning a liveable and sustainable region starts with council's Local Environmental Plan (LEP) - the highest-level control over how we use the different areas of land within the MidCoast. Our aim through the "Zoning in on our Future" project is to consolidate the three different LEP's we're currently using - a legacy of the three former regions - into a single region-wide MidCoast LEP.

As well as developing a consistent approach to zoning across the MidCoast, we'll use this as an opportunity to introduce contemporary, best-practice planning controls, and to rationalise the aims, objectives, development standards and provisions of all three former LEP's.

There are six key projects currently being undertaken to inform the new LEP, which include:

  • Rural Strategy
  • Housing Strategy
  • Manning Health & CBD Precinct Plan
  • Employment Zones Review
  • Infrastructure Zone Review
  • Recreation Zones Review

The focus for all projects is not about identifying additional areas for development, but to critically review and apply a new and clear hierarchy of zones and controls across the unique environment of the MidCoast. The principles that will be applied during this stage of the project are:

  • To identify and protect our natural landscapes, and recognise the desired roles and character of our unique urban settlements
  • To prepare an LEP that's consistent with State legislation and guidelines
  • To apply the goals and actions outlined in our regional policies and plans
  • To reflect the actions, goals and recommendations of Council strategies

There are opportunities to provide input into all of these projects, or to be updated throughout the process. Complete the form under the "Get involved" tab to register your interest.

As well as informing a new MidCoast LEP, the information collated through this body of work will be used to create a consolidated Development Control Plan (DCP), which drills down to provide controls or rules on the specific activities or types of developments that can occur within a zone. Using a single DCP into the future means a uniform approach to assessing development applications, wherever you live, work or play in our 10,000km2 region.

Local Strategic Planning Statements will follow, being Councillor and community led statements that establish a 20-year vision for land use in our major centres, identifying the special character and values to be preserved and planning priorities to focus on.

Simply fill in the form below to join our mailing list for updates on the progress of the LEP and for consultation opportunities.

Click here to view form.

Zoning in on our future is a great opportunity to re-think how we plan for land use, conservation and development outside our towns and villages, recognising the importance of rural and natural areas to our communities and economies.

Find out more and get involved

As part of the LEP consolidation program Council is undertaking an Employment Zone Review (EZR).

A preliminary review has revealed that the existing Gloucester, Great Lakes and Greater Taree LEPs treated employment lands very differently and in isolation of each other.

The Review is not expected to change where business and industrial zones apply, but will establish a clear and consistent framework for these areas across the MidCoast.

Find out more detail about the EZR and become part of our consultation