THE New South Wales Department of Planning and Infrastructure has called for public feedback on two proposed changes to the standard instrument local environmental plan (LEP), which aim to provide councils with greater local flexibility to plan for their areas.
The Department said that in response to extensive feedback received from councils and requests for greater flexibility in the standard instrument LEP, it is exhibiting a proposed new environmental zone, and changes to the rules concerning subzones.
The new E5 environmental zone, which is proposed to be added to the standard instrument LEP, will provide councils across NSW with a zone that may be applied to community land that has high ecological values and is to be protected as public conservation land.
The Department said that currently, councils are required to choose from a range of environmental zones that typically allow residential dwellings. The new zone would prohibit uses such as residential and commercial premises, agriculture and industry.
Feedback is also being sought on a proposal to give councils greater flexibility to address local issues through the use of local clauses or maps, commonly referred to as subzones.
Currently, councils are required to specify which land uses are permitted or prohibited in a particular zone and generally, the same rules apply for all land which is zoned the same.
The proposed amendment would allow for some local flexibility so councils could have additional or fewer permitted uses for a specific site or area within their local government area.
According to the Department, a survey of councils last year highlighted concerns from a number of councils that prohibiting subzones in new LEPs limited their ability to address local issues.
A draft policy statement and draft LEP practice note on the proposed changes to the standard instrument LEP are being exhibited for two weeks until Tuesday 29 May 2012. More information is available from the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure website at <http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/>.