Landowners of Wadalba East, an area earmarked for residential development, have met with Member for Wyong David Harris, the Minister for the Central Coast, seeking a way forward in dealing with Central Coast Council.
Landowner Paul Hanna said he outlined their frustrations over Council, which is yet to rule on eight development applications that would unlock 450 house blocks from a potential 1200 in the precinct.
More development applications are in the pipeline but Council is rewriting a masterplan despite the landowners’ original masterplan being accepted by both Council and the Department of Planning when the rezoning was gazzetted in 2020.
The meeting was held in June and Council’s CEO David Farmer, administrator Rik Hart and Director of Planning Alice Howe attended along with a number of landowners.
The landowners have been shown the new draft masterplan and say it will add years to the process and reduce the number of residential blocks that could be developed.
They also called into question the way Council is proposing to approve the infrastructure needed in the precinct, such as sewer and drainage.
Mr Hanna said there were two different routes and Council was choosing the long way round.
Council is causing this thing to fail, he said.
The land to be developed has more than 40 landowners.
A group of them started 13 years ago to get the land rezoned to allow for residential housing.
The rezoning and all the associated paperwork came into effect in July 2021.
It included a Development Control Plan (DCP), developer contributions, and a Development Servicing Plan (DSP) for Water and Sewer.
Mr Hanna outlined the costs spent by landowners to submit development applications to council as per the zoning and DCP masterplan.
But the DAs have stalled with Council saying it is “de-risking” the precinct.
The new draft masterplan states that large portions of the site are dominated by key habitat for various species of fauna, including the critically endangered Swift Parrot.
“The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act requires proponents (guided by their assessors) to first seek to avoid direct, indirect and prescribed impacts from the proposed development on biodiversity values, including: native vegetation, threatened species and TECs (Threatened Ecological Communities), habitat for threatened species and TECs. Proponents must then minimise any remaining impacts before offsetting them,” the draft plan states.
Landholders point out the swift parrot has not been seen in the precinct and covers a broad distribution in its winter migration from Tasmania to South East Queensland each year.
The masterplan suggests a biocertification process (BCAR) to open up portions of what it calls “potentially constrained” residential land, and changes the way the decision maker considers development applications.
Mr Hanna said landowners have already done a biodiversity development assessment report (BDAR).
The draft masterplan also highlights obstacles such as Infrastructure, staging and connectivity issues that need to be addressed in a coordinated manner.
But the landowners say their individual DAs address all these issues as per the DCP.
Council Watch has contacted Mr Harris for comment.
This is one of four stories.