A change to the Kiama Local Environment Plan (LEP), mooted as a necessary element to help protect view corridors and retain the ‘village feel’ of Jamberoo, was unexpectedly defeated at the August meeting of Kiama Council.
The recommendation made to Council by Planning staff gave them discretion over which sites would be subject to the new rule, but an amendment by Councillor Kathy Rice extended it to cover all future subdivisions.
In a report to Council by its Planning staff, the change was recommended as the most effective way to support the intent of the draft Jamberoo Development Control Plan, which is currently in its community consultation phase.
The proposal was to increase the minimum lot size for newly zoned R2 low density residential land in Jamberoo from 800m2 to 1200m2. It would also impose a minimum lot size for newly zoned R2 land in Kiama, Gerringong and Gerroa of 600m2 rather than the current permissible 450m2 lot size.
The increase in the minimum lot sizes for dual occupancies would effectively reduce the number of potential residences in any new R2 development.
In the case of the proposed Golden Valley Rd sub-division, which is still to receive Gateway approval to proceed, increasing the minimum lot size would reduce the theoretically possible maximum number of new dwellings from 88 to 58.
The decision is subject to a rescission motion, meaning it will be considered again at the September meeting. If the planning proposal for the change is not approved at the September meeting, it cannot be put forward again for another three months.
This raises the possibility that a DA for Jamberoo’s contentious Golden Valley Rd sub-division could be lodged under the old rules, as the changes to the LEP will have to be approved via the lengthy Gateway process.
Councillor Matt Brown was vocal in his opposition to the changes, saying that rather than enhancing Jamberoo’s village atmosphere the larger blocks would ruin it by encouraging mini-McMansions and would not be good for the environment. “We have a duty to retain the village atmosphere – we should be trying to enhance a village feel for Jamberoo by encouraging people to live closer together.”
Councillor Don Watson raised concerns about housing affordability.
In proposing the motion, Counillor Kathy Rice said, “I am responding to the concerns of Jamberoo residents who have brought up their desire to regulate the dual occupancies that have been occurring in developments such as Chapel Hill and Wyalla Rd.
“Each dual occupancy will be 600m2, which is smaller than the minimum lot size for Jamberoo of 800m2.”
The rescission motion was lodged by Councillors Rice, Sloan and Way.
Mayor Mark Honey, who voted for the change, says, “I am in favour of the larger lot size, as it is a way of preserving Jamberoo’s character.”
Graham Pike, Secretary of the Jamberoo Valley Residents & Ratepayers Association (JVRRA), is also in favour of the change, “It is the sort of thing we need to achieve the outcome we are fighting for, and we hope that after councillors have had more time to consider it they will vote for increasing the minimum lot size.”
He says it is also essential for Council to include in the DCP and other relevant instruments the mechanisms by which developers cannot revert to complying development standards.
“It will require more effort but our advisers tell us it is possible and necessary.”
As previously reported, Kiama Council is holding a number of workshops in Jamberoo to help people understand and participate in the DCP process.
In addition, it is conducting an online survey to assist in gathering people’s views on how the village should develop.
The JVRRA is also conducting its own community survey to add the depth it feels is needed.
The JVRRA is being assisted by several experts in preparing its DCP-related information and advice to the community. This will include preparing a pro-forma submission to be used as a framework for submission to Council.
Both the survey and the proforma will be distributed throughout the community.