Rezoning of former Dooralong school refused

The proposed subdivision of the former school siteThe proposed subdivision of the former Dooralong school site.

A proposal to rezone the former Dooralong School site from SP2 Special Educational Establishment to RU5 Village has been refused by Central Coast Council.

A staff report to the ordinary meeting held on Monday, October 29, said the proposal failed to meet the strategic merit test for a planning proposal and was inconsistent with four actions in the Central Coast Regional Plan 2036. “The school site is not the preferred site for a future hamlet/ village in the Dooralong Valley, as identified in the Central Coast Rural Lands Strategy Northern Lands,” the report said. It said the proposal to rezone the land would diminish the local prominence and heritage values of the group of school buildings.

“The planning proposal does not incorporate sufficient measures to retain the character of the locality or to avoid impacts to environmental values,” the report said. “The planning proposal would likely result in substantial clearing and soil disturbance to accommodate bushfire hazard risk mitigation and the installation of onsite sewage management systems to future dwellings. “The planning proposal would likely result in unacceptable impacts to the Central Coast drinking water catchment.

“The planning proposal would introduce controls which would likely result in future proposals for more intensive development of the land, requiring substantial clearing and earthworks, and resulting in additional signifi cant impacts to the land, the locality and the drinking water catchment.” The staff report said Council had no endorsed strategy in place for the expansion of rural villages.

“A review of the rural land within the former Wyong Shire (Central Coast Rural Lands Strategy – Northern Lands) was conducted between 2015 and 2017 to undertake a strategic assessment of rural land to determine the suitability and feasibility of alternate land uses, predominantly rural residential,” the report said.

“In relation to the subject site, the draft strategy noted that ‘the school is isolated from the area most suitable for a further hamlet/ village, however it may be suitable for a stand-alone rural residential or tourist use’.

“The area most suitable in this locality for a rural hamlet/village is that area west of Dooralong Rd south of the subject site, defined as the area between the flooding and bushfire constraints. “Council, in conjunction with the Department of Planning, is working to prepare a consolidated Rural Lands Review and Strategy for the entire Central Coast in order to address the relevant actions within the Central Coast Regional Plan (CCRP) 2036.

“This project will influence the future review of the CCRP 2036 and the future Central Coast Comprehensive Local Environmental Plan. “The Department of Planning has indicated that it will not support the advancement of planning proposals on rural lands, prior to the adoption of the Central Coast Rural Lands Strategy.

“The proposal is not only considered premature but also is inconsistent with the Local Planning Strategy undertaken by the former Wyong Shire Council.” The planning proposal seeks approval for a minimum lot size requirement of 2,500 square metres over the entire site. “If supported, future development or re-subdivisions could potentially enable up to 16 lots over the total area proposed to be rezoned.” The land is located on the western side of Dooralong Rd, north of the Dooralong Hall and Oval, at the intersection of Dittons, Jilliby, Mandalong and Dooralong Rds.

It has a combined area of around four hectares. It was dedicated as a school site in 1903, and was used for that purpose until 2011, when the NSW Department of Education determined that the school was not required for educational purposes in the future. Existing structures on the site include two school classrooms, covered outdoor learning area (COLA) and covered play equipment, water tanks, foundations, pathways, amenities buildings and a teachers’ residence/ library, predominantly in the north-east of the land. The entire site is identifi ed as Local Heritage. According to the staff report, it is affected by various constraints which may impact its potential for additional development in the future.

“The proposal seeks to facilitate a development concept which involves the subdivision of the land into six allotments, fi ve of which would range in area from 2,600 to 3,790square metres, with a larger L-shaped sixth lot, also with frontage to Dooralong Rd, proposed to contain residue bushland of 24,969 square metres. “The school library and resource room (former Teachers’ Residence) would be located on Proposed Lot 1, whilst the other school buildings and school use areas would be separated onto Proposed Lots 3, 4 and 5.

“Support for the planning proposal would create an expectation that Council would permit further subdivision which would require significant clearing for access, bushfire hazard reduction, aerated sewage treatment systems and development works, undermining the stability of the site and impacting the character of the locality and the environmental values of the site. “The Wyong Local Flood Plan (NSW SES) has the primary flood response for residents within both the Dooralong and Yarramalong Valleys as ‘Shelter in Place’, as the roads are covered very early on in a flood event.”

Source: Agenda item 2.1, Oct 29 Central Coast Council ordinary meeting

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