Consolidated LEP plans adopted but what’s next?

Director of Planning and Environment, Scott Cox

Central Coast Council’s new consolidated Local Environment Plan (LEP) and Development Control Plan (DCP), which both guide what can be built and where, still have a long process ahead before the planning documents are complete.

Council only has some housekeeping to do before it can send its LEP and DCP off to the State Government for gazettal, but that is only the first step.

Council has about 10 strategies that now need to be completed to complete the package of work leading to a phased number of amendments to the consolidated LEP.

Once all the amendments are completed, Council will have a Comprehensive LEP and DCP.

But even then, the work does not end.

The State Government rules say that the LEP and DCP should be reviewed at least every five years, so basically these are ever evolving documents.

The process will see five Council owned Coastal Open Space System (COSS) lands that are currently subject to a site specific plan converted to the E2 Environmental Conservation standard instrument zone.

It will also see numerous strategies written up and incorporated into the LEP and DCP.

These include a Housing Strategy, Heritage, Employment Lands, social planning and recreational space needs.

Work on these will run in tandem with an environmental lands review which will deal with the deferred lands issue (see separate story).

Updated maps that work with Flood Risk Management Controls are also being worked on.

It was a big issue when Council took the LEP out for public exhibition without the maps.

The current LEP has two different freeboard levels which art the minimum habitable floor levels.

“We may come to some consistency but also it may be based on the characteristics of each catchment.

“There may be freeboards based on the physical characteristics rather than a blanket approach,” Director of Environment and Planning, Scott Cox, said.

It will be based on a number of variations.

Council will look at rainfall intensity, based on certain levels, and the characteristics of the river or the creeks that are flowing into the lakes.

“It is a sensitivity analysis no different to you setting up a business and you do a sensitivity analysis based on 10 percent interest rate or a two percent interest rate.

“Our flood studies are done on the same climatic differences based on what could be a one in hundred year storm or a one in five year storm,” Cox said.

Council says that while consolidation of the planning instruments created consistency in the way that Council applies its planning controls across the Central Coast, it isn’t a one size fits all approach to development.

“We know that what works in some areas of the Coast may not work in others, so this process has retained site specific and town centre controls in many areas, such as Woy Woy, and additional controls and site specific chapters are part of the consolidated DCP,” Cox said.

“This includes the retention of character statements in the former Gosford LGA under the Draft CCDCP,” Cox said.

The character statements will be expanded to take in the former Wyong areas too.

Merilyn Vale