HAWKESBURY Council is a step closer to signing off on a new Development Control Plan, an important planning document.
At the January 30 meeting, Council voted to receive a report re-writing the DCP by the March 6 meeting.
The DCP is one of a number of planning controls that developers must adhere to when building in the Hawkesbury.
It is one of the planning controls the looming Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels will refer to when making development decisions.
Greens councillor Danielle Wheeler moved a Notice of Motion to receive the report on updating the DCP.
It was unanimously supported.
She told the Gazette the DCP was ‘light’ in her opinion, and did not provide enough control to ensure new development fit in with the character of the region.
“It doesn’t provide enough certainty for staff, councillors developers or the community to set the character of and standards for development in the Hawkesbury into the future,” she said.
“It needs lots of changes and some very specific inclusions, like what we allow in heritage precincts, the character of our Town Centres, standards for roads, boarding house conditions, green space, design quality, sustainability, the mix of housing in developments including affordable housing, tree cover, set backs and environmental protections.
“It’s a really essential and fundamentally important document and ours isn’t up to the task at the moment.”
IHAPs are set to become a reality in early March, and Hawkesbury Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett said it was unclear to her just how much significance would be placed on DCPs.
“There are also a whole lot of new planning documents the government has, so I am really not sure what the whole hierarchy will be,” she said.
Cr Wheeler said if Council wanted to retain some control over development in the area, it was best to make sure its DCP was as tight as possible.
“Without a strong DCP or a strong history of Council adherence to a DCP, the IHAP will have very little to use to maintain what is unique about the Hawkesbury and what our community values,” she said.