The public won’t have adequate time to comment on Penrith’s major zoning document according to Greens Councillor Michelle Tormey.
Penrith City Council has been under pressure from the State Government to finalise Stage 2 of the Local Environmental Plan (LEP), which sets out the development zones in Penrith.
Penrith City Council will only have the LEP on public exhibition for 28 days as opposed to the normal eight weeks in order to meet the State Planning Department’s requirements that all Local Environmental Plans be finalised by July 2013.
“Prior to [the last] Council meeting Planning Minister Brad Hazzard sent a letter to Council suggesting that the final decision could be taken out of their hands if they fail to adhere to a much limited timeline,” she said.
“It’s a complicated document… and Council will have to push through an extremely complex matter without having enough time to engage with the material thoroughly.”
At the Ordinary Council meeting on November 19, Councillors had to consider the Local Environmental Plan and Cr Tormey made the successful amendment that the Planning Minister be asked for a time extension on the public exhibition.
One issue Cr Tormey is particularly concerned about being overlooked in the short public exhibition process is the rezoning of five parcels of land owned by the Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council from environmentally protected to rural development.
“With only 1.5 per cent of the Cumberland Plains Woodland left in the Penrith LGA, I believe it is important for Council to have a strong position when it comes to conservation,” she said.
Local residents Suzie Wright and Geoff Brown also spoke at the Council meeting to voice their concerns about the proposed rezoning.
“We all know that once this land is developed there is no hope of survival for any of the endangered species on these conservation jewels,” Mr Brown said.