Community encouraged to have their say on proposed zone changes

Redland City Council is encouraging residents to have their say on the proposed rezoning of Council owned land as part of the Draft City Plan 2015.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said residents needed to be aware of what was in the draft plan so they could be part of the city’s future.

“The Draft City Plan aims to protect the city’s important conservation and environmental areas by encouraging growth as ‘in-fill’ development in existing suburbs and in designated greenfield areas,” she said.

“The draft currently includes a proposal to rezone some Council owned land that has been identified as surplus to our needs.

“Some of this land is currently zoned open space or conservation so Council is keen for residents to have a look and provide feedback through a formal submission.

“If any land is sold, the profits will go straight back into the city and if any conservation land is rezoned and sold, more land can be acquired for conservation land so there is no net-loss.

“It is important that the community understands that very few Council properties are proposed to be rezoned for housing; in most cases it is proposed the land be rezoned for conservation, recreation or community facilities reflecting their existing use and retaining the land for the surrounding community to use.”

Some important information:
– All rezonings are proposed for the community’s consideration only. Nothing has been decided.
– If residents do not agree with the proposed rezoning they are encouraged to make a formal submission as part of the City Plan process. This is the only way to have your thoughts considered in the final plan.
– There will be no net loss of conservation land. If any properties currently zoned conservation are rezoned to a residential zone, other more suitable land can then be acquired to add to Council’s conservation estate.

Cr Williams said Council owned 7,779 parcels of land that cost ratepayers $11 million to maintain, which was about five per cent of Council’s total annual operational budget.

“This land has been amassed over decades and, in some cases as the city has changed, what was originally planned for the land may no longer fit with the surrounding area.

“For example, the land may have been designated for open space but it is now covered in trees, so it is proposed to change the zoning to conservation.

“In other cases land may have been acquired for a use that never eventuated, so we are looking at what else it could be used for and want the community’s input.

“This process follows a number of studies completed over the years to identify land surplus to requirements, including Council’s Open Space Strategy.”

Cr Williams said while the proposed rezoning of land was usual practice when drafting a new City Plan, she wanted the community to know what was being proposed.

“Although the land proposed for rezoning is available through the City Plan consultation process we want it to be as transparent and accessible as possible, so we have also listed the properties on Council’s website and sent a complete list to media.

“Rezoning land is not uncommon for councils, but doing it as part of the new City Plan ensures the process is completely transparent and the community has a chance to have their say.”

Council’s planning and assessment spokesperson Cr Julie Talty said even if some of the properties were rezoned it did not necessarily mean their use would change.

“With Council land costing ratepayers million to maintain each year it is prudent and responsible for us to look at our land to ensure it is working for the community,” she said.

“A handful of the properties have been identified as possibly being commercially attractive if they are rezoned and this process provides the opportunity for the community to have their say on these properties before any decisions are made regarding their potential sale.

“It may be that some of the land is rezoned and sold, or it could be rezoned and kept as it is. It all depends on the individual parcel of land, which is why it’s so important for people to know what’s happening.

“It needs to be clear that even if land is rezoned it cannot be sold or transferred to Council’s investment arm Redland Investment Corporation (RiC) without approval from Councillors through a resolution in a Council meeting.”

To view the land proposed for rezoning or make a submission visit Council’s City Plan website and click on Draft Redland City Plan 2015 documents on the right.