Under changes debuted this week, the NSW government will grant councils the power to approve applications from property owners even if planning rules have shifted since their homes were originally built.

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes stated the change would permit individuals to rebuild houses approved under different rules in the past, providing that they coincide with safety and design standards.

Currently, councils must apply all present rules to any application to rebuild or repair houses in the wake of a natural disaster, he said.

As per the natural disasters clause, homeowners won’t have to include formalised requests to morph development standards as a component of their application to rebuild or repair their properties, where planning rules have shifted with time.

So far, 32 of NSW’s 128 councils have adopted the natural disasters clause, like the Hills Shire, Hornsby, Liverpool, Northern Beaches and Wollondilly, in the wake of a consultation procedure.

Other councils may presently opt in to adopt the clause, but they must lodge a planning proposal to morph their regional environmental plan.

Eurobodalla mayor Liz Innes stated she would welcome any assistance designed to aid residents in the wake of natural disasters.

More than 500 houses in the Eurobodalla shire were claimed by the Black Summer fires 18 months ago, rendering the region among the most affected by that disaster.

The modifications could simplify the challenges facing property owners whose houses in western Sydney were damaged in the Hawkesbury River floods in March.

Blacktown mayor Tony Bleasdale, whose municipality was struck by the March floods, said his council would not prevent victims of natural disasters from rebuilding their houses.

Yet Penrith deputy mayor Tricia Hitchen expressed concern about homes being rebuilt without taking into consideration new standards designed to lessen the effect of fires or floods.

Penrith City Council has yet to contemplate the natural disasters clause.

Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said the new measure was provoked by the aftermath of the recent floods and bushfires in the state.

Councils that utilise the new planning provision would be required to finish a merit assessment of a development. But the government said the rebuild or repair could not be refused in accordance with any development standards in a regional environmental plan.

 

Source: Sydney Morning Herald.Au