Council refuses caravan park expansion
An application to expand the Bayside Gardens caravan park at Empire Bay has been refused by Central Coast Council.
It was refused under delegation by the development manager in council's environment and planning section.
Despite more than 50 objections, the proposal did not go to a public meeting to be determined by administrator Mr Ian Reynolds.
The Development Application was advertised from September 18 until October 19 in 2015.
Mr Reynolds said 67 public submissions were received comprising 42 individual submissions and two petitions with a total of 25 signatories.
"The use of delegation to determine this application was in accordance with council's policy for determining development applications subject to significant public objection, which provides that development applications subject of more than 50 objections will be referred to an ordinary meeting of Council unless the application is recommended for refusal," he said.
"In this case, as the matter was recommended for refusal, the application was able to be determined under delegation," it said.
The reasons for refusal, outlined in the Notice of Determination included that the long-term caravan park accommodation use proposed in the DA was not permissible within the 7(c2) Scenic Protection - Rural Small Holdings zone under Gosford Interim Development Order 122.
The use was also not consistent with the existing use rights applicable to the land.
The caravan park is subject to the Local Government (Manufactured Home Estates, Caravan Parks, Camping Grounds and Moveable Dwellings) Regulation 2005 but the requirement for inspections and licensing under the Local Government Act was still required.
The application was not for a change of use to a "Manufactured Home Estate", according to Mr Reynolds.
Most objections to the proposal were lodged to an earlier application during 2015 and in 2016 the applicant lodged amended plans in an attempt to address some of the concerns expressed in submissions from community members.
In February 2016, Mr Tony Tuxworth from Coastplan Consulting outlined the proponent's attention to the provision of community facilities and open spaces, improvements to site setbacks from Pomona Rd and a landscape plan providing for replacement of swamp mahogany to replace removed trees.
Community objections included arguments that the DA sought the "mass intensification of land use...in a predominantly rural residential area with very poor access to services for future residents.
"The proposal does not promote the social and economic welfare of the community.
"The only services and facilities located within walking distance are a tavern and bottleshop, a service station incorporating fast food outlet and small supermarket, a preschool and a plant nursery and cafe.
"There are very few employment opportunities in the immediate area, and the local bus services are infrequent.
"Empire Bay Public School is a 20-minute walk away along a road with no footpath.
"The local shops in Empire Bay village are 3km away and are very limited, comprising a newsagency, post office, cafe, hairdresser and dental clinic.
"Council has mapped the site as prone to both bushfires and floods and inadequate information has been provided to indicate that risk to future residents has been minimised.
"No consideration of the vegetation type or category has been provided.
"Given its proximity to a number of nature reserves and National Parks, the site is part of a significant wildlife corridor.
"The extensive clearing proposed will have a negative impact on the flora and fauna of the area."
The Statement of Environmental Effect for the proposed development states that 'the land is bushfire prone and flood prone however these matters do not prevent the site being developed for caravan park sites'.
"This is an oversimplification of matters.
"No real analysis of potential flooding or bushfire risk is presented in the SEE or supporting documentation, nor is there any real discussion on how the risks are to be minimised, for both park residents and surrounding residents.
"These risks to public safety are underplayed, and require significant further consideration."
Media statement, 9 Jun 2017
Ian Reynolds, Central Coast Council
Notice of Determination, 12 May 2017
DA48304/2015, Central Coast Council Gosford E-Planning Portal