Two new local governments, two distinct and fresh approaches –
On January 1, 2014, the local government conglomerate of Maroochy Shire Council, Caloundra City Council, and Noosa Council, known since 2008 as the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, ceased to exist. In its place rose two new Council configurations; a reinstatement of the Noosa Council, and the Sunshine Coast Regional Council comprised of the former Maroochy Shire Council and Caloundra City Council areas. This change was one fought for a long time by residents of Noosa, seeking de-amalgamation from the broader local government of the SunshineCoast. While the reformation will ultimately allow Noosa Shire residents to solely direct their Council’s future, both Councils have exciting new paths and challenges ahead of them, in order to select and set the scene for living and working on the SunshineCoast over the next decade and beyond.
The draft Sunshine Coast Regional Council planning scheme has gone through public consultation and review, with the scheme currently with the State government awaiting Ministerial sign-off for implementation. The new scheme is expected to be endorsed around March 2014, according to the Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s (SCRC) website. The new SCRC planning scheme has been drafted utilizing the Queensland Planning Provisions; the State’s template for local governments preparing planning schemes in order to encourage a consistent approach to scheme layouts, wording, and particularly land use definitions.
The new SCRC planning scheme, as a QPP plan, will look and feel like other new planning schemes in Queensland. This means that zone types and land use definitions will be the same state-wide. A number of facets of the new SCRC planning scheme are specific to the Sunshine Coast region, including a declared activity centre in Maroochydore (the Principal Regional Activity Centre – PRAC), a lenient change in residential dwelling density tests (“equivalent dwellings per hectare” as opposed to “dwelling unity factors”), and significant changes both encouraging and prohibiting duplex development in low density areas. The introduction of the new scheme will inevitably change the direction of development in the SunshineCoast, regardless of what form it ultimately takes.
Noosa Council currently regulates development under the 2006 Noosa Planning Scheme (‘The Noosa Plan’), which was also the relevant document for the area while Noosa Shire was part of the Sunshine Coast Regional Council. This 2006 scheme will remain in force until such a time that a new scheme takes effect. Our planning team has been working with The Noosa Plan since its inception in 2006, and can accordingly provide an experienced service to those seeking advice on matters within the Shire of Noosa. We look forward to helping our clients both presently with the current scheme, and also into the next phase of Noosa’s planning and development progression.