MidCoast Council will push ahead with its proposal to rezone an area around Lake Street, Forster from medium to high density, increasing building heights from 12 to 30 metres.
Measuring an area of approximately 9000 square metres, council owned property, Lake Lane has been removed from the six property project to now include two lots owned by Ampol Pty Ltd (Caltex Service Station in MacIntosh Street), two lots owned by Merrylands RSL Club and one lot owned by Ingleburn RSL Club located along Lake Street.
The properties comprise single and two storey holiday accommodation, managers' residence, swimming pools, car parking and barbecue areas.
An urban design analysis report, undertaken by MidCoast Council has identified the area as a key development site for Forster due to its location to commercial, waterfront and the civic centre.
According to a report from All About Planning Pty Ltd land use planner, Rebecca Underwood, the civic precinct incorporates a mixed zone that would provide a range of community facilities, commercial floor space and residential and tourist accommodation.
"Increased height over the subject site is proposed to support these more intense land uses."
Following an extended community consultation program, which stretched from December 2020 until March, council received 47 written submissions from members of the community, many objecting to the changes.
Peter Epov, who was the only councillor to object to the proposal, said he was swayed to vote against the motion due to the number of community members voicing their concerns.
Speaking against the motion, Cr Epov believed we have "sufficient stocks of underdeveloped highrise sites for the next 10 years."
While Troy Fowler was not against the motion, he would have preferred it deferred to gauge a better understanding of the impact on local services.
"I am not against development and growth; you can see what this council has done over the last term," Cr Fowler said.
"I listened to the concerns of the community and I saw the feedback we had during the community consultation, this is why I would of preferred to deferred it, so we can get more of a understanding the impact on the local services."
I listened to the concerns of the community and I saw the feedback we had during the community consultation, this is why I would of preferred to deferred it, so we can get more of a understanding the impact on the local services.Troy Fowler
He expressed his concern about the pace of growth in Forster now.
And, we still don't have a public hospital or A&E in Forster, he said.
"If you want a new hospital and bridge you need development going ahead," Brad Christensen said.
Cr Christensen believed rezoning changes would bring funding to the area through developer contribution.
Community concerns ranged from additional pressure on traffic congestion, particularly around the Forster Tuncurry bridge, the threat to Forster's seaside village culture and character, to an impact on existing infrastructure.
"There are already more than 10-12 undeveloped high rise sites within 500 metres of the subject site which is already providing 20-30 years supply of development," one submission said.
However, Len Roberts rejected the submissions.
"It's basically Christmas time all year round in Forster since COVID," Cr Roberts said.
"We've got more people, we have to house them.
"We need to have it ready for the next 10 years to come.
"We need to set ourselves up.
"It's a good development, it's something we need for the area. "
Pleading with council not to go ahead with the proposal, one resident wrote: We are a unique land and seascape. Our town does not have endless expansion capacity for two reasons: We don't have the endless footprint to grow physically. The asset that is loved both by visitors and more so residents is the exact reason Forster/Tuncurry is what it is."
"Why anyone would want to destroy a beautiful environment and convert it to the ugliness of Surfers Paradise, Hong Kong and other equally horrific residential areas is to be questioned," another wrote.
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