'UNATTAINABLE': Coast developers reject planning change idea
A LEADING Fraser Coast property boss has hit back at councillor David Lewis's calls for changes to planning regulations to maintain as much vegetation as possible in new developments.
Fraser Coast Property Industry Association president Glen Winney labelled Cr Lewis's comments "noble thoughts" but said they were "unattainable" and not in line with existing safeguards.
He said it was disappointing the FCPI was not consulted if a round table was convened to recommend changes to town planning.
"The (development) industry is not against vegetation and vegetation areas but we understand the need to be located in appropriate areas for environmental and recreational purposes," Mr Winney said.
"In just about all new residential low density subdivisions the bulk of the trees cannot be saved because the sites are either cut or filled to adhere to council regulations of habitable floor levels, flood mapping, drainage, road corridors and services in the ground. Therefore, any fill or cut would likely kill existing trees."
Mr Winney said developers adhered to Fraser Coast Regional Council's road width rules.
He said smaller lots and higher density was the only way rates would decrease, rather than urban spread.
"All new developments are conditioned by the council to plant street trees in line with FCRC's own policy," he said.
"We are a fairly low socio-economic area and affordability is a high priority to buyers.
"Making larger, more expensive blocks is an opposite trend to current development best practices.
"We have an aging, downsizing population that wants lifestyle and better community areas and amenities, not unaffordable, larger blocks.
"Council have set by-laws that allow owners to remove trees that are too close houses for safety reasons."
Mr Winney said the council took "a contribution from developers for clearing any higher value vegetation and that is to be spent in offsets".