The Victory heights recreational area is one of the main areas proposed to be rezoned in the latest Gympie Regional Council planning scheme amendments.
The Victory heights recreational area is one of the main areas proposed to be rezoned in the latest Gympie Regional Council planning scheme amendments. Google Maps

How pending changes to Gympie's planning scheme affect you

HOME business hopefuls and small-event hosts look to be the big winners in Gympie Regional Council's proposed planning scheme amendments.

With an entirely new town planning scheme still about four years away, the council wants to make a few tweaks to the 2013 documents to keep the region moving in the direction people want.

Below are a dozen areas of the scheme the council wants to improve and refine.

1. Victory Heights residential

A ONCE-proposed industrial area at Victory Heights is proposed to be turned into rural residential due to significant challenges to development on the site.

The council had earmarked the area in 2013 as a potential home for industrial development.

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However, a provision in the scheme required a structure plan (a document outlining how the land is to be developed) be established for the area.

Council staff said through this investigation, which started in 2016, it became clear multiple "significant” problems existed which would hinder future development.

"The flooding constraint, and topography, is going to cost developers a lot of money to try and deal with getting flat.”

However, businesses which already are in the area and are legal will be allowed to continue operating at the same scale and intensity.

2. Home-based businesses

Gympie CBD
Gympie CBD. Troy Jegers

RESIDENTS who want to fire up their own business at home could get a helping hand from a proposal to loosen restrictions in the scheme.

Council staff said the amended planning scheme would introduce a new code to encourage home-based businesses to start up and stay in the region.

The plan is to balance this growth with ensuring any home-based business is not adversely affecting nearby homes.

There are proposed changes for home-based businesses within the District Centre Zone (which encompasses areas around Barter, Wickham and Mellor streets), and the level of assessment has been significantly lowered.

"If they comply with the outcomes in the home-based business code, we don't need to see an application if you're in a District Centre Zone.”

3. Temporary events

Gympie MX Nationals
Motorsport fans could be big winners if the changes are approved. Troy Jegers

FANS of motor and trail bike riding are in line to be winners from plans to deregulate specific events in the region.

The tweaks should make it easier to allow these specific uses without having the proponents buried in paperwork.

"We have drafted in some allowances for them to occur.”

The new tweak also applies to things like film shoots, music events, car washes and outdoor sales.

Each different use has time guidelines to be adhered to; for motorsport, this is no more than two days a year and running for four days straight.

If the scheme's parameters are met then there will be no need for an application.

Permits and other regulatory requirements still need to be met.

4. Healthcare help on the Cooloola Coast

HIGHER rates of smoking, inactivity and obesity in Dalby mean residents are significantly more likely to be hospitalised with heart disease than people in the rest of the country.
Stethoscope. lenetstan

THE need for medical help on the coast is an ongoing issue, and the latest amendments to the council's planning schemes aim to help make it happen.

The proposed amendments would make it easier for services to set up shop.

"If they can meet the requirements then we don't need an application if it's an existing commercial building out there.”

The existing town planning scheme sets the bar at the highest level of assessment.

5. Victory Heights open space

THE future of the shooting clubs and recreational trails at Victory Heights is being resolved in the amendments.

The new plan proposes returning the site, which is zoned residential and rural residential, to open space zoning.

Staff said the change reflects the significant environmental values and the recreational activities which have become well established.

"We wanted to acknowledge it is a successful operating recreational area that is respecting the environment,” staff said.

One part of the area has also been designated an environmental offset for the upcoming Gympie Bypass.

6. Industrial off highway

Gympie Drone Photos
Area near Pinewood Ave. Troy Jegers

AN EXISTING stretch along Pinewood Ave with existing businesses is about to become an entirely industrial zone.

Council staff said since 2013 it had only been receiving industrial development applications for the land in this section.

The new scheme would zone the section a mixture of low and medium industrial.

"There's a lot of small-scale low-impact industry businesses successfully operating in there,” staff said.

By mixing the zoning, a nearby strip of residential housing will remain unaffected by future development in the area.

7. Granny flats

THE council is providing a wider scope for development of granny flats.

Under the new proposal the maximum floor space for a detached dwelling is increasing from 60sqm to 70sqm.

In the new proposed amendments, the dwelling now only needs to be within 20m of the main house.

If it falls within this limit, no planning approval is needed.

Council staff said the increase in size will allow people to put another bedroom in.

8. Bushfire hazard maps

Images of the bushfire currently burning in the Great Sandy National Park near Teewah Camp Ground.
Bushfire risk areas are getting an overhaul. Contributed

GYMPIE'S bushfire hazard zoning is proposed to be brought in line with State Government regulations.

This includes changing the intensity categories to include very high, high, medium potential bushfire intensity, and a potential impact buffer.

The existing planning scheme only has "medium and high risk” areas.

Council staff said these changes would give the scheme more accurate mapping, and reduce the number of properties impacted by bushfire hazard.

9. Advertising signs

ADVERTISING sign guidelines are being expanded to reduce grey areas within the existing planning scheme.

The council is introducing a specific code to provide clarity to developers and residents on what advertising can go where, and how large it can be.

Council staff said there is a "limited suite” of definitions for advertising in the existing scheme.

This is being expanded to "make sure we can tailor our outcomes for each of those advertising devices.”

Council staff said this allows them to reduce the severity of the visual impact these signs have on the region's appearance.

10. East Deep Creek buffer

THE rail line at East Deep Creek is set to become a dividing line in the area, splitting residential and industrial land.

A section of land bounded by Noosa, Fairview and Simpsons road is being split to allow residential houses in the areas to exist in the correct zone.

Under the 2013 planning scheme, the entire block is zoned for industrial.

Council staff said the train line was a "logical” border to be used in the split.

11. Plumbing consistency across regions

THE Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisations of Councils' code for water and sewage infrastructure across the regions is being standardised.

Council staff said Gympie council is the first to incorporate this region-wide scheme into its planning documents.

"(If) a development requires water and sewage infrastructure in our region it's the same requirements for water and sewer in our neighbouring regions as well.”

This will stop the infrastructure requirements "chopping and changing” between boundaries and is similar to the system in use on the Sunshine Coast.

12. Battle-axe block shift

RESIDENTS seeking to create a battleaxe block at the rear of their property are going to have a win thanks to a minor tweak the council wants to make.

The new amendments removed a clause stopping rear lots being built on land with a gradient less than 5 per cent.

Bonus: Height limit remains the same

GYMPIE council planning staff have confirmed that, outside of a six-storey section of the Rainbow Shores planning scheme which has been part of the plan since 1990, the scheme retains the maximum three-storey limit (which itself is only possible along the length of Mary St).

Have your say

Gympie Regional Council is continuing its series of Talk-to-a-Planner sessions throughout the region to give the community an opportunity to discuss how the proposed amendments might impact their area.

The sessions, where members of the public can pop in at any time to talk one-on-one with one of council's town planners about the proposed amendments, will be held at the Rainbow Beach Library on Wednesday from 4pm-7pm, and the Kilkivan Hall on Thursday from 4pm-7pm.

Community members who would like to comment on the proposed amendments are invited to prepare a submission, which they can complete online at www.gympie.qld.gov. au/haveyoursay.

Alternatively, the public can grab a flyer, which includes a submission template, while at a Talk-to-a-Planner session or by visiting their local library.

All changes are still only proposed and must be passed by Gympie Regional Councillors in a future meeting.