The fast-track rezone process has begun at Huntingfield to allow for affordable homes.
The Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania (PMAT) understand the proposal is for over 500 dwellings on around 30 hectares, allowing for one of the largest and most dense subdivisions ever proposed in Tasmania (see map).
The PMAT believes the area will only contain a small percentage of affordable homes and asks, “What will such a massive proposal mean for residents, adjoining schools, traffic, strategic planning and pressure on existing infrastructure, health and education services in Kingborough?”
The Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Dean Winter, also expressed concerns about the proposed density of housing and future infrastructure requirements of the site, as the number of dwellings is almost double previous estimates and is only allowable because of the process and zoning the government is undertaking.
“By using the emergency housing powers granted to it by the Parliament last year, the government is able to bypass the standard process that occurs for rezoning land.
“I do not believe the inner-residential zoning is appropriate for this site and I am concerned that there is, as yet, no infrastructure plan to go with the proposal.
“Our roads are congested and a lot of our schools are full.
“We need the government to commit to addressing these issues and acknowledge no development of this size should proceed without the necessary infrastructure in place,” said Mayor Winter.
This new fast-track rezone process was created by the Tasmanian Government in 2018 but has not been used in Kingborough before.
As the State Government is the proponent, they chose who will be consulted with and who will assess the proposal.
While affordable housing is essential, the PMAT notes that the proposal has not been advertised for public comment.
President of the PMAT, Anne Harrison, is concerned that public scrutiny is completely lacking and that the process sidelines the Kingborough Council and the Planning Commission.
“Does this sound like a transparent and robust planning process?” asks President Harrison.
Mayor Winter acknowledges the land has been owned by the government and earmarked for housing for decades but is concerned the current process will not give the community a voice.
“It is not surprising that in the midst of a housing crisis, the government is again looking to bring the area online for new housing.
“Council wants to work with the government to build the best development it can, with the right resources and appropriate infrastructure.
“We also want to make sure our community is heard and understood.
“Council accepts the land is suitable for housing and we want to make sure the outcomes benefit the whole community,” Mayor Winter said.
Due to the significant concerns within the community regarding the lack of public consultation and the implications of such a huge proposal for Kingborough, a public meeting has been organised by the PMAT.
The meeting will be held at the Kingborough Community Hub (former Kingston High School site) on Thursday, July 25, at 7pm.
Speakers will include Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Dean Winter, Huntingfield resident, Matt Jones, farmer and business owner, Greg Whitten and Council Chair of the Tarremah Steiner School, Rachel Downie.
The meeting will be live streamed via the Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania’s Facebook page for those who cannot attend in person.
The PMAT responded to the comments of Minister for Housing, Roger Jaensch from The Kingborough Chronicle, July 2, relating to the Huntingfield rezone with the following:
“The Minister stated, ‘The fast track rezoning legislation only speeds up the process of rezoning: it does not apply to the development application process, which will go through the normal Council process’.
“What the Minister is not saying, is that the process is in part speeded up because it removes the normal requirement for a rezone to be publicly advertised for public comment and bypasses the Kingborough Council and the Tasmanian Planning Commission (all of which is part of a normal rezone process).
The PMAT adds, “While the Minister is correct in saying that the development application for these subdivisions will go through the normal planning process, what is not being said is that once the land is rezoned for this extremely intensive subdivision (i.e. Inner Residential) and new Business zones, there will be very narrow grounds upon which the community can have input.
“The Minister also says the proposal will not compromise planning and community considerations.
“However, the broader community has been given no opportunity to raise their concerns through a public consultation process. “Most rezones in the last 25 years in Tasmania have been publicly advertised for comment through the normal Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 planning process.
“The Minister also says, ‘This is the same approach used for all of the other housing supply orders we have put up’.
"What it is important to note here, is that four housing land supply orders have been approved by the Tasmanian Parliament, but these were for only comparatively very small areas of land, rather than the massive scale and density of the Huntingfield proposal.
"This rezone is for Inner Residential density, which is best suited to inner city areas, not for the outskirts of a suburb nearly 20 km south of the city,” finished the PMAT when responding to the published information.
When asked for a response to the PMAT’s concerns, Mr Jaensch stood by previous comments that the processes being followed are consistent with the Housing Land Supply Act 2018 and the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 and will not compromise planning and community considerations regarding the Huntingfield development.
President Harrison and the PMAT suggest that given the long term community interest in the future of how best to use the land at Huntingfield and that so many in the community are concerned about the proposed rezone, the best course of action going forward, is to have the rezone assessed through the normal planning process.
Mayor Winter adds, “Council is still able to have some influence over the outcome of the development through the development application process, however this will be greatly dictated by the zoning the government is effectively giving itself.”
The PMAT states that there is no justification for this rezone to be assessed via the Housing Land Supply Act 2018 and that the proposal does not properly consider the suitability of the land for social and affordable housing or ensure proper community consultation, strategic and infrastructure planning.
Pictured, two areas of the Inner Residential Zone, marked Precinct A, will be the most intensively developed of all the zones, with higher buildings to be allowed and built wall to wall with minimal street setbacks according to the PMAT. (PS)
Have your say on this devisive issue thorugh the Kingborough Chronicle poll running on the front page of the website, https://kingboroughchronicle.com.au/