Following last month’s report regarding the Hills Planning Panel refusing the 181 house development between Old Northern Road and Derriwong Road Dural, in a close vote 6/5, Hills Shire Councillors approved the development.

The resolutions at the Council meeting passed were:

1 The planning proposal applicable to land at Derriwong Road and Old Northern Road, Dural be submitted to the Department of Planning and Environment for Gateway Assessment to determine State Government agency views on the merits of the planning proposal.

2 Should the Department of Planning and Environment determine that the proposal has strategic and site-specific merit and issue a Gateway Determination, the following matters should be resolved prior to any exhibition of the planning proposal:

a) The need to increase the proposed minimum lot size at key locations, in order to soften the impact of the development on the Old Northern Road ridgeline and enable better visual transition between the development and surrounding rural land;

b) Access arrangements and relationship between proposed residential lots and the planned arterial bypass road;

c) Establishment of a mechanism to ensure that the proposed amendments would not facilitate a proliferation of seniors housing development proposals on adjoining rural land; and

d) The ability to service the proposed residential yield with new local and regional infrastructure, at no cost to Council.

This would include further resolution of ongoing discussions with State and Federal Government surrounding the funding of required regional road upgrades. The approval of the DA by Hills Shire Councillors will cause confusion within our community. It is directly opposite to the stance taken by Hornsby Council. It will further cause landowners along Old Northern Road on the Hills Shire Council side to now reconsider their options too.

As reported in previous editions of the Dooral Roundup, the Hills Shire Council just spent $300,000 on a Dural Urban Capability and Capacity Assessment.

The recommendations of that Assessment were: (full report online)

• Council discontinue any further investigations with respect to the rezoning of rural land for urban development within the Dural locality at this time.

• If the proponent of any future planning proposal to rezone land within the Dural locality is able to demonstrate that they can deliver the required local and regional infrastructure upgrades at no cost to Council, then Council will consider….. So clearly this proponent will not be expected to upgrade New Line Road.

Does this mean Council are now assuming State/ Federal Government will upgrade New Line Road to facilitate further rezoning in the rural areas? We believe landowners and residents deserve a definitive answer on urban development in our rural areas.

We need both Councils to work together with StateGovernment to end this confusion.