Ballina rejects Alstonville-Wollongbar buffer rezoning

A CONTROVERSIAL application to rezone 0.68 hectares of land in the Alstonville-Wollongbar buffer zone has been rejected by Ballina Shire Council.

The proposal would have changed the use of the land in Robb St from Environmental Protection (Urban Buffer) to industrial zone.

But following a heated debate, councillors yesterday voted 6-4 to protect the buffer zone.

Cr Jeff Johnson said the council should not allow the industrial zone to encroach on the buffer, and said council staff had repeatedly recommended against rezoning.

"Rezoning this land will just reinforce that our planning documents are not worth the paper they're printed on," he said.

Cr Keith Williams agreed, and said the proponents had simply refused to accept previous refusals.

But Cr Keith Johnson said it would not set a precedent.

"It would not threaten anyone's wellbeing or life-style," he said.

Cr Paul Worth said he would always protect the Alstonville Wollongbar buffer zone from development, but acknowledged rezoning the 6800 sq m parcel of land would have no impact.

In a deputation supporting the rezoning, planner Rob Van Iersel said the application would only have changed lines on a map.

"There will be no new roads, no new buildings, and this would solve a long-term problem," he said.

The proponents could now request the Planning Minister intervene.

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