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Exhibition period of Draft Local Environmental Plan 2020 extended due to COVID-19

13/05/2020

Georges River Council has moved to extend the public exhibition period of the draft Georges River Local Environmental Plan 2020 (LEP 2020), draft Local Housing Strategy and draft Inclusive Housing Strategy by 16 days to 31 May 2020.

Council will also be holding online engagement sessions towards the end of May 2020 to provide the community with an opportunity to discuss the draft LEP with Council staff.

The decision comes in response to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 shutdown, which has resulted in the closure of Council’s face-to-face customer service centres and the cancellation of planned community engagement sessions, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

The draft LEP 2020 is a legal document which will harmonise the existing Hurstville and Kogarah LEPs, containing provisions such as land use zones, building heights, heritage and local provisions, such as landscaping.

Mayor of Georges River Council Kevin Greene said the decision to extend the deadline was about mitigating disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis and maximising the community’s opportunity to have their say on the draft LEP.

“Back in November, Council had planned for a minimum 60-day community engagement program, commencing from 26 February. With the latest extension the exhibition period will now equate to a total of 96 days,” said Mayor Greene.

Council received $2.5 million in grant funding from the NSW Government for an accelerated review of Council’s existing LEPs and the preparation of a new LEP that aligns with the priorities outlined in the South District Plan.
Under the Funding Agreement, Council is legally obliged to deliver the draft LEP to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment before 30 June 2020.

To date, the Minister for Planning has not advised Council that it can vary the terms of the Funding Agreement to enable the deadline for submission of the draft LEP to be deferred beyond 30 June 2020.

“Following the announcement of the COVID-19 restrictions, Council sought to identify options for extending the exhibition period. Unfortunately, like many councils we are legally obligated to meet deadlines set out by the NSW Government under the Accelerated LEP Program,” said Mayor Greene.

In response to the COVID-19 shutdown, the NSW Government removed the requirement to display physical copies of planning documents such as draft LEPs at Council locations, in order to ensure that current exhibition periods would not be affected. A range of other initiatives were also introduced as part of the NSW Government’s Planning System Acceleration Program.

“It has always been our intention to have the community involved in every step of this process, and we are committed to ensuring that remains the case,” said Mayor Greene.

“I would encourage all residents to read through the LEP brochure that was sent to all households in March. This outlines the LEP changes, what they mean and the process of delivering the LEP. We are also providing additional information to respond to feedback from the community. This additional information is available at yoursay.georgesriver.nsw.gov.au/lep2020.

“While all LEP documents are available for viewing online via Council’s Your Say website, all residents can contact our dedicated LEP 2020 hotline and email address. Staff are also available to answer questions,” said Mayor Greene.

The draft LEP 2020 is the first in Council’s three stage LEP program for the local government area. The remaining two LEPs being undertaken in 2021 and 2022 will provide further opportunity to review the planning provisions if required.

The Georges River Local Planning Panel will consider the draft LEP in late June 2020. To view the draft LEP documents, visit Council’s Your Say website at yoursay.georgesriver.nsw.gov.au/lep2020

Council’s Strategic Planning team can be contacted on 9330 6211 or lep@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au For information on Georges River Council, visit www.georgesriver.nsw.gov.au or call 9330 6400

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