Residents concerned about out-of-character developments in residential areas have the chance to shape the direction of future planning.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has drafted a local strategic planning statement, to guide local value planning for the next two decades.
Comments on 'shaping our future 2040' will close on September 22.
Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann says residents can get involved in the process.
"This is the chance for residents to learn more and have their say on growth and development in our region and how it happens," she said.
"The council staff have put together a terrific, 180-page document.
"I would encourage anyone interested in what values our community could head for in the future to browse through this amazing document," Cr Intemann said.
"If you want to know more, search for 'PMHC council LSPS'.
"Comments close on September 22 and I'd love to hear what you have to say."
Cr Intemann is active in land use planning issues, promoting what governments call Housing Choice, concerning density of development.
A number of Port Macquarie residents have raised their concerns over out-of-character residential developments in recent years.
In February 2020, Treeview Way resident Bob Withers told the Port Macquarie News he was shocked by a unit development along his back boundary fenceline.
Mr Withers said he supports a lower density option for residential developments.
"I think people will consider either not coming to Port Macquarie or leaving, if this kind of development continues," he said.
"Who wants to wake up with a block of units on their back boundary - even a four metre setback would have been preferable.
"These monstrous developments are going ahead simply because they bring money to town.
"For us, our beautiful home has simply been destroyed."
Mr Withers says he also has concerns with residential developments that don't carry with them a relevant road strategy or suitable traffic management measures.
For us, our beautiful home has simply been destroyed.Bob Withers
He said it would be obvious that building multiple unit blocks in a residential area would mean an increase in traffic flow.
The Treeview Way resident said he has grave fears for the future of Port Macquarie.
"They are going to kill what Port Macquarie is renowned for," he said.
"If you want to build these particular types of buildings, they should be confined to particular areas.
"These developments are not suitable to our area."
Mr Withers said he supports having a low density residential option and would be making a comment to council through the Housing Choice process.
He also called for residents to have a right of reply at council's development assessment panel meetings.
"When the development for these units went to the DAP meeting, the chair Paul Drake commented that because the land was going to be excavated to 1.8m and the units would be seen as a single storey development the DA was approved.
"Unfortunately the excavation was for just a section of the south west corner of the block.
"With a right of reply, we could have made our point."
Cr Intemann said one possible way to address this source of loss and disappointment for some people, is to designate some areas to stay low density and not be threatened by more dense development.
If someone has bought into a residential area when it is low density can be shocked later by feeling over-run by what is right now quite permissible higher density housing.Cr Lisa Intemann
"Right now we have vast areas of single storey residential areas, which actually permits up to two storey and medium density, even boundary to boundary. People are often unaware of this.
"If someone has bought into a residential area when it is low density can be shocked later by feeling over-run by what is right now quite permissible higher density housing.
"I don't think it's a real housing choice if you can't be sure of what you're buying into. I'd like to see council look at this and find a way that at least some places locally can be limited to low density, and people can be more confident what they are buying into."
Council is programmed in the medium term to look into Housing Choice under its urban growth management strategy. Once the investigations are started, the process could take over a year to complete, involving broad consultation across the community.
Cr Intemann said people could start having their say on important issues like housing density issue by browsing the 'shaping our future' document and commenting to council on what you want locally for future development.
"Tell us what you want to see in the future, and even your brief insightful comments are terrific to get, in this case by September 22 on how you want development to proceed in our local area," Cr Intemann said.
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