Home among gum trees: Subdivision modified to preserve koala habitat

A positive outcome for both the environment and a developer has been successfully negotiated by Clarence Valley Council with the approval of modifications to a proposed subdivision at Lawrence.

The original subdivision, approved in 2009, consisted of 14 lots facing onto the road reserve along Havelock Street, Rawdon Street and Exmouth Street.

Community concerns were first raised in November 2021 when a Development Application for the first house in the subdivision was lodged with Council, which would have impacted on koala habitat and feed trees in the road reserve.

Havelock St aerial.JPG

As a direct result of these concerns, Council staff worked closely with the developer to negotiate a better outcome. This resulted in the developer modifying the approved subdivision layout to retain the trees, which was unanimously supported at the April 2022 Council meeting.

“The approved subdivision layout would have ultimately resulted in the removal of the majority of trees within the road reserves due to construction, services and driveway access points required for each lot,” Clarence Valley Council Manager Development and Land Use Planning Murray Lane said.

“The developer voluntarily lodged an application to internalise the road and services to save important koala feed trees in the adjacent road verges.”

The new layout results in access being gained via a cul-de-sac off Exmouth Street and an overall reduction in lot yield from 14 to 12 lots.

Amended plan.JPG

Council waived or absorbed several planning fees and service connection costs in recognition of the voluntary nature of the developer’s modification to the subdivision design, environmental benefit, the added cost of constructing the cul-de-sac and to help offset the loss of two allotments. The absorbed costs for water connection works were also due to the material public benefit of improved service availability to nearby properties.

Koala habitat trees in the adjacent road reserve will be identified by Council with flagging tape to ensure they are protected during construction works.

As part of the negotiations Council has also agreed to undertake a general clean up and weed maintenance of the road verges to improve koala movement and overall aesthetics of the area.

“This change to the subdivision design and approval is a significant win for local urban environmental values,” Manager Environment and Regulatory Services Scott Lenton said.

View the Minutes of the 26 April 2022 meeting

/Public Release. View in full here.