Aircraft Noise

Article from Port Stephens Examiner 14 March 2013

A fifty three lot subdivision proposed for a controversial aircraft-noise affected area in Raymond Terrace was approved in principal by council last night.

But will come back to council again after councillors Geoff Dingle, John Nell and Peter Kafer lodged a rescission motion to bring the matter back to council.

Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie called up the development application (DA) for 2 Halloran Way, which extends to 153 Richardson Road, for councillors to vote on.

The land falls within the contours of the Department of Defence’s Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF), which outlines future aircraft noise levels and impacted areas.

The maps generated much angst in the community over fears of property devaluation and building restrictions before it was amended in 2011.

The amendment saw many previously affected properties excluded from the boundaries, however this particular development site still lies largely inside.

Cr MacKenzie told the Examiner before the meeting he believed no prime Port Stephens development land should be “sterilised”, even if it lies in an aircraft-noise affected area.

The DA was earmarked for refusal by council staff because of its location in certain ANEF contours.

“Given that the development seeks approval for allotments to be used for residential purposes. . . it is considered to be unacceptable to approve a subdivision in this noise zone,” a council report stated.

But Cr MacKenzie said he believed residents and the RAAF could live together, calling the DA up so “councillors could have their say”.

“In this day and age you can take steps to insulate and eliminate aircraft noise,” he said.

Councillor Geoff Dingle said he believed approving the DA would send a negative message to the Department of Defence which had spent significant time consulting with the community when drawing up the new maps.

“If we just go and approve this they [defence] would think why bother?”

Cr Dingle was also concerned approving the development would cause problems with building approvals down the track.

“It would be setting the community, setting people up for failure,” he said.

A council report echoed his concerns.

“Any approval of the subdivision would result in the creation of fifty three allotment intended for residential dwellings that could not have a dwelling built upon them due to aircraft noise constraints relating to the ANEF 2025,” it stated.

But a revised council report given to councillors on the night, after “ongoing dialog with some councillors” stated that the site could be deemed as “infill” and future developments, with certain design requirements, could be considered by council.

Of the 53 lots proposed only 10 would lie within the 20-25 ANEF noise contour which states dwellings are conditionally acceptable.

The other 43 lots lie in an area, 25-30, that is considered unacceptable for dwellings.

The Department of Defence was contacted but was unable to respond in time for publication.

This has been cross posted from the Port Stephens Examiner website


Article on NBN News 16 March 2013

Three Port Stephens councillors are asking the state government to remove the council’s planning powers, after a controversial decision on a housing estate.

Most of the land falls into an area that the Department of Defence says is a no-go zone, because of jet noise.

This has been cross posted from the NBN News website.

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