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Peregian Beach
Monday, March 4, 2024

PBCA; planning for the Climate Crisis. (PBCA)

Many claims and counter claims are swirling around Noosa over how we step through the legal and planning minefield of protecting our coast from the increasing risks of the Climate Crisis.

This is a PBCA analysis of some of these issues.

This Peregian Beach scene from a few years ago is projected to become a far more common sight.

Developments proposed in an erosion prone or natural hazard area

When Noosa Council assesses a development application for a material change of use, reconfiguration of a lot or operational works on premises in an area which is bushfire prone, flood hazard, landslide hazard, storm tide inundation or erosion prone, it is required to use assessment benchmarks set-out in the State Planning Policy.

In an erosion prone area within a coastal management district, development will not be approved unless it cannot feasibly be located elsewhere and is coastal-dependent development; or temporary, readily relocatable or able to be abandoned development; or essential community infrastructure; or minor redevelopment of an existing permanent building or structure that cannot be relocated or abandoned.

In bushfire, flood, landslide, storm tide inundation and erosion areas outside the coastal management district, development is required to avoid natural hazard areas, or where it is not possible to avoid the natural hazard area, development is required to mitigate the risks to people and property to an acceptable or tolerable level.

In all natural hazard areas, development is required to support and not hinder disaster management response or recovery capacity and capabilities; directly, indirectly and cumulatively avoid an increase in the severity of the natural hazard and the potential for damage on the site or to other properties.

The natural processes and the protective function of landforms and the vegetation that can mitigate risks associated with the natural hazard are to be maintained or enhanced.

What does all that mean to an existing property owner in a coastal erosion prone or natural hazard area?

If your property is in these areas, your existing use is unaffected but if you seek a material change of use or a reconfiguration of the land or operational works on the premises, e.g. want to extend your building towards or especially into the coastal management district then Council, as the Development Assessment body, will refer the application to the Queensland Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (SARA). SARA will assess it against the State Planning Policy (SPP).

This process was recently illustrated in a Council decision on an application for reconfiguration of 33 Ross Crescent, Sunshine Beach on 28 May 2021.

This application was required to be referred to the chief executive (Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (SARA) for assessment given the site is mapped as an Erosion Prone Area and Coastal Management District.

SARA assessed the proposal and determined that the subdivision did not meet the assessment benchmarks outlined in the SPP and directed Council to refuse the application on several grounds.

In accordance with section 62 of the Planning Act 2016, Council must and did comply with the referral agency’s response and refused the application.

WORKING NOTES:

State Planning Policy The Noosa Plan 2020 is generally consistent with the State Planning Policy July 2017 (SPP) except for that part of the SPP for Natural Hazards, risk and resilience. Therefore, an assessment against the assessment benchmarks for Natural Hazards, risk and resilience within the SPP is required as the development is in both a Coastal Management District and mapped as an Erosion Prone Area by the state. The relevant assessment benchmarks includes the following:

(1) Development does not occur in an erosion prone area within a coastal management district unless the development cannot feasibly be located elsewhere and is:

(a) coastal-dependent development; or

(b) temporary, readily relocatable or able to be abandoned development; or

(c) essential community infrastructure; or

(d) minor redevelopment of an existing permanent building or structure that cannot be relocated or abandoned.

(7) The natural processes and the protective function of landforms and the vegetation that can mitigate risks associated with the natural hazard are maintained or enhanced.

Development is defined by the Planning Act 2016 and includes Reconfiguring a Lot. The proposal is therefore inconsistent with the State Planning Policy as the proposed reconfiguring a lot, will result in an additional lot within the mapped areas, is not coastal-dependant (such as boat ramps, marinas, harbours etc.), temporary, essential community infrastructure or constitute minor redevelopment of an existing building or structure. The proposal will also impact the ability to maintain natural process and the protective function of landforms and vegetation that can mitigate risks to people and property in the area.

Notably, this application was required to be referred to the chief executive (Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (SARA) for assessment given the site is mapped as an Erosion Prone Area and Coastal Management District.

SARA has assessed the proposal and similarly determined that the subdivision does not meet the assessment benchmarks outlined in the SPP and have directed Council to refuse the application on several grounds. This is further discussed below in section 4.1 of this report.

In in accordance with section 62 of the Planning Act 2016, Council must comply with the referral agency – SARA’s responses.

Where such applications are contrary to the State Planning Policy 2017 policies and assessment benchmarks for Natural hazards, risk and resilience because:

1.1 the site is fully located within an erosion prone area in a Coastal Management District and is not coastal-dependant development.

1.2 the proposal will impact the ability to maintain natural process and the protective function of landforms and vegetation that can mitigate risks to people and property in the area.

SARA will advise Council to reject the application and Council has no discretion.

A development application for a material change of use, reconfiguration of a lot or operational works on premises in any of the following:

(1) bushfire prone areas

(2) flood hazard areas

(3) landslide hazard areas

(4) storm tide inundation areas

(5) erosion prone area.7

All of the following requirements are assessment benchmarks for the development:

Erosion prone areas within a coastal management district8:

(1) Development does not occur in an erosion prone area within a coastal management district unless the development cannot feasibly be located elsewhere and is:

(a) coastal-dependent development; or

(b) temporary, readily relocatable or able to be abandoned development; or

(c) essential community infrastructure; or

(d) minor redevelopment9 of an existing permanent building or structure that cannot be relocated or abandoned.

2) Development permitted in (1) above, mitigates the risks to people and property to an acceptable or tolerable level.

(3) Development other than that assessed against (1) above, avoids natural hazard areas, or where it is not possible to avoid the natural hazard area, development mitigates the risks to people and property to an acceptable or tolerable level.

All natural hazard areas:

(4) Development supports and does not hinder disaster management response or recovery capacity and capabilities.

(5) Development directly, indirectly and cumulatively avoids an increase in the severity of the natural hazard and the potential for damage on the site or to other properties.

(6) Risks to public safety and the environment from the location of hazardous materials and the release of these materials as a result of a natural hazard are avoided.

(7) The natural processes and the protective function of landforms and the vegetation that can mitigate risks associated with the natural hazard are maintained or enhanced.

Assessment benchmarks – natural hazards, risk and resilience

These performance outcomes apply to the following development applications, to the extent the SPP has not been identified in a local planning instrument as being appropriately integrated.

A development application for a material change of use, reconfiguration of a lot or operational works on premises in any of the following:

(1) bushfire prone areas

(2) flood hazard areas

(3) landslide hazard areas

4) storm tide inundation areas

(5) erosion prone area.7

All of the following requirements are assessment benchmarks for the development:

Erosion prone areas within a coastal management district8:

(1) Development does not occur in an erosion prone area within a coastal management district unless the development cannot feasibly be located elsewhere and is:

(a) coastal-dependent development; or

(b) temporary, readily relocatable or able to be abandoned development; or

(c) essential community infrastructure; or

(d) minor redevelopment9 of an existing permanent building or structure that cannot be relocated or abandoned.

2) Development permitted in (1) above, mitigates the risks to people and property to an acceptable or tolerable level.

Bushfire, flood, landslide, storm tide inundation, and erosion prone areas outside the coastal management district:

(3) Development other than that assessed against (1) above, avoids natural hazard areas, or where it is not possible to avoid the natural hazard area, development mitigates the risks to people and property to an acceptable or tolerable level.

All natural hazard areas:

(4) Development supports and does not hinder disaster management response or recovery capacity and capabilities.

(5) Development directly, indirectly and cumulatively avoids an increase in the severity of the natural hazard and the potential for damage on the site or to other properties.

(6) Risks to public safety and the environment from the location of hazardous materials and the release of these materials as a result of a natural hazard are avoided.

(7) The natural processes and the protective function of landforms and the vegetation that can mitigate risks associated with the natural hazard are maintained or enhanced

A Peregian Beach Community Association analysis. June 2021.

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