Checking in

From February through to early April 2020, we had conversations with our community on future planning controls that would apply to our urban areas.

During this time feedback was sought on the Housing Strategy, Employment Zones Review, Recreation Zones Review, Infrastructure Zones Review and the Manning Health/Taree CBD Precinct Plan.

The community was consulted through 18 information sessions in 12 locations attended by around 1,000 people; with over 9,200 visits to our website.

Community feedback

The themes that were raised by the community during the consultation process included:

  • Proposed maximum building heights - particularly in Pacific Palms and Harrington. The community were particularly concerned about the impact the additional height would have on the character of their town.
  • Place-based planning - this emerged as an important need in our community. The character of their town or village was an important discussion in every community.
  • Potential urban lands – this was raised by landowners wanting to develop their lands and the State Government requiring more details.
  • Height consolidation - this was examined after the community commented that there were too many heights, making it difficult to determine which height applied to sites.

The majority of submissions received related to specific sites, typically where people lived. Details can be found in the Zoning In (Urban) – Response to Feedback Report.

Feedback was also received from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) and Transport for NSW .

Local Land Services were consulted with regard to the Recreation Zones Review and Hunter New England Health for the Manning Health/Taree CBD Precinct Plan.

A full report on the feedback was presented to the 16 December 2020 meeting of the elected Council – see here for the report.

Changes in response to feedback

As a result of the feedback a number of changes were made to the draft documents before adoption, including:

  • Proposed maximum building heights - maximum building heights were reviewed and changes made that reflect the current height limits.
  • Potential urban lands – more details are included in the Housing Strategy about the process and expectations for potential urban lands. The Employment Zones Review was also amended to include potential employment lands in Taree, Nabiac and Gloucester
  • Height consolidation - maximum building heights have been consolidated to 10 different heights. This resulted in minor increases to building heights in the centres in Taree, Tuncurry, Forster and Tea Gardens

For more details about the changes made to the suite of documents, please see the Response to Feedback report which outlines all changes made.

Pebbly Beach heights consultation

In August 2021 we went back to the community to seek more feedback on planning controls for residential land in Forster, east of Macintosh Street, between Head and Lake Street and bounded by the school to the east.

Originally this area had been earmarked for some high-density residential zoning as well as increased building height limits generally from 12 metres to 18 metres.

While no objections to the proposed changes were received during the original consultation, following consultation in Forster for a separate rezoning at Lake Street, many concerns were expressed, we gave further consideration to the Pebbly Beach zoning.

It was important that the strategy reflects the community’s expectations for their local area, so during August 2021 we sought feedback to amend the Housing Strategy in this location as follows:

  • the zone of properties fronting Head Street (east of Macintosh Street) be included in the Medium Density Residential zone
  • a 12m maximum building height be applied to the proposed Medium Density Residential zone.

Following community consultation, the elected Council endorsed these changes in October 2021 – see here for the report.

The changes ensure that the future planning controls are consistent with the current controls for this area.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Have a question about the project? Read our FAQs below.


Once these strategies and reviews are adopted by Council, drafting of these changes into legal documents can commence. This can take a couple of years to undertake and is dependent upon State Government support.

No. This is not the only chance to be involved in the development of the MidCoast planning controls. This is the start of a two to three year consultation process. Engagement will occur at key stages in the development of the controls and there will be further opportunities for engagement. You can provide feedback through our Have Your Say form.

No. While there are changes to heights and densities proposed in existing urban centres, this current work will not rezone new land for residential development.

No, the changes foreshadowed in the draft strategy, reviews and plan do not come into place until the eventual adoption of the new Local Environment Plan and Development Control Plan. Therefore, you can only lodge a Development Application for the changes once they have been formally exhibited in a draft Local Environmental Plan or Development Control Plan.


No. Zoning changes will not occur until the adoption of a new Local Environment Plan and Development Control Plan for the MidCoast. This is likely to take a couple of years to implement following adoption of these current strategies and reviews. There will be further opportunities to comment on proposed changes during this time.

In addition to the zoning, there are some other controls that will change. This could include the height of building and lot size controls. There will be other Local Environmental Plan (LEP) controls changing, though these are part of the future work to be undertaken for the adoption of the new MidCoast LEP, for example flooding, acid sulphate soils and heritage conservation areas.

The recreation zone changes does not relate to the management or improvements to parks and open space - these are subject to funding and need.

No. The suite of zones are provided by the State Government and cannot be added to. Council does not have the ability to create new zones.

Not necessarily. In some areas this will be the case, while in others areas it will not be. Please have a look at the factsheets and online mapping which will show you the current and proposed zones changes and the Fact Sheets to explain how each zone is proposed to be used.

The Ordinary Rate payable on a property is determined by a combination of factors including, the valuation of the land, what the land is used for and the annual rate cap imposed by the State government.

The zoning of land is often confused with the Rating Category of land (which appears on your rates notice). The Rating Category is based upon what the land is used for. For example, a corner store in a residential zone has a rating category of Business.

Rates are mainly calculated based on the value of the land (unimproved i.e. considered vacant) as determined by the NSW Valuer General. Valuations are reviewed every three years and an appeal to the State government can be made if a landowner considers it unrealistic.

If the zone of your land changes, this can potentially affect the value of the land, which then may result in a change to your rates. In addition to zoning there are other factors which can affect the value of your land including the availability of services and constraints such as flooding. It is therefore difficult to determine whether rates will be impacted by the proposed changes, as the effect will vary from property to property.

Property out of the urban area

We are currently working on the Rural Strategy.

You can find out more about this project by heading to the Draft Rural Strategy for the MidCoast project page.

Non-urban land in a ‘paper subdivision’ may look like part of a town or village on our mapping, but these areas are located within a rural or environmental zone. If you look at the imagery (aerial photography), most roads don’t exist and the areas are often vegetated. Most of the lots in paper subdivisions do not have a ‘dwelling entitlement’ - the legal right to build a dwelling house. These areas exist throughout the MidCoast and are being considered as part of the Rural Strategy.

LEPs and DCPs…what are they?

The Local Environmental Plan (LEP) sets out the zoning of land, outlining what you can and can’t do on a property as well as providing specific criteria for what development is allowed in each zone. It also contains layers (such as Acid sulfate soils) that must be considered when lodging a Development Application.

While our Local Environmental Plan (LEP) tells you what you can and can't do on your land, our Development Control Plan (DCP) guides how you do this on your land. The DCP helps to make sure development is consistent, sustainable and meets the community's expectations.

The MidCoast DCP commence following the adoption of these current strategies and reviews, as well as that of the upcoming Rural Strategy. This will occur over the next couple of years. Formal exhibition of the DCP will occur during this period.

Head back to the Know your Urban Zone project