The State Government has proposed reforms to the planning system to support agritourism and small-scale agricultural development.
The changes seek to make it easier for the owners of properties categorised as ‘farmland’ under the Local Government Act 1995 in rural areas, to use their land, and help them recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and the recent floods.
The Hills Shire Council has ‘opted-in’ on various amendments to The Hills Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2019 to support farmers and aid the growth of agritourism in the region.
KEY CHANGES TO THE LEP INCLUDE:
- New land use terms for agritourism, including farm gate premises and farm experience premises, will be permitted with consent in the RU1 Primary Production and RU2 Rural Landscape zones
- Farm gate premises will be permitted with consent in the RU6 Transition zone
- A new clause for farm gate premises, with Council specific measures that caps the maximum gross floor area at 75 square metres and caps the maximum number of guests at 15 at any one time.
- A new clause for farm stay accommodation, with Council specific measures that caps the maximum gross floor area at 60 square metres and caps the maximum number of moveable dwellings and associated guests at three moveable dwellings and fifteen guests at any one time
Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Peter Gangemi said the changes would make it easier for rural property owners and farmers to start or diversify their business to allow farms stays, retreats and more.
“Supporting our rural residents and businesses is a top priority of our Council,” Mayor Gangemi said.
“Our rural communities have been through so much, including the COVID-19 pandemic, fires and now major flooding events.
“These measures reflect Council’s commitment to helping our rural communities rebuild and recover, as well as create jobs, profit and boost our local economy.
“It can also help to boost tourism across our region, allowing the best of the Hills to be showcased,” Mayor Gangemi added.