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Relaxed site zoning voted down

THE environmentally friendly business Gympie Solar is not allowed to operate at its Violet St site near the Bruce Hwy.

But apparently it may not have to stop.

That is the regulatory cloud faced by the business and its 10 employees, after a Gympie Regional Council decision against legalising its existing operations, in an area zoned "residential".

Blue skies turned to grey for the sun-dependent sales operation this week, when the council voted down a motion to relax the site's zoning.

The grounds for that motion included its proximity to commercial and industrial zones and busy traffic nearby on the Bruce Hwy and Jane St.

But the credibility of any action against the business was also clouded when the same meeting unanimously decided to review the zoning itself, on the basis that the planning scheme may not be quite right in this case.

What happens now?

One councillor pointed out that although the business was not for the moment legal, there had been no decision to close it down.

But another said closure should be automatic if it is operating illegally.

Planning portfolio councillor Ian Petersen, backed by Deputy Mayor Larry Friske and Cr Rae Gate, unsuccessfully moved that the council approve the business as a low intensity use in an already noisy area.

Mayor Mick Curran, backed by all other councillors, said allowing businesses to set up in cheaper residential areas would be unfair to people developing and operating in properly zoned commercial areas.

Cr Mark McDonald said he was sick of the council "beating up our own town plan".

Topics:  gympie council solar

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