Why this semi-rural oasis is a target for urban development
JAMES Creek has been targeted as an ideal spot for urban growth for more than a decade according to several government future planning documents.
Last month a proposed 342-lot subdivision in the middle of James Creek caused many residents to raise concerns about the negative impact of such a development within its semirural setting.
The development application SUB2020/0038 lodged by Robert Collin Donges earlier this year includes 336 residential lots, four drainage reserves, one commercial lot and one public reserve.
While most residents were shocked to see this kind of DA appear in their neighbourhood, it was an inevitable step in the Clarence Valley’s regional urban growth plans.
According to the Mid-North Coast Regional Strategy 2006-2013, James Creek was identified as an area for proposed future urban release, along with Gulmarrad and West Yamba.
It was again identified as an area to investigate for urban land in the North Coast Regional Plan (2036).
James Creek is known for its quiet, semirural lifestyle with most properties on acreage. However, future planning could see future proposed developments transform the area into high-density housing.
But applicant Rob Donges said that is not his intention.
“It’s a normal residential subdivision, slightly larger than what you’d get in Yamba,” he said.
“We’ve designed it so that owners have something bigger to work with so they can have room to have a boat, shed or pool in the backyard.”
Mr Donges said the land was originally made up of three zones, one of which included medium density housing or R3.
“Under medium density housing you’re looking at townhouses which is highly inappropriate to that area, so we went and had it rezoned to low density (R1) in order to ensure that never happens.
“One of the issues raised was that there are lots less than 450 sqm and that does, to some people, seem quite small, but that’s part of Clarence Valley Council’s affordable housing plan.
“We have to ensure that 10 per cent of housing fulfils this requirement.”
Mr Donges said the commercial zoning was retained for one of the blocks of land to make way for any future interest in establishing shops nearby.