I WOULD like to respond to comments made in a letter to the editor by L. Hawkins in the South Coast Register on Monday, March 18.
The voluntary Heritage Estates Land Purchase (HELP) project is a decisive step towards resolving the tenure of the Heritage Estates.
The federal government’s funding ($5.5 million) was allocated on the basis that all land purchased will be added to the Jervis Bay National Park and managed for conservation in perpetuity and more than 300 lots have already been purchased or are in the process of being purchased.
A map showing these properties is available on the website created by the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife for the project.
Council’s intention to rezone the area to E2 – Environmental Conservation – will be open for comment in the near future as part of the exhibition of the draft Shoalhaven Local Environmental Plan 2013.
The principle of caveat emptor (buyer beware) applies to purchasing land.
It is highly recommended that a full planning certificate be obtained from council when considering purchasing rural land.
The fact is that development was prohibited on the land when it was sold by Heritage Real Estate.
The issue of compensation does not arise because the land has never been zoned for development.
Council only made the decision to initiate the rezoning process after all the lots had been sold and there was never a guarantee that the outcome of rezoning investigations would be favourable.
The subsequent detailed planning studies have shown that the entire site is highly constrained by federal and NSW legislation and it cannot/will not be rezoned for development.
The HELP project is only funded until June 30, 2013 and I would encourage landowners to get independent legal advice, particularly if they are considering not taking up the offer.
Strategic Planning and Infrastructure,
Sholahaven City Council.