Lismore City Council's mapping for potential future subdivision for the Nimbin area, based off the Lismore Growth Management Strategy.
Lismore City Council's mapping for potential future subdivision for the Nimbin area, based off the Lismore Growth Management Strategy.

Could these DAs change the face of a village forever?

NIMBIN is known for its village vibe and alternative way of live.

But it could be on the cusp of feeling much more like suburbia.

With one 20-lot subdivision given the go ahead and two more developments currently before Lismore City Council for consideration, Nimbin's population could skyrocket in the coming years.

But staff have not ruled out a review of mapping relating to possible future rezoning.

Lismore City Council strategic planning co-ordinator Paula Newman said council's growth management strategy helped them to identify possible rezoning locations in the future.

Among two areas jotted down as "potential large lot residential zones" is an area just north of the village and east of Blue Knob Rd.

"That land was nominated in the growth management strategy," Ms Newman said.

In the case of a DA for 4 Blue Knob Rd, the owners previously put in a rezoning application, before lodging the current bid to subdivide into 33 lots in June this year.

That's in addition to the subdivision of one remaining large lot - on the same site - into three.

The latter has been approved, while the 33-lot plan remains subject to the council's determination.

A proposal for 39 Crofton Rd, slightly further north, works differently as it would be a Rural Residential Landshare Community.

A DA for a 20-lot subdivision on Gungas Rd, north-east of Nimbin, has already been approved by the council.

"That was on land that was already zoned," Ms Newman said.

These developments, both approved and pending, have sparked concern for residents like Gwen Trimble.

Ms Trimble previously addressed the council to oppose smaller lot sizes at the approved Gungas Rd subdivision.

Ms Trimble said although the developer had "ticked the boxes", she feared such growth would change the face of Nimbin.

She said while many had, for years, "bemoaned the fact it's difficult to get affordable housing", addressing that shouldn't come at the cost of the area's sense of community, or the environment.

Ms Newman said the council had found "potential" for more development in the Nimbin area when the Growth Mapping Strategy was adopted in 2015.

She said this was due to be reviewed every five years, but it could happen sooner if deemed necessary.

She said strain on Nimbin's infrastructure was "definitely a valid concern", while the potential social impacts of the developments was not to tangible.

"The social fabric and the social (impact), that's really hard to address at a strategy and zoning level," she said.

"It would be very hard for us to measure how the social fabric might change."

But she said the council's planning faced "a conundrum" in balancing the wants and needs of existing residents with those who might move to a town in decades to come.

Town planner Damien Chapelle said his client, the developer of the Gungas Rd site, would not necessarily change the character of the area.

"The subdivision is consistent with council's housing strategy," Mr Chapelle said.

Since the approval in June, his client has lodged a construction certificate application for infrastructure works on the site.

Mr Chapelle said homes could be under construction there next year.

In its subdivision approval, the council stipulated several habitat trees could not be removed.

"That's not uncommon," Mr Chapelle said.

"When you're looking at subdivision developments we're also looking at key ecological value on the site."

Mr Chapelle said there would also be re-vegetation works on the site.

Lismore mayor Isaac Smith said it was challenging to "balance the competing demands of helping a community to grow, with a general attitude or perception of keeping areas as they are".

"Some of the hardest decisions a council needs to make relate to character, or perceptions of what my neighbourhood will look like in the future," Cr Smith said.

"Most people just want them to stay the same, which makes it hard for others who discover how wonderful our region is and want to be a part of it.

"Our consultation processes in Lismore are some of the best you will find and while not everyone gets what they want, they should be able to say they were heard." 



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