Could you soon have a brewery in your rural backyard?
Additional tourism activities such as weddings and microbreweries may soon be allowed on rural properties around Lismore.
At the last council meeting, councillors debated amendments to the Lismore Local Environment Plan that would allow more rural and nature-based tourism development in the Lismore Shire.
It was the first step in seeking Gateway Determination on the proposal by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
The proposal was to allow more small-scale uses on land zoned RU1 Primary Production, while protecting agricultural land and the environment.
Some of the additional uses to be included were: rural function centres to hold events such as weddings and corporate retreats; artisan food premises, such as microbreweries and distilleries; facilities for holding yoga retreats, and meditation workshops and retreats; and day spas / health studios.
In 2018, the LEP was amended to allow some tourism development on rural land particularly accommodation, but the proposal said numerous land owners had made requests for other activities to be allowed.
Some councillors argued relaxed regulations around land use would be open to abuse, and others said it gave rural land owners more opportunities to remain viable.
Councillor Neil Marks said it would be interesting to see how people took advantage of the changes, but wanted to make sure it did not “kill off” farming.
“Change gives us opportunity, but also added pressure to make good, sound decisions,” Mr Marks said.
Councillor Adam Guise argued the coast was already experiencing pressure from tourism activities such as yoga retreats, wedding venues and function centres in rural areas, and was “not a fan” of introducing more possible land use conflict.
“It is nebulous and prone to interpretation – ripe for exploitation,” Mr Guise said of the proposal.
“Don’t bring more conflict to rural communities.”
Mr Marks said if the amendment was approved, “it will be in our hands … (to) make the right decisions” on whatever proposals were put forward.
The councillors voted to support the planning proposal to amend the Lismore LEP and to seek a Gateway Determination.