New wedding venues in rural areas to face tougher rules
UPDATE, 1.30pm: NEW rural function venues for live music, weddings and other events will face tougher restrictions in the Ballina Shire.
Council unanimously adopted a new set of rules at today's meeting.
Asked by Cr Keith Williams about the scope of these new restrictions on RU2 zones, Matthew Wood, director of the council's Planning and Environmental Health division, said the land affected by these changes amounted to about 15 per cent of land classified as rural in the shire.
The majority of rural areas in the shire are classified as RU1, a rural zone primarily intended to promote agricultural production and environmental protection.
RU2 zones enable other forms of development that are associated with rural activity, and require an isolated location or support tourism and recreation.
"It's a narrowing and a toughening of standards," Mr Wood said to councillors.
Cr Eoin Johnston said monitoring and compliance may be an issue in this case.
"I don't know how we do this, we do the best we can, but I think (this motion) is rounding up a lot of issues we have discussed throughout the years, it's a sound recommendation," he said.
Mr Wood said a three-year consent gives the council the power to not grant further licences for operators that may become 'problematic'.
Cr Sharon Cadwallader also supported the initiative.
"Too much time, energy and money gets spent on trying to work out whether (a person or company) can have a consent (for a wedding venue) or not, and if it may comply, (they say) let's give it a go. This will put the parameters around so that they won't even apply," she said.
"We are on target here to eliminate that process and wasting all that time, energy and money to all parties, and it's not going too far either."
Original story: NEW function centres in rural areas of the Ballina Shire may see the number of events they can host a year restricted.
The changes would not affect existing venues.
Matthew Wood, director of council's Planning and Environmental Health division, said the proposal aimed to ensure weddings, music shows and other events did not adversely impact on other legitimate rural activities.
"The main change we are looking at is to be more specific about the circumstances where rural function centres operate, and in particular where they operate for things like weddings, so we have some specific things we are trying to insert into the planning controls, so it's nice and clear for everybody," he said.
Mr Wood said venues would not be able to have more than one event per weekend, and no more than 20 events in any 12 month period.
Also, no more than 150 guests would be permitted to attend an event at a rural function centre at any time.
Mr Wood said the aim was to offer better balance between the business opportunities versus potential impacts in the community about noise, car movement and others.
"Function centres have a fairly broad definition in the Local Environmental Plan (LEP), (and) this narrows what constitutes a function centre for the purpose of being permitted in rural areas," he said.
"The changes will not change anything for existing, approved facilities, bur for those that might be looking to apply to have such a thing in the future, these new rules will apply if they are adopted by council.
"Only RU2 rural landscapes are affected by this, and that's scattered across our rural areas, so there's RU2 rural zones in the Plateau, though Tintenbar and into Newrybar-Brooklet area, and down towards Meerschaum Vale.
"There area various pockets of this types of zone plans."
Function centres are not currently permitted in RU1 rural areas. The new plan does not change that restriction.
The plan will be discussed by Ballina Shire Council this Thursday.