Plans to convert rural land in Sutton into housing would double the size of the village just across the NSW border to Canberra’s north.
The Cartwright family, through a planning proposal prepared by Capital Region Planning, is asking the Yass Valley Council to rezone 180 hectares so it can develop a combination of large residential and rural-residential lots, with the rest of the land set aside as environmental reserves.
The site, which has been in the Cartwright family for 150 years, is bound to the south-east by Tulip Top Gardens – a privately owned garden and nursery – Sutton Village to the north, and rural land to the south and west.
The land, considered to be at the ‘front door’ of Sutton when coming from the Federal Highway, had been nominated in the 2017 Sutton Village Master Plan as being capable of accommodating an extension to Sutton Village as well as some commercial development and further large-lot residential subdivision.
The land to be given over to housing is considered to be of low environmental value and would be rezoned from RU1 Primary Production to RU5 Village and R5 Large lot Residential while the rest, about 100 hectares, would be rezoned as E3 Environmental Management and be conserved in four ‘stewardship sites’ protected in perpetuity, with three minimum sizes of 20ha and one of 40ha.
The housing proposal consists of 43 large residential lots with a minimum size of 5000 square metres, which would be designed as a sympathetic extension of the village, and and 21 rural residential with a minimum size of 1.5ha. But no sites would be greater than 2.5ha.
The planning document says the lot sizes will support the on-site management of potable water and sewage.
It says the land is undeveloped with a long history of agricultural use, which has altered the original woodland vegetation through successive years of cropping, pasture improvement and grazing.
But a 2018 report identified an endangered ecological community, Box-Gum woodland, and a vulnerable species, the Superb Parrot, that may require referral to the Federal Department of Environment and Energy under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
It says the DOEE may accept a stewardship agreement to manage the Box-Gum woodland as an appropriate offset. For the Superb Parrot, the report said more survey work was needed to map hollow-bearing trees, which may be used as breeding habitat and to identify any trees with nesting pairs.
The report said that impacts on habitat could be minimised by selective positioning of buildings on individual lots to avoid the removal of significant trees.
Late last year the Yass Valley Council referred the Draft Planning Proposal to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, which resulted in the proponent reducing the area of RU5 Village Zone and number of lots from 32 to 21, and increasing the area of the R5 Large Lot Residential Zone and number of lots from 39 to 43.
The proponent also removed the opportunity to reduce the minimum lot size in the RU5 Village Zone to 2000 square metres subject to the availability of reticulated town water and sewerage but inserted a provision enabling a reduction in the minimum lot size in the R5 Zone to provide some flexibility to cater for significant environmental features.
The planning proposal is open for public consultation until 26 June. Click here for more information.