Planning Minister to decide Rileys Hill rezoning request

A PLANNING proposal to rezone an area of land adjoining the Rileys Hill village has been submitted to the Department of Planning & Environment (DPE) to determine whether there is sufficient merit for the project to proceed.

Richmond Valley Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said the proposal to develop around 70 residential lots on an 8.268 hectare area was discussed at the November Council meeting following an amendment request from the proponents, Ardill Payne & Partners, to rezone the land.

Mr Macdonald said referring the proposal to the DPE, which is known as ‘the gateway’, was the first step in a long process.

He said should the DPE give the proposal the green light, it would still need to undergo further studies such as carrying out environmental assessments, engineering and planning assessments and, importantly, undertaking community consultation to enable residents to provide input and feedback.

“Council is keen to get the community’s input and feedback on the rezoning proposal,” Mr Macdonald said.

“As soon as Council hears back from the DPE, and the relevant assessments have been undertaken, the full proposal will be publicly exhibited, and all those with an interest will be invited to have their say.”

Mr Macdonald said the Rileys Hill site had been identified for future urban growth in the North Coast Regional Plan, which provided a 20-year blueprint for the future of the North Coast.

He said Council was regularly looking for ways to strengthen local economies.

“Council has been working hard to ensure its communities can attract jobs, foster economic development, and be attractive places for people to live, work and raise families,” Mr Macdonald said.

“Rapid population growth and a low-interest rate environment are providing a boost to the Richmond Valley residential market, marking a coming of age for some of our towns and villages which have, until recently, taken a back seat to the coastal strip.

“The community can rest assured Council will continue to protect the Valley’s enviable lifestyle with all development proposals undergoing thorough examinations.”

The five steps in the gateway determination process are:

  1. The planning proposal - the relevant authority prepares the planning proposal. The relevant authority is usually the local council, however, the Minister can appoint the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment, or the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel to be the relevant planning authority.


  1. Gateway - the Minister (or delegate) decides whether the planning proposal can proceed (with or without variation) and subject to other matters including further studies being undertaken, public consultation, public hearings, agency consultation and time frames. A planning proposal does usually not proceed without conditions of this nature. The conditions are then complied with and if necessary, the proposal is changed. A decision on whether the relevant council is able to finalise particular types of LEPs is also determined at this stage.


  1. Community consultation - the proposal is publicly exhibited as required by the Minister. A person making a submission may also request a public hearing be held.


  1. Assessment - the relevant planning authority reviews public submissions. Parliamentary Counsel then prepares a draft local environmental plan.


  1. The making of the LEP - with the Minister’s (or delegate’s) approval the local environmental plan is published on the NSW legislation website and becomes law.