The recent decision in the Land and Environment Court regarding a holiday let property at Terrigal on the Central Coast has certainly caused many questions and concerns for Port Stephens property owners. The fact is though, there is really nothing to worry about.
The case in regards to the Terrigal property seemed to revolve around what constitutes a residential dwelling in the context of the Gosford Local Council Local Environmental Plan (LEP). Informed sources have advised me that Gosford Council has a vast array of planning policies and often one side of a street can have one zoning and usage and the other side a totally different one. The Land and Environment Court banned holiday renting in Residential 2a areas under the current LEP. Gosford Council has already adopted a new LEP which does specifically allow holiday rentals and is awaiting it to be gazetted. This will bypass the Land and Environment Court decision.
Port Stephens Council has adopted a new LEP in March this year and is awaiting it to be gazetted. The draft LEP is available on Council’s website and page 57 shows very clearly that short term accommodation is allowable without development consent under the soon to be introduced LEP. Under the existing LEP, short term accommodation is not referenced in any way to say it is either allowable or prohibited in any zoning. I would seriously doubt that Port Stephens Council would want to get into an argument on holiday rentals when a new LEP specifically allowing holiday rentals is just around the corner.
Some local sources have been running around claiming that the Land and Environment Court decision sets a precedent and holiday rentals are not allowed in Port Stephens because of it. Nothing could be further from the truth; the Court decision was specifically based on Gosford Council’s existing LEP and has no direct bearing on any other local government area.
We will disclose of course that we are neither town planners, nor qualified to provide legal advice. The above article is written after substantial research has been conducted but is a matter of opinion only.