SKY HIGH: Tweed Shire Councillor Ron Cooper has worked hard to retain a three storey height limit in the Tweed.
SKY HIGH: Tweed Shire Councillor Ron Cooper has worked hard to retain a three storey height limit in the Tweed. Scott Powick

Tweed now limited to three storeys

THE Tweed's skyline will be strictly limited to three storeys outside of the Tweed Heads CBD after councillors on Thursday moved to clarify the shire's planning policy.

Council on Thursday voted 4-3 in favour of amending the 2014 Tweed Local Environment Plan (LEP) to align height controls from the current 13.6m stated to three storeys, resulting in a ban on anything of four storeys and above.

Councillor Ron Cooper, who has campaigned on keeping Kingscliff to a three storey height limit and pushed for the changes to the LEP, said he believed the decision to cap the building heights would make residents buying into an area more comfortable.

"I think this will satisfy a lot of people in the Tweed,” Cr Cooper said.

"I think the safeguards still exist. If a developer wants to go to more than three storeys, that can be done by applying for a DA or a change to the LEP.”

The three storey height limit would not be enforced in the Tweed Heads area because a separate LEP dictates the building conditions for that particular part of the shire.

Council's acting planning director Iain Lonsdale said the changes aim to ensure there is no uncertainty.

"(Council) wanted to harmonise the controls in the Developmental Controls Plan with what we have in the LEP,” Mr Lonsdale said.

"The State Government, when it was standardising the template for the LEP, had to decide how it wanted it to be done.

"They felt measuring a building height in metres was more certain for the community. Our intention was to always have three storeys for the Tweed but we're getting (Development Applications) for four storeys because of the metres.”

The decision means both the DCP and the LEP will use storeys instead of metres to avoid confusion.

Mr Lonsdale said the three storey height limit doesn't completely mean future developments can't apply for taller buildings.

"It's a blanket ban but you can seek a change to that in exceptional circumstances in a planning proposal,” he said.

Mayor Katie Milne said she believed this decision was the best way forward.

"The community has long said it doesn't want to be the Gold Coast and we want to differentiate ourselves,” she said.

Two storey limits will remain for areas like Fingal, Kingscliff and Terranora, according to their individual LEPs.