Lake Macquarie City Council moves to rezone 20 hectares of former Pasminco land at Boolaroo

WASTING NO TIME: Lake Macquarie City Council staff have prepared a planning proposal to rezone 20 hectares of land at the former Pasminco site in Boolaroo. Councillors are expected to endorse the proposal next week.
WASTING NO TIME: Lake Macquarie City Council staff have prepared a planning proposal to rezone 20 hectares of land at the former Pasminco site in Boolaroo. Councillors are expected to endorse the proposal next week.

LAKE Macquarie councillors are set to consider a planning proposal to rezone almost 20 hectares of land at the state government's recently acquired former Pasminco smelter site in Boolaroo.

Council staff have prepared a planning proposal to rezone land from R2 low density residential, R3 medium density residential and B4 mixed use to primarily B7 business park and a new area of B4 mixed use.

A staff report prepared for the meeting of the development and planning standing committee says the rezoning would allow for large retail businesses.

It comes a weeks after the NSW government announced it would acquire the site, which many viewed as a way of enabling Costco and IKEA developments.

"The land is proposed to be rezoned to allow specialised retail premises and other commercial uses requiring a large floor area," Lake Macquarie council's senior strategic planner Andrew Donald says in the report.

"The proposal also seeks to protect the amenity of the adjacent proposed residential subdivision by including an area zoned for mixed use development to provide a transition area between the land uses."

A breakdown of existing zoning at the 212-hectare site shows there is 71 hectares of low density residential, 23 of medium density residential, 28 of light industrial, 11 of mixed use, 24 of special activities (containment cell) and 55 of environmental conservation.

About 18 hectares of the light industrial has been developed as a 23-lot industrial estate, while the remaining 10 hectares has limited development potential due to constraints. Bunnings Warehouse occupies half of the 11 hectares zoned mixed use.

The report notes that parts of the undeveloped land zoned residential are subject to active development applications, but "more recently, the potential for the subject land to support certain commercial activities requiring a large floor area and site area has become apparent".

While the report does not make reference to specific businesses seeking to develop the potentially rezoned land, Costco and IKEA are considered likely suitors.

Neither has made public statements about the site, but Pasminco's administrator Ferrier Hodgson said in 2018 it would likely earn $22 million from IKEA and $11.5 million from Costco for land.

Lake Macquarie LGA has 138 hectares zoned B7 business park, but the only land with that zoning that remains undeveloped is in Morisset.

The council has entered into discussions with Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation, which is set to gain ownership of the former Pasminco site after the government's acquisition, regarding the possibility of a refund for costs incurred in the rezoning process.

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