NEW buildings on the coast should be given a time-limited approval of up to 90 years in case of sea-level rises caused by climate change, a review of state’s planning laws found.
The review comes after coastal property owners fought sea-level projections prepared by NSW councils, fearing they would strip billions of dollars from the value of coastal family homes.
The independent chairmen of the NSW Planning System Review, Tim Moore and Ron Dyer, found granting approvals for a set period of time was the only way to stop the “sterilising” of coastal development.
They found the caveat of a time limit would stop councils from rejecting all proposals for coastal development.
It would also save councils from running the long-term risk of breaching a duty of care to future residents.
“Time-limited development consents of up to 90 years are to be permitted for areas subject to projected sea level rise as a consequence of climate change,” the report recommends.
“Such time limits are to be reviewed at regular intervals to permit extension (if warranted) in light of emerging scientific knowledge.
“This will enable planning for climate change in a fashion that would not entirely sterilise the development potential of land.”
The review found that coastal NSW had to strategically plan for “significant growth pressures”.
The NSW Coastal Society submission called for time-limited approvals that would allow people to live in “currently zoned residential land in at-risk areas until such time as the actual risk to life and property becomes unsustainable”.
But Coastal Residents Incorporated secretary Pat Aiken said the review ignored the concerns raised by NSW property owners affected by sea-level rise projections.
“Timed limited consent is no different to planned retreat, managed retreat or abandonment – at least 60,000 properties in NSW are affected,” he said.