Mt Ashby rezone approved by council

The cloud of uncertainty hanging over Mt Ashby has been cleared.

Mount Ashby at Moss Vale.

Mount Ashby at Moss Vale.

Councillors voted in favour of an application from the owners to rezone the land from E3 Environmental Management to SP3 Tourist at the October 11 meeting.

A previous application was refused by council in November last year.

Following the refusal, the owners requested council review its decision, which councillors agreed to do.

Those Councillors in favour of the rezoning argued it ticked all the tourism boxes and also fit the required criteria for SP3 sites. 

“In this instance it complies with all the requirements under the SP3 proposal and can only be a benefit to the shire,” Cr Turland said.

Cr Ian Scandrett said the result was a win for sustainable economic development in the shire

“The approval for Mt Ashby to proceed to a gateway approval for rezoning to SP3 is entirely consistent with our planning and tourism policies,” he said.

“Councillors are very aware of our significant inbound food and wine tourism business which is growing strongly.”

Mt Ashby owner Chris Harvey said it was a relief to finally get the approval.

“This is a popular tourist destination. The restaurant usually fills up on the weekend and for council to allow us to expand is fantastic.”

He said they had temporary approval for a function centre and could now they can go ahead with a “substantial development which could employ up to 20 people."

"This is not just great for us but for the Southern Highlands."  However not all councillors were in agreement the rezoning should be approved. Councillors Peter Nelson and Ken Halstead objected to what they described as a “spot rezoning”.

“I certainly object strongly to picking out individuals and doing spot rezones,” Cr Halstead said.

"Clearly this is a case where the council should look at the planning proposal of the whole shire in terms of particularly the tourist zone.”

Cr Nelson said the LEP should soon be due for review and Mt Ashby’s planning proposal should be addressed as part of that review.

Crs Halstead and Nelson were the only two to vote against approval in the 5-2 decision.

Cr Gair declared a less than significant and non pecuniary declaration of interest as Mt Ashby is in opposition with his business. He left the chamber and did not take part in the debate or vote.