Wingecarribee Shire councillors have agreed that no further Planning Proposals involving residential development would be supported until the completion of the Wingecarribee Local Housing Strategy.
Council's Deputy General Manager of Corporate Strategy and Development Services Mark Pepping said the unanimous decision would enable Council to create a strategic framework for future housing needs.
"This decision essentially means that until our Local Housing Strategy is finalised we won't be accepting any further Planning Proposals to rezone land that involves residential housing development in our towns, villages and rural locations," he said.
"This will enable staff to focus on the Wingecarribee Local Housing Strategy which they want to complete by the end of the year."
Mr Pepping said one of the key outcomes of the Strategy was to provide greater assurances for land owners, builders, developers and potential buyers.
"In the past we've had ad-hoc or piecemeal applications and proposals submitted from land owners wishing to rezone their land for the purposes of residential housing developments," he said.
"A Local Housing Strategy will help overcome speculative driven proposals and instead provide a strategic framework for future planning proposals and residential housing releases.
"This will in turn provide greater clarity and certainty for landowners wishing to submit a Planning Proposal by providing them with greater information as to whether their land has opportunities for further housing or not."
Mr Pepping said the Local Housing Strategy would also provide the Shire with a more cohesive and uniform approach to future residential land releases.
"We believe a coordinated and clear Local Housing Strategy is in-line with our community's vision and expectations on how our Shire's future residential developments should be managed," he said.
"It will help determine what type of housing we need to provide and where."
The decision by Council to temporarily suspend Planning Proposals which involve residential development follows from a series of strategic planning reforms rolled out by the NSW State Government in January 2017.
One of these key reforms stipulates that all rural and regional councils must prepare Local Strategic Planning Statements by July 1, 2020.
"Central to Council producing a Local Housing Strategy is to ensure we retain our unique Highlands character and demonstrate how we will manage residential growth and change in the decades ahead."