Shire drafts new amenity laws

October 10, 2021 BY

The Surf Coast Shire has considered its regulations about fire pits as it updates its Community Amenity Local Law. Photo: UNSPLASH

THE Surf Coast Shire council is proposing many changes as it updates its Community Amenity Local Law but will deal with rules about “tiny houses” later.

The shire is reviewing the local law for the first time in 10 years before the law expires on December 14, and officers have produced a draft version of the new local law.

According to the officers’ report about the proposed draft presented to councillors and recommended for public exhibition at their meeting on September 28, the Community Amenity Local Law “provides for the peace, order and good governance of the Surf Coast Shire”.

The shire ran an initial community engagement process during July and August, using a survey and an awareness campaign to ask questions about issues such as:

  • Burning off
  • Pizza ovens and fire pits
  • Nature strips, and whether planting should be allowed
  • Boats, caravans and trailers and their storage on public land, including nature strips
  • Use of recreational vehicles on private land
  • Camping, and
  • Management of building sites.

There are at least 20 key changes in the new local law, but a policy on tiny houses – generally defined as a dwelling with no more than 37 square metres of floor area (not including the loft) – is not among them.

One of the questions on the shire’s survey suggested the Caravans or Tents as Temporary Accommodation Local Law could be adjusted to allow tiny houses on private land and extend the permitted time for longer than the existing 28 days.

In their report, officers recommend issues relating to tiny houses are resolved in a separate project “as views are varied and there are multiple, complex issues to work through”.

The council could form a working group to provide recommendations.

“This Local Law can be amended at a later date, if necessary, when that work is completed and further community consultation on that issue has taken place,” the report said.

The proposed changes include:

  • Introducing a requirement to rectify any unauthorised works on nature strips
  • Specifying a seven-day limit on continuous storage of vehicles on nature strips including boats, trailers and caravans
  • Introducing a new offence and penalty for failing to have effective control of an animal
  • Expanding the shire’s smoke-free areas to include within 4m of a council-owned building, within the signposted boundary of a council-run or funded event, or within 10m of a sports ground
  • Introducing a new offence and penalty for collecting firewood from council land
  • Introducing new arrangements that allow seasonal workers to stay for 120 days in a caravan or tent where a dwelling exists, to assist with the shortage of affordable housing particularly during summer, and
  • Standardising the penalty for offences that are dealt with by the courts up to a maximum fine of 20 penalty points ($2,000).

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