Darwin Regional Land Use Plan
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19 LAND USE STRUCTURE Rural Lifestyle Areas Key Objectives for Rural Lifestyle Areas Identify opportunities for rural lifestyle development to meet market demand. Encourage opportunities for a choice of lifestyle in terms of lot size and access to services. Provide appropriate buffers between different residential localities to maintain and enhance the amenity of established areas and protect the natural environment. Existing rural lifestyle areas provide a significant component of housing in the Darwin Region with Litchfield Council providing services to a municipality with an area of about 3100 km2 and a population of 21 380 as at 30 June 2013. The more recently developed Finniss/Dundee Subregion provides an alternative for those seeking a rural lifestyle, albeit without the benefit of productive underlying aquifers or a reticulated water supply. The increasingly diverse aspirations and demands of residents in the region has prompted consideration of opportunities to provide a wider range of lifestyle choices in localities outside the urban areas. Growing concern about the impact of such development on the natural environment and established rural lifestyle localities indicates the need for responsible development and land use management. Litchfield Recognising the physical size of the Litchfield Municipality and its proximity to urban areas, some speculate that the regions future urban development will eventually subsume existing rural lifestyle areas. Opportunities have long been identified for urban development in some parts of the municipality, such as Weddell, previous regional plans have consistently recognised the rural lifestyle choice of many in the community as an affordable alternative to urban living and a legitimate land use in the regional context. The land use plan maintains the endorsement of the rural lifestyle as a legitimate land use in the region and gives priority to the protection of established localities, while recognising the difficulties of accommodating all future population growth outside urban areas on large unserviced lots. Undeveloped sites within the broader rural lifestyle areas, particularly those located adjacent to transport networks and/or existing and identified activity centres, have the potential to provide increased housing choice within the context of the increasing focus on improving efficiencies and affordability. This approach offers a practical response to the predicted continued population growth in the rural areas and the environmental challenges of such growth while protecting the amenity of the majority of the existing rural lifestyle areas. It also recognises rural lifestyle lots in the municipality have particular value because: They can be sustained by direct self-sufficient connection to the regions only significant groundwater aquifers. This is impossible to replicate elsewhere in the region because of the limited availability of groundwater and the associated need to provide reticulated water. The serendipity of 2 ha lots and limited development facilitates a sustainable cycle of annual groundwater recharge and sufficient area, in most situations, to separate bores and septic wastewater treatment and avoid pollution. Rural land uses can make a significant contribution to environmental sustainability, the NT economy through horticultural production and regional community amenity via proximity and easy access to rural areas. The lots make an important contribution to broadening available residential options in the region. Finniss The Finniss Subregion has long been recognised as a valuable recreation and rural lifestyle resource in the regional context. Initial development responded to those seeking to escape what was considered by some to be an increasingly complex and unacceptable interference with rural lifestyle in Litchfield, and some people simply attracted to the recreation and conservation function of the area. Development that started in the mid 1980s was predicated on providing opportunities for a self-sufficient rural lifestyle with limited or no control on the use and development on individual lots. As had happened previously in Litchfield, population growth in the Finniss Subregion generated increasing demand for services and infrastructure and concern about the use and development on individual lots and the impacts of development on the environment. Previous regional planning documents have recognised the role of the subregion in providing recreational and rural lifestyle opportunities to complement development elsewhere in the region with the potential for appropriately located service centres to provide commercial and community facilities. The potential for urban development has not been supported in previous plans because of the remoteness of the locality, the land capability and water resource constraints and the need for significant changes to the natural environment, particularly along the Bynoe Harbour Coast and the Finniss River Floodplain (to deal with potential health problems associated with biting insects). This land use plan continues to give priority to protecting recreation and environmental values of the subregion and recognises the most appropriate predominant land use in the Finniss Subregion to be ongoing development for rural lifestyle purposes. The plan also identifies the potential for rural activity centres subject to appropriate contributions from developers to infrastructure improvements.
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