A blueprint of the future

AFTER years of work, setbacks, and delays the Launceston Interim Planning Scheme 2012 has finally arrived.

Already the benefits of the new scheme are obvious with $65million worth of development lodged since it came into effect, and more to come.

The name of the game for this scheme is uniformity.

To make things simpler and less burdensome the state government wants Tasmania's 29 planning schemes to share a common approach to development.

The property and building industries have had huge problems with interpreting various nuances of the different schemes.

In the Launceston scheme, and others when they are passed, terms and definitions will mean the same thing regardless of what council area it is.

For instance, the Greater Launceston region is inhabited by Meander Valley, West Tamar, Northern Midlands and the Launceston City councils.

"If there's inconsistency about what a word means it causes a lot of confusion," Launceston City Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said.

Previously councils had the ability to develop their own zones.

Under Tasmania's new planning framework the state government mandated a suite of zones, which councils could choose from.

Launceston's scheme was developed in three stages.

The council's planning officers first translated the old scheme to the new, then looked at what the city wanted to achieve over the next decade before putting it into the document.

The scheme was then put out for public consultation receiving some 300 submissions, fed back into the plan.

Finally, after plenty of robust negotiation with the Tasmanian Planning Commission, which saw the council remove certain rural living zones, the scheme was "declared" in October.

However, the scheme, while operative, is still subject to change and further approvals.

It will remain on public display for another month, following this the council will have four months to report any submissions received to the commission.

The commission may hold hearings on those submissions before deciding if any changes are necessary.

If it decides all is in order the scheme will be made permanent, otherwise it's back to the drawing board.

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