This story is most exemplary of what you should expect from the Council when your development application is considered.
APZ stands for Asset Protection Zone. This is the area where vegetation is managed such that risk to the residential dwelling and its occupants from possible bush fire is kept within acceptable limits.
The problem for us was that the Council kept changing their view on how large they expect the APZ to be.
[08 Feb 2016] Original report
In the original bush fire protection report, dated 08 Feb 2016, the following was proposed, based on the regulations as stipulated in NSW RFS document named “Planning for Bush fire Protection, 2006” (PBP 2006).
[06 May 2016] Make APZ smaller
On Council request, the APZ boundaries were decreased, as specified in the updated bush fire protection report, dated 06 May 2016
[01 Sep 2016] Make APZ still smaller
Upon review of the amended report, Council issued an RFI (Request For Information), dated 01 Sep 2016, requiring to reduce the APZ width to the west and north to the distance as required by PBP.
[06 Oct 2016] Make APZ large
Notwithstanding the request made by the council in the RFI, the Council issued another request, in the email dated 06 Oct 2016 that specifies that the APZ boundaries, in Council view, must be increased and measure not less than following
Based on this request, the bush fire report was amended (dated 14 Dec 2016)
[29 Mar 2017] Make APZ smaller
After the review of the submitted information, the council responded on 29 Mar 2017, to the following extent:
The APZ widths should meet and not exceed the PBP dimensions as outlined in Table 2 of the Report. This was previously requested to minimise the clearing of native vegetation and the amended plans have not met this for the north, south or western APZs (see below). The APZ has not changed from the previous plan to the north, has reduced in width to the west and east, and has increased width in the south from NA to 25m thereby causing additional loss of native vegetation than required by PBP.
The proposed APZ is larger than that required under PBP (see BAR excerpt below) and should be reduced to the dimensions required by PBP to the west and north, in order to avoid and minimise impacts on native vegetation in accordance with Campbelltown DCP 2015 Chapter 11.2.1 a) i)-iii), and to maximise the retention of native vegetation.
[18 May 2017] Make APZ larger
Finally, after lengthy discussions between the applicant, the Council and Bushfire consultant, on 18 May 2017 Council advised:
It is noted the following proposed APZs are considered a reasonable balance between environmental protection and bushfire safety as detailed on recent plans submitted to Council (with the exception of the eastern APZ):
- To the north, 39m APZ comprising 26m IPA and 13m OPA (BAL-29),
- To the west, 32m APZ comprising 21m IPA and 11m OPA (BAL-29; with a shift of the building 4m to the west),
- To the south, 25m APZ comprising 16m IPA and 9m OPA(BAL-29),
- To the east, 24m APZ comprising 15m IPA and 9m OPA (see above point; BAL-40 for any eastern wall less than 32m to the east boundary, or, where BAL-29 and a 32m APZ comprising 21m IPA and 11m OPA is proposed within the site, it should be demonstrated that a minimal impact on native vegetation to the west will result).
Change APZ again?
We still do not know if the Council’s requirements to APZ boundary are finalized. They may again change…