By Jeremy Sollars

A plan by Southern Downs Regional Council to re-zone parcels of land near the Morgan Park motorsport and equestrian facility to allow hazardous and intensive animal industries has been released for public comment.
The council released the proposal on Thursday 16 February as an amendment to the region’s planning scheme, saying it had identified “an area to the south-east of Warwick as suitable for intensive animal industry and special industry”.
The seven privately owned properties are located to the south of Morgan Park with frontages to the Warwick-Killarney Road, Old Stanthorpe Road and Morgan Park Road.
The closest parcels are less than two kilometres from the Morgan Park facility and all are well inside the designated Morgan Park buffer zone which extends as far to the south as Wildash School Road.
Owners of the properties include Bellingham and Co and the Cory family, along with local owner-occupiers and owners based in Texas and the Gold Coast.
In a statement released last week, the council noted that “intensive animal industries include activities such as feedlots, piggeries and poultry farms” and “special industries are industrial activities that have the potential to create significant impacts, examples (including) rendering plants and manufacturing of fertilisers”.
If the amendment is adopted, any applications for those types of industries on the parcels concerned would be assessed by the council’s planning officers and would not require public advertising or a vote of the councillors.
The planned re-zoning has raised the eyebrows of many who live locally, with some concerned about the impact on surrounding property values if noxious industry or a feedlot or piggery were to be developed in the re-zoned area.
The property owners have been notified in writing about the planned amendment and along with the rest of the public have been given until 31 March 31 to make submissions either in favour or against the changes.
The Morgan Park buffer zone is intended to restrict development which could be incompatible with events at the complex, including new residential housing.
According to the Morgan Park Masterplan, which was released in 2010, the buffer zone is also intended to disallow “industrial activities … that may compromise the function of Morgan Park as a place where many residents and visitors may congregate during events”.
“This is particularly so in terms of heavy or noxious and hazardous industry,” the masterplan states.
The Free Times sought comment from the Morgan Park Users Group but was told that the chairmanship of the group is currently vacant.
Les Fraser of Warwick Polocrosse said he had viewed the planned amendments and mapping and said he believed if the council was to approve intensive animal or hazardous industries for the land parcels in question such industry would have “the appropriate restrictions” in place.
Morgan Park Raceway president John Torr told the Free Times that he was doubtful that the amendment would be passed by the council but said the changes would be “a huge concern” for the groups using Morgan Park.
“I think if enough people put in submissions, which is their right, I would doubtful if would be passed,” he said.
“The council has certainly always been extremely supportive of Morgan Park as a facility, and one which brings in many people from outside the region.”
Other local sources have expressed doubt about the availability of sufficient underground water in the area proposed for re-zoning to support intensive animal industries such as a feedlot.
In the council statement released last week, Portfolio Councillor for Planning and Property Neil Meiklejohn said the council “would encourage people to consider the draft plan and the supporting documentation and to make a submission to council if they’re passionate about something in the proposals”.
The public consultation period is open until 31 March.
The proposed amendment – along with a raft of other amendments around the region – can be viewed at the Warwick council offices on Fitzroy Street.
For further information about the proposed amendments or to arrange a meeting to discuss the amendments contact the council on 1300 MY SDRC (1300 697 372).
Other proposed planning amendments currently out for public comment include –
– Amendments to the Flood Hazard Overlay;
– Changes to the Warwick Bacon Factory Overlay;
– Rezoning of 20 Herbert Street and 22 South Street, Allora (the GrainX site, proposed to be re-zoned from residential to industry);
– Implementation of a Carnell Raceway Overlay;
– Proposed changes for Motor Sport Facilities at Carnell Raceway;
– Residential Uses within one kilometre of an intensive animal industry.

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