Small Lot Rural Subdivisions (Paper Subdivisions) - Shoalhaven City Council

Paper Subdivisions & Other Legacy Planning Projects

The selection of Canberra as the nation’s capital and Jervis Bay as it’s maritime outlet in 1908, triggered a significant increase in subdivision activity in the Jervis Bay area in the 1910’s and early 1920’s. By the time the Great Depression set in, many thousands of lots had been created in approved plans but remain undeveloped and without services. Many of these ‘paper subdivisions’ were zoned ‘rural’ when land use zoning was first introduced in 1964, generally precluding development of the individual lots. 

Following the controversial sale of some of these subdivisions to individual owners from the mid 1980’s to early 1990’s by the likes of Heritage Real Estate P/L, Council initiated rezoning investigations in responses to requests by the owners. Information on the status of these rezoning investigations is available via the links below.

Special rates

Council decisions to investigate rezoning these ‘paper subdivisions’ were contingent on the owners paying for the costs of the rezoning investigations and the provision of infrastructure and services if the land is rezoned.  Council borrowed a total of $1.25M in 2006 to undertake rezoning investigations for the Heritage Estates, Jerberra Estate, Nebraska Estate & Verons Estate.  In accordance with this benefiter-pays principal, special rates were introduced to allow the landowners to repay these loans over a 10-year period.  At the same time, Council also borrowed money to undertake road design investigations for Jerberra Estate, Nebraska Estate & Verons Estate and introduced special rates to repay these loans.  In response to requests by landowners, road construction special rates were introduced in 2008 to enable some minimal road construction to be undertaken until there is more certainty about the outcomes of the rezoning investigations. A summary of special rates expenditure is updated quarterly and can be viewed at the link below.

Transfer of Land in Lieu of Unpaid Rates

If requested by the owner, Council may accept the transfer of land within 'paper subdivisions' in lieu of unpaid rates in accordance with Council's policy titled “ Small Lot Rural Subdivisions – Dealing with Unpaid Rates and Charges”.   In such circumstances, Council will meet all legal costs associated with the transfer of the land. Where property owners are subject to debt recovery action, land owners will have 30 days to agree to a repayment schedule or transfer of the land to Council. Alternatively, under S.713 of the Local Government Act, 1993 Council may move to sell the land by public auction where rates and charges have been unpaid for more than five years.

Caravans and camping: legal rights and responsibilities for landowners in ‘Paper Subdivisions’

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