Paper subdivisions sales advertising – ‘buyer beware’ reminder

Published on 23 May 2023

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Real estate purchasers are being advised to make sure they do their due diligence when considering purchasing land in ‘paper subdivisions’ in Shoalhaven.

Council has become aware of several highly constrained properties in in the Jervis Bay area, being advertised for sale in these largely undeveloped subdivisions that were approved on ‘paper’ before land use zoning was introduced.

These advertisements promote properties for camping, tiny homes and other activities despite the subdivisions often having significant environmental and other constraints, are generally not serviced and often inaccessible by vehicle.

“It’s critical that potential purchasers understand the constraints of these properties before purchasing land in these areas, no matter how good it may sound,” said Mayor Amanda Findley.

“People thinking about buying land in these areas should seek advice from Council on the applicable planning and environmental laws to better understand what approvals may be required,” Cr Findley said.

“Not only are many of these properties inaccessible by vehicle, the vegetation cannot be cleared or disturbed without the necessary approvals and campers on private land are also legally responsible for managing and disposing of their waste,” she said.

“Anyone interested in camping are encouraged to stay in one of the many caravan parks or campgrounds located across Shoalhaven which are equipped with appropriate facilities and waste management systems."

The Jervis Bay area became a hot spot for speculative paper subdivisions around the time of the First World War, following the Federal Government’s decision in 1908 to make it the official port for Canberra (which did not ultimately proceed).

Council maintains a dedicated project webpage on Paper Subdivisions and anyone wishing to explore the planning history of individual Estates in the Jervis Bay area can find more information at this link.  




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