Bayside and Georges River Council seek to defer introduction of new medium density housing code

No say: Under the new State Government planning code, terrace housing can be approved in low density areas by private certifiers without council input and without regard to residents' objections.
No say: Under the new State Government planning code, terrace housing can be approved in low density areas by private certifiers without council input and without regard to residents' objections.

Georges River and Bayside have joined the growing list of councils asking for a reprieve from the introduction of the State Government’s looming Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code.

Due to start July 6, the code will allow one and two-storey dual occupancies, manor houses (blocks of four flats) and terraces to be carried out under a fast track complying development approval by private certifiers without council input.

Ryde, Canterbury Bankstown, Lane Cove and Northern Beaches have already been granted a 12-month deferral for introducing the code and Sutherland Shire Council is also seeking a deferral.

Now, Bayside Council will write to the Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts seeking a 12 month moratorium on the introduction of the Code so the council can review its Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and Development Control Plan (DCP) controls and make decisions informed by housing need and the potential impact of the changes.

The changes would mean that a development application would not be required in certain zones where medium density types meet the development standards of the code including standards relating to minimum lot size and frontage.

The changes would allow certain development standards that are below those in the council’s current LEP and DCPs, according to a report provided to the June 13 meeting of Bayside Council.

“A deferment of the commencement of the Code will mean the the council retains its decision making powers in relation to strategic planning for affected areas,” the council’s report said.

Georges River Council Deputy Mayor Kathryn Landsberry filed a Notice of Motion at its May 28 meeting calling on the council to take steps to defer the introduction of the State Government’s Low Rise Medium Density Housing.

This noted the council’s serious concern that the new Code which will allow private certifiers to approve two-storey residential flat buildings comprising three to four dwellings, known as “manor homes” as well as duplexes and terrace housing, under the complying development approval process in low density zones with minimal neighbour objections.

“Georges River Council has a duty to safeguard this area from the significant implications this Code will have for our residents,” Councillor Landsberry said.

“When implemented, this new Code will allow Private Certifiers to approve manor homes, as well as duplexes and terrace housing in R2 low density residential zones on lots only 12-metres wide, with minimal neighbour notification and no requirement for objections to be considered.

“To protect our community from inappropriate development, the council will immediately prepare a Planning Proposal to prohibit the development of these developments in R2 low density residential zones, and restrict dual occupancy development to current planning rules,” she said.

“The council will also write to the Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts to seek an exemption from this new Code and to request that Council’s local planning controls remain in effect until our Planning Proposal has been gazetted,” she said.

Georges River Council, Kevin Greene said protecting the local area from the significant effects of the new code is a key priority for Council.

“We need to stand firm on what is right for this local area and be able to have a say in the future of our local communities,” he said.

“The State Government’s new code has the potential to greatly impact on local infrastructure by increasing the number of dwellings within low density residential areas.

“An increase in the number of dwellings in low density residential areas can affect our roads, facilities and especially the availability of parking.

“Georges River Council owes it to local residents to ensure that the areas they live in are not affected by over-development that this new code will permit.”

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