Georges RIver Council has raised a number of concerns with the NSW Government's Housing Reforms to deliver 314,000 new homes by 2029 across NSW.
The council was due to hold an extraordinary meeting on Monday, February 12 to discuss its response to the reforms and ask the Department of Planning for more time to respond.
Under the reforms, from April 1, 2024, a new Transport Oriented Development State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) will amend planning controls within 400-metres of 31 metro and rail stations to allow for the development of new and affordable housing within walking distance of public transport.
And the NSW Government is proposing changes to the planning rules to speed up the delivery of more low- and mid-rise housing to fill the gap between detached homes and high-rise apartment buildings.
The proposed reforms seek to:
- Allow dual occupancies (two separate homes on a single lot), such as duplexes, in all R2 low density residential zones across all of NSW.
- Allow terraces, townhouses and two-storey apartment blocks near transport hubs and town centres in R2 low density residential zones.
- Allow mid-rise apartment blocks near transport hubs and town centres in R3 medium density zones within 800-metres from transport hubs, shops and amenities.
The residents have until February 23 to respond to the proposed changes.
In its report, while the Council welcomes the opportunity for increased housing capacity and diversity created by the proposed Low and Mid-Rise Housing Reform, it expresses concerns regarding the blanket 'one-size-fits-all' nature of the Reform and its impact on the local character of the Georges River Local Government Area.
The report recommends the Council request the Department of Planning to defer the implementation of the Low and Mid-Rise Housing Reform within the Georges River LGA so Council is given the opportunity to review its Local Strategic Planning Statement to create capacity for additional and diverse housing through the creation of new R3 and R4 zones within the following 12 precincts: Hurstville Railway Station and Hurstville City Centre, Kogarah Railway Station and Kogarah Town Centre, Beverly Hills Railway Station and Beverly Hills (King Georges Road), Kingsgrove Railway Station and Kingsgrove Road), Mortdale Railway Station and Morts Road), Penshurst Railway Station and Penshurst Street, , Riverwood (Belmore Road) , South Hurstville (King Georges Road), Oatley Railway Station and Oatley (Mulga Road), Allawah Railway Station, Carlton Railway Station, Narwee Railway Station.
The council's concerns with the Low and Mid-Rise Housing Reform include:
- It overrides the master planning work that has been completed by Council in conjunction with the community for the Mortdale and Beverly Hills Local Centres.
- Its demand to provide uplift to centres that fall within the definition of "station and town centre precincts" without the appropriate master planning being in place to address community concerns of public domain and infrastructure provision.
- The demand to provide capacity for up to 150,000 additional dwellings within the Georges River LGA without considerations of the availability of infrastructure to support this growth.
- The reforms will increase housing capacity by permitting development on smaller allotments with greater height and FSR. This will result in changes to the low-density character of the LGA's suburbs, loss of trees and canopy cover on private land, replacement of on street parking with driveways and increased traffic impacts due to additional density.
- Permitting manor houses and multi dwelling housing in the R2 Zone and residential flat buildings (of three- to six-storeys) in the R3 Zone in "station and town centre precincts" undermines the hierarchy of residential zones developed with the community.
- Applying the Low- and Mid-Rise Housing Reforms to Heritage Conservation Areas will compromise the social, built and cultural significance of these areas.
- Applying the minimum lot width of 12-metres and minimum site area of 450sqm for dual occupancy development across the LGA is a significant reduction from the existing Georges River Local Environmental Plan requirements of minimum 15-metre lot with and minimum site area of 650sqm and 1,000sqm outside and within the Foreshore Scenic Protection Area (FSPA) respectively.
- The Reforms do not address the existing infrastructure shortage that currently exists including insufficient open space, community centres, sports courts and libraries.