Planning legislation around subdivisions, dual occupancies and multi-dwelling development is complex. Forum Committee members have discussed the content of this Proposal with Council Planning staff and have attempted here to simplify and explain the proposed changes and their impacts.

With the NSW Government’s Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code coming into effect on 1 July, Council has reviewed the subdivision provisions in the Shoalhaven LEP (SLEP) and prepared a Planning Proposal that seeks to amend several related provisions and to rezone some ‘R2 Low Density Residential’ land (with large lot characteristics) to ‘R5 Large Lot Residential’.
The Proposal is on exhibition and Council is inviting submissions until 22 May.

Shoalhaven LEP 2014
The SLEP includes provisions relating to the subdivision of land (for dual occupancies and multi-dwelling developments) which address the three main titling systems; Torrens (most dwellings), Strata and Community.

In Berry, these provisions apply primarily to land zoned ‘R1 General Residential’ and ‘R2 Low Density Residential’ –

  • Most of ‘Old Berry’ and the area with larger lots along and off Kangaroo Valley Rd as far as Bundewallah Rd, is zoned R2.
  • Most of Huntingdale is zoned R1, except for the earlier development along Huntingdale Park Rd, which is zoned R2.
  • There are some small pockets of R3 Medium Density Residential, the largest of these being in Huntingdale.

Strata and Community title subdivisions have increased in popularity, because they permit the minimum size of resulting lots to be smaller than under Torres title. The Proposal seeks to address this perceived inequity by lifting the restrictions on minimum lot size after subdivision via the Torrens system.

The Planning Proposal
A key component of the Proposal is the setting of minimum ‘parent’ (original) lot sizes for land proposed for dual occupancy or multi dwelling development –

  • Dual occupancy in zones R1&R2 (as SDCP) – 500 sqm (attached) and 700 sqm (detached)
  • Multi-dwelling housing in zones R1 & R3    – 900 sqm

Council is also seeking to retain the lower density characteristics of large lots in some areas by rezoning them from R2 to ‘R5 Large Lot Residential’. In future, dual occupancy will need to be attached on these lots (a secondary dwelling, such as a granny flat, will be permissible).
The rezoning will affect the larger lots along and off Kangaroo Valley Rd from The Gables/North St to Bundewallah Road, and the owners of these lots have been notified by Council.

The planning provisions relating to subdivision are contained in Part 4 of the SLEP. The main thrust of the Proposal is to replace Clause 4.1A ‘Exceptions to minimum lot sizes for dual occupancies and multi-dwelling housing’. A new sub-clause is also proposed to clarify that, for the purpose of calculating the area of a battle-axe lot, an access handle is excluded from the calculation.

Adverse Impacts Related to Multi-Dwelling Development
Although the Proposal focuses on the current inequity impacts of the titling system, the Forum Committee believes it should also address the severe over-development issues relating to the lack of an appropriate minimum resulting lot size for multi-dwelling developments in R1 zones.

The significant adverse social and environmental impacts of this gap in planning provisions are evident in the current proposal for five dwellings on a lot in Parker Crescent, on the top of a hill in Huntingdale.

By permitting multi-dwelling development on a minimum ‘parent’ lot size of only 900 sqm, with no restriction on the minimum size of the resulting lots, and enabling Torrens titling for the subsequent subdivision, over-development issues and adverse impacts could be intensified.

The Forum Committee recommends that, in the same way that certain R2 areas would be rezoned to R5 as part of this proposal, Council should also seek to rezone the larger lots on the periphery of Huntingdale and similar developments across the Shoalhaven from R1 to R2 to prevent the spread of inappropriate, opportunistic multi-dwelling developments.
In the case of Huntingdale, Council’s original intention to decrease densities from the heart of the development towards the rural periphery to soften the urban/rural interface, was unintentionally impacted by its SLEP 2014 R1 zoning.