Blue Mountains News
Council continues to fight Low Rise Housing Code
The amendment is in response to the State Government’s Low Rise Housing Diversity Code, which provides greater development potential for developers by overriding local planning controls.
Council has advocated directly to successive Ministers for Planning for an exemption from the Low Rise Code since 2018, however this has not been supported by the NSW Government.
Blue Mountains City Council Mayor Mark Greenhill said the Code threatens the environmental and character values of the Blue Mountains and surrounding World Heritage National Park, and Council will continue to urge the State Government to reconsider the one-size-fits-all approach to development approvals.
“Since it was introduced, Council has advocated for the Blue Mountains to be exempt from the Low Rise Code due to the potential impacts on the character and environment in the Local Government Area.
“It is disappointing that the State Government has not recognised the importance of this issue and the need for stronger stormwater management controls to ensure best practice.”
Amendment 16A to the Local Environment Plan (LEP) 2015 seeks to minimise potential environmental impacts from the Low Rise Code by limiting development that can occur under the code to sites of an appropriate size, while maintaining housing diversity opportunities to plan for the housing needs of the local community.
A further concern with the Code is that development can be approved by private certifiers rather than Council, and without community consultation as is required with a development application.
Under the Code, which came into force in the Blue Mountains in 2020, the overall size, site coverage and stormwater impacts of some types of medium density development are significantly greater than would apply under local planning controls.
Without an amendment to the LEP (Amendment 16A) the Code would allow for these dense forms of residential development on land much smaller than would be permitted under local planning controls, resulting in poor and inappropriate environmental outcomes for the Blue Mountains.
“This is not about limiting housing opportunity for our community. With the LEP Amendment in place, there will be more than 4000 lots across the City within the R1, R2 and R3 zones available for these housing types, and approximately 1200 of these are available in the R2 -Low Density Residential zone, for dual occupancy development,” Mayor Greenhill said.
“Blue Mountains City Council is committed to tackling the housing crisis and this is evidenced by the recent Affordable Housing Review, reported to Council in July 2023, and the resolution to complete an Affordable Housing Policy within the first quarter of the 2024 calendar year.
“Our approach to the housing crisis in all its components, including housing supply and affordability, needs to be sensible, sensitive and appropriate to the very particular and unique environmental conditions within the Blue Mountains local government area.
“The proposed amendment to the LEP will assist in reducing the impacts of the Low Rise Code by introducing and clarifying minimum lot sizes to development types possible under the Code, while retaining diverse housing opportunities for our local community.
“Despite the state government requiring that stormwater management controls be removed from the amendment, Council will continue to advocate to have these important controls strengthened in the Low Rise Code.”
The amendment will now be forwarded to the NSW Department of planning to issue instructions to the NSW Parliamentary Councils Office to draft the required legislation to give effect to this amendment.
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