When Council met last Tuesday it resolved to resist attempts by the State Government to standardise local area character by urging the Minister for Planning to exclude Mosman from the provisions of the new Medium Density Code, and to make permanent our current exclusion from the Housing Code.
What does this mean? Land in Mosman that is within what is known as the Scenic Protection Area (ie all land below the 60m contour) currently has a temporary exclusion from the Housing Code until 30 November 2018. If this ceased to continue beyond that date then new two storey houses and substantial alterations and additions to houses would be able to be built without the need to submit a development application. There would then be no consideration of neighbours’ submissions, no assessment of views, privacy, or sunlight access, and no consideration of the local character of the area.
In addition, the State Government has prepared the new Medium Density Code which will come into effect on 6 July. This will allow medium density housing that meets certain controls to be built in the R3 Medium Density Residential zone without Council approval. The Code would allow development that has:
- a greater bulk and scale,
- reduced building setbacks,
- reduced landscaped area and poorer landscaping standards,
- poorer privacy and overlooking standards,
- reduced off-street car parking requirements,
- no regard for overshadowing, view sharing or the desired future character of residential areas, nor the cumulative impact of development, and
- no genuine community consultation.
It is likely that both these Codes would result in adverse development outcomes for the Mosman community, as well as for the significant landscaped slopes of the harbour. Council has been urging the Government for eight years to secure the protection of the harbour foreshores in Mosman from inappropriate development and loss of trees. With the expiry date of 30 November looming, the character of these areas, including the dominance of landscape, could change forever.