Mosman Council has been successful in its bid to halt the introduction of the State Government’s Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code, which commenced throughout many areas of NSW on 6 July 2018.
The Code would have permitted one and two storey dual occupancies, terrace housing and manor houses (blocks of three or four flats) to be built as complying development – that is, ‘fast track’ approval by a private certifier subject to State planning controls, without community consultation or council input.
This would have applied to around 1,018 medium density zoned residential lots in Mosman, and potentially a further 682 lots within the Mosman Scenic Protection Area.
Council feared that Mosman’s established neighbourhoods would be detrimentally affected by the Medium Density Code. A comparison with local planning controls – that is, those contained in Mosman Local Environmental Plan 2012 (LEP) and Residential Development Control Plan 2012 (DCP) – found that the Code would facilitate development that has:
- Greater bulk and scale (i.e. more gross floor area and height, and less setbacks),
- Reduced landscaped area and landscaping,
- Poorer privacy and overlooking,
- Less on-site car parking and therefore more parking congestion within local roads, and
- No regard for overshadowing, view sharing or the desired future character of residential areas, nor the cumulative impact of development.
Mosman has a long-established housing strategy, with LEP and DCP planning controls that have evolved over time, in consultation with the community, to achieve good built form outcomes cognisant of local circumstance and character. The Medium Density Code represents an erosion of local development assessment and threatens the high standard of development that Council and the community have worked hard to achieve.
On 5 June 2018, Council unanimously resolved that it urgently seek exemption from the Medium Density Code. Notice was received from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment on 5 July 2018 that the Code will be deferred in the Mosman local government area until 1 July 2019.
Development applications for medium density housing can continue to be lodged with Council and will be assessed under the provisions contained in Mosman’s LEP and DCP.