Concern over the Medium Density Code

Mosman Mayor Carolyn Corrigan has sought an urgent meeting with the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, the Hon Rob Stokes, MP, and local member, Felicity Wilson, to address Council’s concerns about the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code (the Medium Density Code) which – unless a change in legislation is made – will apply in Mosman from 1 July 2019.

So, what is the Medium Density Code, and why is Council so concerned about it?

The Medium Density Code is a component of the NSW Government’s State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the Codes SEPP) which allows one and two storey dual occupancies, manor houses and multi-dwelling housing (terraces) to be approved as complying development on certain land throughout NSW.

As complying development, such development can be approved:
• by an accredited private certifier,
• within 20 days,
• without community consultation,
• subject to Statewide planning controls,
• bypassing councils and the development application process.

The Code was introduced by the NSW Government last year to address a perceived policy gap in the development of some medium density housing types, referred to as ‘the missing middle’. (Refer to 9 May 2019 Blog post). However, the types of housing that would be facilitated under the Medium Density Code have been permitted with consent in Mosman for decades and are evident throughout the R3 Medium Density Residential zone. In fact, over 65% of Mosman’s current housing stock is comprised of medium and high-density dwellings – considerably higher than that for Greater Sydney (44%) and the North District (47%).

Mosman has a long-established residential strategy which encourages a diversity of housing types to provide choice and meet community needs, and in consultation with the community, has refined local planning controls to ensure development is of good design, maintains resident amenity and view sharing, and fits well within established neighbourhoods.

Council is deeply concerned that the Medium Density Code would have an adverse impact within Mosman’s established neighbourhoods as development built under the Code would have no regard for local controls, and instead would allow development:
• of a greater bulk and scale,
• with significantly less landscaped area, and
• no consideration of Mosman’s varied topography, landscape amenity, view corridors, scenic protection areas or established character.

Were it not for the temporary deferral, the Medium Density Code would apply to 1,700 medium density zoned properties throughout Mosman.

Mosman is one of 47 local government areas throughout NSW currently subject to a temporary deferral from the Medium Density Code, which is due to expire on 30 June. Council has sought, and continues to advocate for, permanent exclusion from the Code.

More information: 4JUN2019 Council Meeting report – Medium Density Code