There has been much written about the so called ‘missing middle” as part of a solution to Sydney’s housing problem. Last year the State Government introduced a new code to allow certain types of medium density housing like terrace housing and dual occupancies, to be approved by private certifiers within 20 days if they comply with predetermined controls.Mosman, like the majority of Sydney metropolitan councils, received a 12 month deferral of the commencement of the code. This is due to expire on 1 July 2019. The State Government has remained silent on any plans for the affected councils past that date and has not responded to Council’s request for a permanent exclusion from the code.
Last night I had the opportunity to attend the annual environmental law lecture at Macquarie University. It was delivered by Senator Mehreen Faruqi on Environmentalism: Rekindling the Flame. Addressing a largely young audience with high levels of enthusiasm about the potential for change, Mehreen inspired these young university students and academics to do what they can to influence decision-makers on environmental matters that they are passionate about.
How will metropolitan and district strategic plans be implemented at the local level? This is a question currently being addressed by local councils, the Greater Sydney Commission and the NSW Department of Planning and Environment through a series of working group meetings across Sydney over the next few months.
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.
Yesterday Mosman Council hosted a visit by representatives of the Greater Sydney Commission. Sarah Hill (CEO), Deborah Dearing (North District Commissioner), Greg Woodhams (Executive Director) and Sylvia Smith (Director) met with Council’s General Manager and planners. The purpose of the visit was to hear from the Commission about their plans for implementing the North District Plan and to provide the Commission the opportunity to see firsthand some of the planning issues in Mosman.
Last week Active Living NSW held the 2018 FitNSW conference titled Placemakers and Cityshapers: the pathway to active and healthy communities. This was an incredibly well-attended conference with health professionals, planners, designers, architects and transport professionals from local government, State government and the private sector listening to ways collaboration and innovation can create more walkable and healthy places.
Last week the NSW Parliament passed legislation that would amend the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act to remove the role of Councillors from determining development applications, among other things, under Part 4 of the Act. These functions will be required to be undertaken by an independent panel of experts called a local planning panel.
The State government released a Discussion Paper late last year on a proposal to expand the types of development that could be done without development consent. This development, known as complying development, would include dual occupancies and medium density housing which the Department of Planning and Environment defines as manor homes and townhouses.