Bega Valley Shire Council is supporting increased housing diversity and affordability through changes to planning rules that now permit secondary dwellings in more rural zones.
Council's director of community, environment and planning, Alice Howe, said recent changes to the Bega Valley Local Environmental Plan 2013 now allow a secondary dwelling, associated with a primary dwelling, to be built in Primary Production (RU1) and Rural Landscape (RU2) zones without further subdivision of the land.
"This means secondary dwellings, which we used to refer to as granny flats, are now permitted with consent anywhere in the shire where dwellings are permitted, apart from the RU4 zone which contain small lots that focus on agriculture," Dr Howe said.
"It also means rural landowners will not be subject to developer contributions, which will save them almost $10,000 compared to a dual occupancy build."
Dr Howe said secondary dwellings can be used as visitor accommodation for family or friends, accommodation for a young adult or older parents, or rented to a tenant.
"Older residents wanting to remain in their community as they age can use the secondary dwelling as a downsizing option," Dr Howe said.
This change aligns with council's Local Strategic Planning Statement 2040, which identifies the need for greater housing diversity in the shire, particularly smaller dwellings, to contribute to improved housing affordability.
"There is a critical shortage of permanent rental accommodation in the shire at the moment," Dr Howe said.
"In addition to planning reform, council encourages those with properties in the short-term rental market to contact their real estate agent about making them available for people in desperate need of accommodation to live and work in the shire."
Landowners can apply for a secondary dwelling by lodging a development application with council.