Proposal to increase housing by allowing smaller lot sizes

Housing density could increase in towns under a proposal to be discussed at the next council meeting.
Housing density could increase in towns under a proposal to be discussed at the next council meeting.

Council is proposing to change and even remove minimum site sizes in certain areas in an effort to increase housing stock in the Bega Valley and stimulate development.

If agreed the move will herald an increase in housing density in the Bega Valley's urban areas.

The proposal to change parts of the Bega Valley Local Environmental Plan 2013 will be discussed at the next council meeting on Wednesday, June 16 and if agreed by a majority of councillors, it will then be sent to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment requesting a gateway determination. The proposals affect residents in R3 medium density residential, B4 mixed use, RU5 village and R2 low density residential zones in the Bega Valley.

Minimum lot sizes (currently 550sqm) for a single dwelling on a sewered site, dual occupancies, multi-dwelling housing and residential flat buildings will be removed in R3 and B4 zones if the proposal goes ahead and receives a positive gateway determination.

In zones RU5 and R2 minimum lot sizes will also be removed with the exception of dual occupancy sites which must be on a minimum of 550sqm.

Council also proposes to remove the minimum site size of 2000sqm for a dwelling on an unsewered site, saying that the technology for on-site sewage systems has improved sufficiently.

Council said there are blocks that currently cannot be used because of this restriction.

The proposals are being driven by housing affordability issues and shortages of housing stock particularly in urban areas where services already exist and costs are lower to connect to them.

Council maintains that removal of these development standards "is unlikely to result in adverse amenity impacts for the community"

Minimum lot sizes which can be found on the relevant lot size maps still apply but the number of permissible properties on that lot will increase.

Council said existing development controls such as minimum landscaping requirements, view sharing considerations, overshadowing controls and similar provisions work to control amenity and character, and would continue to apply when new development is considered.

"Implementation of the planning proposal will increase the diversity of housing that will help to better meet our community's housing needs. Improving housing diversity, particularly smaller dwellings and dwellings suited to older people and people with disabilities, will impact on the affordability of housing and improve opportunities for people to live closer to the goods and services they need," council said.

The report from council staff said the clauses in the LEP are limiting the opportunity for small lot development (ie smaller than 550sqm) as an element of new land releases and inhibiting housing affordability.