Graham Holland is a retired architect and vice president of the Lane Cove Bushland and Conservation Society. Graham (like some other Lane Cove residents) is concerned that changes permitting medium density dwellings to be code compliant will open the floodgates to developers pressing for apartments to become medium density dwellings. The proposed height for a medium density dwelling is currently a height of less than 10m. How soon do you think it will be before developers lobby the government to extend that height (all in the name of housing affordability)?
What is Wrong with the Proposed Changes?
This is how Graham Holland sees the proposed planning changes impacting Lane Cove.
The state government has woken up to the fact that there is a missing link between individual houses and multi-storey unit complexes. The Lane Cove Bushland and Conservation Society (LCBCS) agrees with the need for more medium density housing. To fill this gap the government is proposing to allow different types of dual occupancies, terrace houses, a single “manor house” containing up to 4 separate dwellings in areas currently zoned for single-family detached houses (R2 zones) and in areas zoned for medium density housing (R3 zones). This means that these new forms of development could happen next to your house almost anywhere in Lane Cove, as the majority of land in Lane Cove is zoned for single family housing.
Lane Cove’s Local Environment Plan (LEP) shows where Council believes medium density should occur. This Plan was the result of extensive consultation with the community to carefully balance the different land uses.
The LCBCS has made a submission to the government stating that such medium density housing development should only be allowed on R3 zoned land and that where this should occur should remain a decision of Council. Kuringai and Hornsby Councils have a similar view. This view is supported by The Greater Sydney Commission (GSC), which has stated that: “local environment plans will continue to determine whether development is permitted or prohibited on land.”
Examples of Suggested Acceptable Medium Density Housing
The LCBCS opposes the use of Complying Development for medium density housing. It should only be approved by Council through the Development Application (DA) process.
Complying Development implies no notification to any other authorities who have some jurisdiction over development, in particular the Council, no notification to neighbours and therefore no rights to comment, no requirement to consider any effect outside the actual development site – in other word the cumulative effect on infrastructure, provision of amenities or services to the area.
Dense and Bare
These new forms of development will be dense. For example, a two-storey (plus an attic) dual occupancy or detached dwellings can be on lots as small as 200 m², with a minimum width of 12 m. Manor houses (that is four separate dwellings two stories high) can be on lots of 600 m² with a minimum width of 15 m. Most blocks of land in Lane Cove range from about 500 to over 700 m². There will inevitably be a loss of existing trees and little space left for any other growth.
One of Sydney’s newest suburbs at Leppington was cited by former Planning Minister Rob Stokes as a good example of this kind of development. The photo shows that there isn’t a tree in sight and that there is little space for anything to grow.
We don’t think that Lane Cove should look like this.
So what do you think? If you are concerned you need to contact local MP’s and the New Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts and voice your concerns.
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