Changes to Development within Housing Opportunity Areas

Background

Housing Opportunity Areas are the 10 areas identified in the City of Joondalup’s Local Housing Strategy and the City’s Local Planning Scheme No 3 as appropriate areas for increased residential density.

Since implementation of the Local Housing Strategy began in early 2016, landowners in Housing Opportunity Areas have been able to redevelop their properties in line with the higher densities allocated.

However, changes made to the State Government’s Residential Design Codes to remove average site areas for multiple dwellings and a lack of State Government support for a City of Joondalup initiative to restrict the development of multiple dwellings to sites 2,000 square metres or larger, have resulted in development outcomes in the Housing Opportunity Areas that were not originally envisaged by the City. Some residents are also concerned about the type of development currently occurring in Housing Opportunity Areas and called on the City to review how infill development is managed.

The City responded to these concerns by developing draft new development standards for housing opportunity areas consisting of a local planning policy and an amendment to the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 3. The draft new standards were considered by the Council at its meeting on 20 August 2019 and extensive community consultation was then undertaken on the draft proposals.

Following extensive community consultation, the Joondalup Council endorsed draft new development standards for Housing Opportunity Areas at a Special Meeting of Council held on 24 March 2020 (JSC02-03/20 refers). The draft new development standards were contained in both a local planning policy (LPP) and in a scheme amendment (Amendment No. 5).

Following Council’s endorsement of the LPP and Amendment No. 5, the documents were sent to the State Government’s Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC). The WAPC makes the decision on the LPP and makes a recommendation on Amendment No. 5 to the Minister for Planning. The Minister is responsible for approving the amendment.

The main reasons that both a LPP and a scheme amendment were progressed (instead of just a LPP) were that:

  1. Some standards need to be contained in the planning scheme to help the City make recommendations on subdivisions, before planning applications for the buildings are received
  2. Standards contained in the planning scheme generally hold more weight when the City makes decisions on planning applications or defends any decisions in the State Administrative Tribunal.

It was always understood that the WAPC may not support the inclusion of all development standards in the planning scheme, given that some standards are better suited for inclusion in a LPP. However, for the reasons mentioned above, the City included all development standards in both the LPP and Amendment No. 5, hoping that as many standards as possible would find their way into the planning scheme.

Since forwarding the documents to the WAPC, the City has had regular contact with the State Government’s Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage asking that the matter be progressed as quickly as possible and strongly encouraging them to support the development standards endorsed by Council. When the WAPC considered the matter on 27 October 2020, senior City staff made a deputation to the WAPC, urging the WAPC support the standards endorsed by the Council. The Mayor of the City of Joondalup has also written to the Minister for Planning, advocating for the same.

On Thursday 10 December 2020, the Minister for Planning announced her decision, via a media statement, on Amendment No. 5 to the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 3 (LPS3). The City received correspondence from the WAPC on Friday 11 December 2020, advising of the Minister’s decision. It is important to note that the Minister has made her decision on Amendment No. 5 only. It is understood that the WAPC will make a decision on the LPP early next year.

Most of the development standards have been removed from Amendment No. 5, including height, setbacks, parking, trees and landscaping. Amendment No. 5, which has been substantially pared back from the version adopted by Council, now only contains standards relating to lot frontage, moderation of multiple dwellings (apartments) and solar access. A table is provided below, which shows the comparison between the standards endorsed by Council and the standards approved by the Minister:

AMENDMENT ENDORSED BY COUNCIL AMENDMENT APPROVED BY MINISTER IMPLICATIONS
Lot frontage

(minimum)

9 metres (all dwellings) 9 metres (single/grouped dwellings) Many lots are between 18 – 20 metres wide. A minimum frontage of 9 metres will allow more side-by-side subdivision, instead of ‘battle-axe’ development (currently the only option for lots under 18 metres wide).
7.5 metres (lots with rear lane access) – would apply mainly to Sorrento laneway lots Standard was deleted 7.5 metre frontage was originally proposed to provide better interaction with the street and avoid garages/crossovers dominating the streetscape on narrower lot frontages.
Standard not included 20 metres (multiple dwellings) Would restrict development of multiple dwellings (apartments) in cul-de-sacs, unless lots were amalgamated – could encourage lot amalgamation.
Standard not included 6 metres (corner lots – rear vehicle access) 6 metre frontage generally not supported by community during consultation – removed from Council’s endorsed version of amendment.
Moderation of multiple dwellings (apartments) For multiple dwellings in all areas:

Limit the number of multiple dwellings that can be built on a lot by applying an average site area per dwelling, unless the lot is located:

  • Within 800 metre walkable catchment of a strategic metropolitan, secondary, district or specialised activity centre or railway station; and
  • On a busier road (classified as a local distributor or above, as determined by the City).
For multiple dwellings in R20/60 areas:

  • No average site area applies.
The standards limiting the number of multiple dwellings on a lot will apply to fewer lots than the standards endorsed by Council.

Council’s version was significantly more restrictive.

For multiple dwellings in R20/40 areas:

Limit the number of multiple dwellings that can be built on a lot by applying an average site area per dwelling, unless the lot:

  • has primary street frontage to a busier road (with scheme reservation classification of Local Distributor Road or Other Regional Road); or
  • Is located within 800m walkable catchment of a strategic metropolitan, secondary or specialised activity centre or railway station; or
  • is located within 400m walkable catchment of a district activity centre.
Solar access More stringent development standards relating to overshadowing of adjoining properties As per amendment endorsed by Council More restrictive than current requirements.

The City was required to modify the Amendment No. 5 documents to comply with the Minister’s decision. The documents were subsequently modified and returned to the Western Australian Planning Commission.

The Minister for Planning has now formally approved Amendment No. 5 as outlined above, and the amendment came into effect on 29 January 2021 when a notice was published in the Government Gazette (see document below).

The location criteria outlined in the table above is shown on the Multiple Dwelling Site Area Restriction maps which can assessed online.

In regard to the draft Development in Housing Opportunity Areas Local Planning Policy, the Statutory Planning Committee (SPC) of the Western Australian Planning Commission considered the draft Development in Housing Opportunity Areas Local Planning Policy at its meeting dated 16 February 2021.

The SPC approved the policy, subject to modifications. A summary of the key modifications and their implications is provided below:

Setbacks

Policy endorsed by Council Policy approved by SPC Implications
Side setback Ground floor 1.5m (single/grouped)

2.0m (multiple)

1.0m Under the SPC-approved version of the policy, buildings will be able to be located closer to side and rear boundaries.
Upper floor 3.0m 2.0m
Rear setback Ground floor 3.0m 1.0m
Upper floor 3.0m (R20/25 – R20/30)

6.0m (R20/40 – R20/60)

2.0m

Visitor parking

Policy endorsed by Council Policy approved by SPC Implications
Visitor parking Single/grouped dwellings 0.5 bays per dwelling 1 bay per 4 dwellings The SPC-approved version of the policy reverts to the visitor parking ratios of the R-Codes, which means less visitor parking is required.
Multiple dwellings 0.5 bays per dwelling 1 bay per 4 dwellings (up to 12 dwellings);

1 bay per 8 dwelling (for 13th dwelling and above)

Landscape area

Policy endorsed by Council Policy approved by SPC Implications
Amount of landscape area 0 – 300m2 20% 20% The SPC-approved version of the policy requires less landscape area to be provided on larger sites.

The SPC-approved version of the policy allows narrower strips of landscaping to be counted toward the overall provision of landscape area for a site.

301 – 400m2 25%
401 – 500m2 30%
> 500m2 35%
Minimum dimension 2.0m 1.5m

Current Status

At its meeting dated 16 March 2021, Council resolved the following in relation to the Development in Housing Opportunity Areas Local Planning Policy:

  1. NOTES the changes to the Development in Housing Opportunity Areas Local Planning Policy (HOALPP) resulting from the Western Australian Planning Commission’s decision on the HOALPP and the Minister for Planning’s decision on associated Scheme Amendment No. 5, as outlined in Attachment 3 to Report CJ023-03/21;
  2. AGREES to formally implement the modified Development in Housing Opportunity Areas Local Planning Policy as detailed in Attachment 3 to Report CJ023-03/21 from 2 July 2021;
  3. AGREES to the transitional arrangements for introduction of the Development in Housing Opportunity Areas Local Planning Policy as outlined in Report CJ023-03/21;
  4. NOTES that further approval of the Development in Housing Opportunity Areas Local Planning Policy may be required from the Western Australian Planning Commission following finalisation of the draft Medium Density Codes;
  5. NOTES that the revised Residential Development Local Planning Policy will come into operation on the same date as the Development in Housing Opportunity Areas Local Planning Policy;
  6. AGREES that any further strategic review of the Housing Opportunity Areas, including the establishment of any Community Reference Group, will be undertaken in accordance with a review of the City’s Local Planning Strategy, currently scheduled to commence in the 2022-23 financial year.

A copy of the full report and Council decision is available on the City’s website.

Council’s decision has the following implications:

  • From 2 July 2021 a new set of standards will apply to development in the City’s Housing Opportunity Areas. A copy of the policy is available on the City’s website.
  • Between now and 2 July 2021 any current planning applications will continue to be processed under the existing planning framework up until the HOALPP becomes operational. Regard will be given to the objectives of the HOALPP for any discretion sought.
  • Any current applications not finalised prior to 2 July 2021 will be assessed and determined under the new HOALPP.
  • All new planning applications, lodged from 22 March 2021, will now be assessed and determined under the new HOALPP.
  • A further strategic review of the Housing Opportunity Areas will be undertaken as part of a review of the City’s Local Planning Strategy which is currently scheduled to commence in the 2022/23 financial year.