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.

Current Status

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 is now required to modify the scheme amendment document and mapping to comply with the Minister’s decision. The City has prepared for this work and will progress the modifications as quickly as possible.

Once the scheme amendment document and maps have been modified, they will be returned to the WAPC for the Minister’s final signature.  The scheme amendment will become part of LPS3 once it is published in the Government Gazette. This is likely to occur early in the new year.

In the meantime, given that the Minister has clearly indicated her intention to approve the amendment as outlined above, the document will now be considered a seriously entertained proposal with the new standards able to be considered as part of a planning application or an application for subdivision.

The City will continue to push hard for the WAPC to deal with the LPP as quickly as possible.

If you made a submission or have previously registered your interest in this project, the City will advise you of the outcome.