Planning for Conflict

Flats

In November 2010 the Department of Planning made a significant change to planning laws when they introduced new provisions for multiple dwellings. With more and more multiple dwelling applications being made,  some residents are getting very concerned.

Multiple dwellings differ from grouped dwellings (villas, town-houses) in that there are dwellings which are vertically above other dwellings; similar to a block of flats. This is advantageous in areas which are to be built up due to being close to town centres or public transport, however can be an issue when they are built in fully residential areas which often don’t meet that criteria. All of a sudden a house in a quiet residential street has a multiple dwelling built next to them and their privacy and amenity have irrevocably been impacted due to the height of the multiple dwellings. There are also shadowing impacts as well as street-scape issues.

Car parking can also become a problem because all of a sudden you have 8-10 dwellings built on a circa 1,000 p/sqm block and the R-Codes currently have requirements of as little as 0.75 bays per dwelling. The developer is usually not going to build more car bays then he has to, so the street and neighbours’ verges become parking bays. Hence streetscape is further impacted.

I have received numerous complaints from residents about multiple dwellings and the Department of Planning write that “A number of local governments have raised concerns … about unintended and undesirable consequences arising from the 2010 changes … relating to multiple dwelling development.” They further explain that “this was in response to community concern about developments that are being built in predominantly single dwelling neighbourhoods, and viewed as being out of character and having a detrimental impact on the overall amenity of an area.”

In researching the topic I discovered that the City of Stirling is progressing  a plan to amend the Town Planning Scheme so that multiple dwellings are prohibited in R40 areas. Commendably, and no doubt due to Local Government concerns, the Department of Planning themselves acknowledge that the rules could do with a bit of tightening. They are in the process of modifying the multiple dwelling requirements for R30 and R35 sites which will mean multiple dwellings will have the same density and open space requirements as single houses and grouped dwellings.

I am proposing that a conversation occur on whether multiple dwellings should be allowed in R40 zones and as such gave notice of the following motion for discussion at the next Council meeting:

“The City of Bayswater pursue a scheme amendment to prohibit multiple dwellings in residential areas coded R40 and below.”

In the event that Council believes there is a problem with allowing multiple dwellings in some residential areas,  then public advertising will occur for public comment.

Multiple dwellings are good in the fact that they use the sky instead of the land, and this in turn should theoretically allow for more open public space and trees. I personally feel though that greater consideration of where they are allowed needs to occur, and I am not yet sure that the right balance has been found yet. It’ll be interesting to know what the public thinks; I am pretty sure the developers will be against any changes.

Power to the people.

Please be aware that these views are my own and have not been endorsed by the City of Bayswater.

*** As a follow up, the below is how the vote ultimately went at Council: ***
Multiple dwellings

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