THE City of Joondalup will attempt to reduce infill density in Duncraig.
At last week’s meeting, councillors voted to initiate an amendment to the City’s district planning scheme to reduce the density coding of land bounded by the Mitchell Freeway and Davallia, Beach and Warwick roads from R20/R40 and R20/R60 to R20/R30.
They also voted to develop a new local planning policy to restrict the development of multiple dwellings in this area.
These decisions follow a special meeting of electors on April 24 where Duncraig residents expressed concerns over redevelopment in the suburb stemming from a higher residential density as part of the City’s Local Housing Strategy.
In 2010, the City proposed the area have a residential density of R20/R30 with some R20/R40 around Warwick train station and shopping centre and some R20/R60 along Beach Road.
However, the State Government said it was not enough and the density was set at R20/R40 with more R20/R60 near the train station and shopping centre.
At the electors’ meeting, Joondalup planning and community development director Dale Page said “making an ad hoc change… would not be in the interests of orderly and proper planning and such a change is unlikely to be supported” by the State Government.
The May 16 council report also reflected this, stating it was not appropriate to change the density “without undertaking a thorough review of the Local Housing Strategy and going through the process of having a new strategy approved”.
It said if the City was to initiate an amendment, it would take at least 12 months and the City would not be able to prevent development during this time.
The report also states the City “does not have the legal ability to prevent the development of multiple dwellings (apartments) under an R40 or R60 density coding as this would contradict the provisions of the R-Codes”.
“Unfortunately there is limited ability for any local planning policy to go beyond the scope of the R-Codes without the approval of the WA Planning Commission (WAPC),” it said.
“It is considered there would be little or no support at the State Government level to prevent the development of multiple dwellings”.
At the May 9 briefing, Ms Page said there was also a risk that reviewing the density of this area could prompt the State Government to “look more broadly or go harder on density”.
The report stated the “most appropriate way forward would be to try and better manage the potential impact of multiple dwellings”.
Officers recommended councillors not support changes to the density or restricting the development of multiple dwellings.
The report stated that while the residents’ concerns were acknowledged, given the proximity of the area to a train station, two shopping centres and public transport, the higher density was appropriate.
However, the council voted against this 5-7, prompting Cr Russ Fishwick to move an alternative motion to initiate the changes.
“At the very least, we have to have a crack,” he said.
“I choose to be optimistic.”
He said he understood it would be a lengthy and complex process but he believed 12 months of waiting would be “well worth it”.
Cr Russell Poliwka agreed saying the City needed to “listen to the will of the people”.
“I don’t think we should be timid in going back to the WAPC,” he said.
Mayor Troy Pickard warned there could be “serious and strategic ramifications across the City”. He said a change could “draw in to doubt and question” the strategy the City had spent the past seven years developing.
“We will be exposing the City to significant scrutiny by the WAPC and potentially some adverse consequences of seeking this amendment,” he said.
“I think there’s absolutely no way we will have our housing opportunity area downzoned and neither probably should we.”
The alternative motion was passed 8-4.
The motion also included the officers’ recommendation to liase with the Department of Planning for the ability to vary certain provisions of the R-Codes through the City’s Residential Development Local Planning Policy to address issues including tree retention and verge trees, on-site landscaping, adequate visitor parking, streetscape appearance and built form of multiple dwellings.