Interim policy to manage infill takes a step forward

Stock image.
Stock image.

CITY of Joondalup residents can soon have their say on a draft planning framework that aims to create better infill developments in higher density areas.

The interim framework was requested by concerned residents to manage the impacts of infill development while the City continues to work on a more comprehensive framework prepared by external consultants.

At yesterday’s council meeting, councillors were presented with two options for the interim framework as well as “alternative development standards” to impose even greater design controls that could also be considered.

These included applying an average lot size for multiple dwellings in areas coded R20/R40 outside 800m of activity centres or train stations, removing the minimum building height of two storeys in R20/R60 areas, requiring a minimum street setback of 4m for all development in R20/R40 areas and 2m in R20/R60 areas, increasing the minimum ground floor rear setback in R20/R40 and R20/R60 areas from 1.5m to 2m and requiring all visitor parking to be provided on site.

For crossovers, it could also be considered to have a maximum width of 6m for developments with more than 10 dwellings.

For less than 10 dwellings, if there is a double garage then a maximum of 4.5m is permitted and if there is a single garage then 3m is required.

Mayor Albert Jacob moved an alternative motion to include all of the extra development standards the City officers had put forward in the council report.

He said it had been “a long road to get to this point” and this was now the “trigger” to consult with the wider community.

“I cannot more strongly commend to you to progress this,” he said to councillors.

“It is the quickest and most achievable package we have.

“Every element reduces development yield and addresses concerns.”

However, Cr Russell Poliwka attempted to have the matter deferred to a special council meeting one week later, saying many residents did not have time to speak on the matter given the “busy agenda” and many could not make the meeting, which this month was held at noon.

He also said another week would give councillors more time to understand the “complex” framework.

“I think it is reasonable to ask for some extra breathing space,” he said.

“One week will make no difference to the process and then we can focus solely on this.”

The motion to defer was lost 3-7, and Mr Jacob’s alternative was unanimously approved.

The draft interim planning framework, which comprises a draft local planning policy (draft Development in Housing Opportunity Areas Local Planning Policy) and draft scheme amendment (Scheme Amendment 5), will now be sent to the Environmental Protection Authority for approval to advertise.

The documents will then be advertised for 42 days.

This will include letters to everyone who owns a property or lives in a housing opportunity area, or next to one.

Planning and community development director Dale Page also confirmed they were preparing additional information to send out to help provide clarity following one resident’s comments that it had “failed to be in easy to understand language”.

Mr Jacob said the consultation material would also be workshopped with councillors and could include “massing diagrams” to show examples of how much space on a lot different developments might be allowed to occupy with the new proposed restrictions.

In November 2017, the council agreed to prepare a new planning framework for the City’s housing opportunity areas following growing community concerns with the quality of developments being built at a higher density.

External consultants were engaged in mid-2018 to help with this process, which included extensive community consultation.

The new draft planning framework was then presented to the council in April to seek approval to advertise for public comment.

However, some residents were concerned this would start a process where changes would be difficult to make and requested more time for them to assess and question the complex documents.

Residents also requested the development of a simpler interim framework to manage the impacts of infill development while work continued on the more comprehensive framework prepared by the consultants.

It is noted that the draft interim framework will require approval from the WA Planning Commission.