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Andrew Barr wants your comments on planning changes

By johnboy - 9 August 2010 14

Minister for planning Andrew Barr is asking you to get involved in the consultation on proposed planning changes:

Draft Variation No. 303 to the Territory Plan includes:

a change to the minimum block size for dual occupancy development; and

new rules for secondary residences, sometimes referred to as “granny flats” that will provide greater opportunities for small additional dwellings suitable for our ageing and changing population.

A second Draft Variation – No. 301 (Estate Development Code) – in part includes:

mandating that 95 per cent of single dwelling blocks in an estate are positioned to enable buildings to have direct sun in winter. The new code contains tables which identify the block size, block dimensions, slope and orientation which make blocks suitable for improved solar access.
Comment on this Draft Variation closes on 16 August 2010.

Comments need to be sent to ACTPLA.

What’s Your opinion?


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14 Responses to
Andrew Barr wants your comments on planning changes
dst 10:53 am 26 Aug 10

The price of housing in Canberra is soaring. The land available is restricted and the aging population need more options. The reduction of land size for multiple dwelling housing is a great idea. Though I would prefer to see small developments (rather than groups of townhouses), such as duplexes, that can fit cohesively within the surrounding neighbourhood.

sepi 10:09 am 11 Aug 10

I think the idea of that subrub with the laneways behind was to present a pleasant and walkable streetscape, and keep cars and rubbish bins to the rear of the houses. I guess it didnt’ catch on.

Gungahlin Al 9:31 am 11 Aug 10

2604 said :

GardeningGirl said :

Sorry, I still don’t get it. I’m not talking about access roads for houses that face major thoroughfares or for medium density developments, I’m talking about rows of individual houses with a street for the front doors and another street for the garages at the back. We parked at the entrance to one on the solar house tour a few years ago, very slummy looking (I mean by design, no reflection on the occupants).

Having a garage at the front of a house adds about 5 metres of width to the front of the house. Having the garage at the back means that the gubmint can flog blocks that are much narrower.

Yep that’s about it. Rear lanes worked once when they only had to be big enough to fit a garbo truck down. Now they are parking lots because people fill their double garages up with so much crap they can’t even get a single car in them.

Fer pete’s sake people – have a garage sale.

2604 10:45 pm 10 Aug 10

GardeningGirl said :

Sorry, I still don’t get it. I’m not talking about access roads for houses that face major thoroughfares or for medium density developments, I’m talking about rows of individual houses with a street for the front doors and another street for the garages at the back. We parked at the entrance to one on the solar house tour a few years ago, very slummy looking (I mean by design, no reflection on the occupants).

Having a garage at the front of a house adds about 5 metres of width to the front of the house. Having the garage at the back means that the gubmint can flog blocks that are much narrower.

GardeningGirl 8:45 pm 10 Aug 10

Sorry, I still don’t get it. I’m not talking about access roads for houses that face major thoroughfares or for medium density developments, I’m talking about rows of individual houses with a street for the front doors and another street for the garages at the back. We parked at the entrance to one on the solar house tour a few years ago, very slummy looking (I mean by design, no reflection on the occupants).

Gungahlin Al 10:29 am 10 Aug 10

hax said :

GardeningGirl said :

Can someone explain to me the thinking behind the double roads in parts of Gungahlin, with a street in front of the house and an access road behind for the garages?

Good question! I’ve wondered this myself, such small blocks and narrow roads, but then there’s parts where there seems to be an overkill (while other parts there’s no chance of 2 vehicles being in both lanes at the same time, and buses struggling to get around narrow corners and taking up the whole road)

Flemington Rd will eventually carry a massive amount of traffic. Remember Gungahlin is not even half way there yet, with a final population of around 100,000 to come. People have trouble conceiving just how that much growth will change things. Even the LDA often doesn’t seem to understand the implications, frequently implementing short-sighted quick fixes and underutilising land that should go for much higher uses…

So it is 2 lanes each way to carry the arterial needs. Then there are going to be apartment complexes up to 4 stories (6 stories around the Nullarbor Ave intersection) right along both sides (less some park/reserve space). Those buildings needs access, so there are one lane service roads alongside the arterial lanes.

There is also space left down the middle for the day when we finally have a transport minister with vision. ACTPLA planned the corridor just wide enough to put two light rail lines down there. It will not be planted out.

And it is all coming to a close quickly now and is looking good. Alas, a lack of planning means that we’ll all have a battle to bottleneck back down to one lane each way at either end… This is because the ACT Government only funded the works fronting the section of Flemington Rd where they wanted to sell off land, regardless of only needed another 300 metres or so to continue the 4 lanes down to the existing section in Mitchell.

This (only doing roadworks that are required to facilitate more land sales) has been a features of ACT ALP budgets for several years now (apart from the GDE). Only in this budget just gone has there instead been a focus on transport infrastructure for the people already here in Gungahlin.

People wonder why I get cranky about the things that happen in Gungahlin…?

hax 9:27 am 10 Aug 10

GardeningGirl said :

Can someone explain to me the thinking behind the double roads in parts of Gungahlin, with a street in front of the house and an access road behind for the garages?

Good question! I’ve wondered this myself, such small blocks and narrow roads, but then there’s parts where there seems to be an overkill (while other parts there’s no chance of 2 vehicles being in both lanes at the same time, and buses struggling to get around narrow corners and taking up the whole road)

I don’t know where these ideas are coming from, but I’d prefer to see a bigger yard rather than a road running in front AND behind the house.

GardeningGirl 5:09 pm 09 Aug 10

“mandating that 95 per cent of single dwelling blocks in an estate are positioned to enable buildings to have direct sun in winter. The new code contains tables which identify the block size, block dimensions, slope and orientation which make blocks suitable for improved solar access.”

“Every chance I get, I’m pushing the need to provide space for community gardens, and also the right to have a backyard if you design your house appropriately (as opposed to just because you can afford to slap down $300K+ on a block).”

“Smaller blocks also save a lot on costs. Doubling the number of people living in a given area doesnt double the infrastructure costs – you still only need one road”

I remember 20-25 years ago visiting a solar passive display home in Bruce. I remember well over a decade ago when the energy ratings were introduced for new construction being told the requirement didn’t apply if you were building on already released land because the land wouldn’t necessarily be suitably oriented (we found a block anyway and built a solar passive house). I thought by implication land released in the future would have to be suitable. NOW they’re finally doing something about solar orientation of housing blocks? Btw it’s laughable sometimes what real estate agents will say. If the house has an energy rating of about 1 and when you look at the map it’s obvious only one or two windows face north then calling it north facing like that’s a selling point is a joke.

It’s really quite depressing to see on the one hand some blocks in old suburbs going to waste with an acre of dead grass while anyone wanting to build new seems to have the option of paying a lot for no garden or paying even more for someplace they can knock down rebuild. Here’s an idea the money-grubbing government and developers won’t go for. I presume the other 5% is because there will be areas where because of a corner or the slope of the land or something it would be difficult to have an ideally oriented 300m2 block. So plan to include some large blocks instead, large enough for the house to be something other than a mass-produced rectangle, and with space for a real garden. Make those blocks available at the same price as the small blocks but only to purchasers with a proven track record of having a real garden. I’m sure the greenery will enhance the amenity of the whole neighbourhood, and at no cost to the government for ongoing maintenance. (We drove past the landscaped entrance/green belt to an older new development recently and it’s an overgrown mess, making me ask who will look after the green belts in the new suburbs in the long term anyway?) In an age when planting trees and considering food miles and building sustainable housing is supposed to be good for the environment it is ridiculous that wanting to do ALL of that is made so expensive and complicated.

I’d love to see more community gardens. There was one we used to drive past which I recently noticed looks abandoned. Maybe having a sense of community and saving money by growing your own works better elsewhere?

Can someone explain to me the thinking behind the double roads in parts of Gungahlin, with a street in front of the house and an access road behind for the garages?

dtc 3:08 pm 09 Aug 10

Holden Caulfield said :

More blocks, more tax. Well, that’s my uneducated theory anyway.

Smaller blocks also save a lot on costs. Doubling the number of people living in a given area doesnt double the infrastructure costs – you still only need one road, one sewerage system, one water main, one main electrical line. The only additional costs are the costs of running from the main line to each house and, perhaps, slightly larger capacity pipes.

There are streets in Asia (HK for example) that have over 10,000 people living on them. But the street is just a 4km normal road. In Canberra, you would probably have to build 50km of road (or more) for the same number of people.

Holden Caulfield 12:04 pm 09 Aug 10

miz said :

…I cannot understand why politicians are so ‘anti’ the ordinary suburban block…

Two words…

Stamp duty.

More blocks, more tax. Well, that’s my uneducated theory anyway.

Gungahlin Al 11:26 am 09 Aug 10

miz said :

I cannot understand why politicians are so ‘anti’ the ordinary suburban block. There is a significant movement that is seeking the retention of suburban and peri-suburban food production space.

Every chance I get, I’m pushing the need to provide space for community gardens, and also the right to have a backyard if you design your house appropriately (as opposed to just because you can afford to slap down $300K+ on a block).

We are up against people like David Flannery (formerly head of the AIA) waging a constant war on what they choose to label “suburban sprawl”. Reality is that the only problems we have here are 1/ the artificial constraint of the NSW boundary putting a cap on the money that the ACT Government can extract from land sales for its unsustainable budget, and 2/ lack of a good, segregated public transport system linking the satellite city nodes.

One thing in TPV303 of concern is that it locks in the concept that a “large” block is anything over 500sqm, and a “mid-sized” block is anything (I think) from 350-500. That should be a conversation starter…

miz 10:58 am 09 Aug 10

My main concern would be that dual occupancy would become ‘open slather’ and that this would detrimentally affect the ‘vibe’ of Canberra that we all love.

While I am 100% in support of solar passive development (and indeed, I am lucky to live in a house that is angled perfectly by some fluke, which saves me $$ on winter heating), it would be bad if we traded urban greenery for bricks and mortar development.

I cannot understand why politicians are so ‘anti’ the ordinary suburban block. There is a significant movement that is seeking the retention of suburban and peri-suburban food production space. It is vital that development policies do not impinge on this. Rioters should be aware that the majority of the NSW food bowl land is being sold off for development, and another chunk is being bought by foreign nations. See, for example, http://www.transitionsydney.org.au/tsarticle/debate-about-preserving-sydneys-food-bowl
or
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/foreign-farm-buyers-split-libs-and-nats/story-fn59niix-1225898725758

I for one do not want to live in a mini-Sydney.

housebound 10:32 am 09 Aug 10

These amendments look good if taken at face value, but the one thing you can almost guarantee given ACTPLA’s and Barr’s collective history is that there will be comething unpalatable they would prefer we didn’t find. The question will be whether the trade-off is worth it.

Gungahlin Al 9:37 am 09 Aug 10

As Andrew acknowledged when I talked with him a couple of weeks back, these two variations encompass passive solar design initiatives that I have been pestering him and ACTPLA about for almost four years now, so it is good to see them finally coming good on this.

Key aspects of TPV 303 not mentioned above are the “solar setback” provisions that work to guarantee a degree of winter solar access from new development to the north.

However, there is a heck of a lot to consider and review in these two variations, and the Community Councils are concerned that not enough time or workshopping has been allowed for in the schedule. TPV303 in particular overhauls the entire residential housing code and there is a very large potential for ‘devil in the detail’ that would take some time to walk through. The documentation provided doesn’t do the best job of making it easy to compare new against old.

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