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Expert strata, facilities & building management services

Is Mr Fluffy planning variation worth a Backyard Bonus?

By Greg Cornwell - 29 December 2015 17

facebook mr fluffy demolition

Maybe the answer to DV 343, which is causing angst among Mr Fluffy owners and their neighbours, lies in a Backyard Bonus or BYB. Readers will recall the ACT government is allowing dual occupancy building on established residential blocks cleared due to asbestos contamination under this planning variation. It’s a nice little earner for ACT treasury.

The Backyard Bonus was raised in the magazine “Policy” (spring edition 2010) and originally was intended to compensate people who were individually disadvantaged but provided an overall benefit to society. The example given was a new motorway outside your back fence. Unquestionably such a development is of benefit to perhaps thousands of commuters but leaves you with noise, fumes and loss of property value.

While it is difficult to see how a dual occupancy next door could be compensatable, consider what currently happens when a developer buys up and demolishes a property to erect several units. A process must be followed, neighbours consulted, appeals allowed. Although some slip through, such a land use change is not a “given”. However what happens when an ACT government approves dual occupancies in advance through DV 343?

Granted there is no overall benefit to society but should that deny a neighbour compensation for a decision in which they had no opportunity to have a say?

They built or purchased their home in a now established suburb where it probably conformed to the then architectural style etc. Now they find a dual occupancy next door which due to a smaller plot ratio being allowed is perhaps of two storeys, cutting out the sunlight. Do they have legal recourse?

Other than the compulsory acquisition of rural land in a planned city like Canberra the Mr Fluffy problem is something we have not faced before. Certainly it needs to be addressed, however our local problem is compounded because unlike elsewhere in Australia we do not own our land: strictly speaking an ACT government can do as it wishes.

Given these legislative powers people naturally are concerned the character of their street could be dramatically changed and while nobody expects an identical residence to be built to that demolished the style of those houses in our newer Gungahlin and Molonglo developments are not welcome either in many older areas.

The ACT government should clarify its intentions with DV 343 otherwise a compensation claim through a Backyard Bonus might still be foreseeable.

What’s Your opinion?


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17 Responses to
Is Mr Fluffy planning variation worth a Backyard Bonus?
1
dungfungus 6:50 pm
29 Dec 15
#

It would be excusable if the government was going to apply the BYB dual occupancy windfall to something tangible that would benefit our society but with unfunded liabilities of almost $4 billion dollars and another $1.5 billion for the “light fail” they will soak us ratepayers for all they can squeeze out of us.
Not that anyone in this town seems to care.

2
miz 10:12 am
30 Dec 15
#

I think the fact that the ACT Govt didn’t even consider giving these unfortunate Fluffy owners the option to stay on their own blocks says it all about this government, really. Where is the compassion for our own? I only see greed and avarice.
Unfortunately it is just another example of a short sighted, selfish agreement (this time made with the feds) brokered by Ms Gallagher. She should have taken the matter to Court – we were never going to get a fair deal while Canberra hater Mr Abetz had anything to do with it.
Given that cr$p deal, I’d far rather help these people properly (just as we helped the victims of the bushfires) than pay through the nose for the divisive, inequitable and unnecessary pet rail project being foisted on us.

3
HenryBG 10:34 am
30 Dec 15
#

dungfungus said :

It would be excusable if the government was going to apply the BYB dual occupancy windfall to something tangible that would benefit our society but with unfunded liabilities of almost $4 billion dollars and another $1.5 billion for the “light fail” they will soak us ratepayers for all they can squeeze out of us.
Not that anyone in this town seems to care.

We will care once our rates have tripled in about 5 years’ time.

4
Berran 1:34 pm
30 Dec 15
#

I bought my first home a couple of years ago and shortly after discovered that the neighbouring house is a Mr Fluffy. I wouldn’t be as concerned as I am if it wasn’t on the NNW boundary, to which my house is very close, and the particular slope of the land.

Please correct me if I’m wrong – my understanding of DV 343 is that there are two changes affecting RZ1 Fluffy blocks:

– Blocks over 700sqm can have dual occupancies rather than 800sqm (which doesn’t affect my neighbouring block since it is over 800sqm anyway), and
– Dual occupancies can be strata titled (sold separately), making the blocks more attractive to developers. The government will not be doing the subdivisions.

Additionally for my neighbouring block, dual occupancies where only one has street frontage (ie most normal non-corner blocks) are still restricted to 35% plot ratio and single storey. Can anyone confirm this or correct my understanding?

5
rommeldog56 6:33 pm
30 Dec 15
#

dungfungus said :

It would be excusable if the government was going to apply the BYB dual occupancy windfall to something tangible that would benefit our society but with unfunded liabilities of almost $4 billion dollars and another $1.5 billion for the “light fail” they will soak us ratepayers for all they can squeeze out of us.
Not that anyone in this town seems to care.

Agree with u about Ratepayers in the ACT no caring (or being far too well paid ?) about the continual financial squeezing by the ACT Labor/Greens Govt, though this is strictly speaking not the ACT Gov’t I suppose – today I got my ACTEWAGL electricity bill. Its been slightly redesigned – nice.

However, there was an accompanying advice that payment of electricity & gas bills by credit card (as so many people do over the internet) will from 1/1/16, be subject to a now be subject to a .55% (GST exclusive !) “credit card processing fee”.

Huh ? I thought payment by credit card over the Internet was very efficient for the receiver. I can spend $10 on my credit card at my local shop without incurring any such additional fee.

Just another financial gouge of ACT Ratepayers – but will they care ??? I think not. Looked at in isolation, its not much. Looked at as part of the rapidly increasing rates and charges for living in the ACT, it is. As I recall, the privitised ACTEWAGL pays a dividend to the ACT Gov’t ?

Happy new year to ACTEWAGL customers !

6
rubaiyat 9:46 am
31 Dec 15
#

Dual Occupancy or MacMansion?

What’s the difference?

The people who used Mr Fluffy’s services thought they were getting a “cheap” solution and they were right, but cheap in the wrong sense and coming back to bite them, as bad, short sighted uninformed thinking has a habit of doing.

The usual posters are having their both ways shot at the ACT Government for both not doing something and then when it does for doing something. The resumption and demolition of the asbestos affected sites is not cheap and the Government has come up with a way of recouping some if the money.

The owners should be grateful they are not having to pay to solve the problem themselves, especially if they created the mess.

7
rubaiyat 9:48 am
31 Dec 15
#

rommeldog56 said :

I thought payment by credit card over the Internet was very efficient for the receiver. I can spend $10 on my credit card at my local shop without incurring any such additional fee.

You are paying, it is in the bill, but apparently prefer not to be told.

8
dungfungus 10:17 am
31 Dec 15
#

rommeldog56 said :

dungfungus said :

It would be excusable if the government was going to apply the BYB dual occupancy windfall to something tangible that would benefit our society but with unfunded liabilities of almost $4 billion dollars and another $1.5 billion for the “light fail” they will soak us ratepayers for all they can squeeze out of us.
Not that anyone in this town seems to care.

Agree with u about Ratepayers in the ACT no caring (or being far too well paid ?) about the continual financial squeezing by the ACT Labor/Greens Govt, though this is strictly speaking not the ACT Gov’t I suppose – today I got my ACTEWAGL electricity bill. Its been slightly redesigned – nice.

However, there was an accompanying advice that payment of electricity & gas bills by credit card (as so many people do over the internet) will from 1/1/16, be subject to a now be subject to a .55% (GST exclusive !) “credit card processing fee”.

Huh ?

I thought payment by credit card over the Internet was very efficient for the receiver. I can spend $10 on my credit card at my local shop without incurring any such additional fee.

Just another financial gouge of ACT Ratepayers – but will they care ???

I think not.

Looked at in isolation, its not much. Looked at as part of the rapidly increasing rates and charges for living in the ACT, it is.

As I recall, the privitised ACTEWAGL pays a dividend to the ACT Gov’t ?

Happy new year to ACTEWAGL customers !

There is some relief in sight.
The CT reported today that the basket-baller Lauren Jackson they were part sponsoring (ACT government is one of the other part sponsors) has been “released from her contract”.
I think that means she has been sacked.
This is hopefully the last high profile multi-million dollar sponsorship deal that ActewAGL and the ACT government get involved in.

9
JC 11:15 am
31 Dec 15
#

rommeldog56 said :

dungfungus said :

It would be excusable if the government was going to apply the BYB dual occupancy windfall to something tangible that would benefit our society but with unfunded liabilities of almost $4 billion dollars and another $1.5 billion for the “light fail” they will soak us ratepayers for all they can squeeze out of us.
Not that anyone in this town seems to care.

Agree with u about Ratepayers in the ACT no caring (or being far too well paid ?) about the continual financial squeezing by the ACT Labor/Greens Govt, though this is strictly speaking not the ACT Gov’t I suppose – today I got my ACTEWAGL electricity bill. Its been slightly redesigned – nice.

However, there was an accompanying advice that payment of electricity & gas bills by credit card (as so many people do over the internet) will from 1/1/16, be subject to a now be subject to a .55% (GST exclusive !) “credit card processing fee”.

Huh ?

I thought payment by credit card over the Internet was very efficient for the receiver. I can spend $10 on my credit card at my local shop without incurring any such additional fee.

Just another financial gouge of ACT Ratepayers – but will they care ???

I think not.

Looked at in isolation, its not much. Looked at as part of the rapidly increasing rates and charges for living in the ACT, it is.

As I recall, the privitised ACTEWAGL pays a dividend to the ACT Gov’t ?

Happy new year to ACTEWAGL customers !

Firstly not making excuses here because think all these fees and the like for paying your bill is a load of cr$p, the costs should, like at the shop be factored into the price.

But the reason utility companies they have them on credit card transactions is because they want to guide you towards direct debit. Not because it is any cheaper for them, but because there is less chance of late payments and the like.

One of the worst offenders is Optus. I tried to pay my old mums bill the other day for her and there was not one way except for direct debit that didn’t incur a fee for payment. Even paying over the counter at Aus Post they would whack another dollar or two on the next bill.

10
gooterz 6:51 pm
31 Dec 15
#

Would be nice if they at least built the back property with an underground level. such that around half wasn’t visible.

Its it a matter of land why not release more rather than trying to squeeze the current blocks. Surely you’d make more in rates.

Or is this just an excuse to charge those with standard block sizes a premium?

Land isn’t as limited in the ACT as decent governance.

11
rommeldog56 4:50 pm
01 Jan 16
#

rubaiyat said :

You are paying, it is in the bill, but apparently prefer not to be told.

“….but apparently prefer not to be told.” ? Once again you assume what others think

Of course business overheads are reflected in the price charged – its not a matterr of preferring not to be told at all. Is ACTEWAGL going to tell customers what they pay the ACT Gov’t in Annual Rates ? What dividend they pay to the ACT Gov’t, etc. Of course not.

ACTEWAGL have saved megabucks by accepting payment by credit card – especially when its automated over the Internet eg. no cash handling or receipt points, fewer staff, etc.

Now this additional gouge on customers.

12
rubaiyat 9:54 pm
01 Jan 16
#

gooterz said :

Would be nice if they at least built the back property with an underground level. such that around half wasn’t visible.

Its it a matter of land why not release more rather than trying to squeeze the current blocks. Surely you’d make more in rates.

Or is this just an excuse to charge those with standard block sizes a premium?

Land isn’t as limited in the ACT as decent governance.

Yes they should excavate, especially for garaging, but excavation and the waterproofing of the underground structure is very expensive.

As is developing more and more land, further and further out requiring more infrastructure, waste and pollution whilst stuffing up what remains of our environment and forcing people to spend ridiculous amounts of their lives commuting.

I gather the last two are really not a concern of yours, but like the Mr Fluffy thoughtlessness it will come back and bite us, BIG time!

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2016/01/01/temperatures-spike-almost-50-degrees-in-north-pole.html

I quoted Fox News because I assume you will just ignore it if it comes from anyone else more rational.

13
Maya123 11:13 am
02 Jan 16
#

gooterz said :

Would be nice if they at least built the back property with an underground level. such that around half wasn’t visible.

Its it a matter of land why not release more rather than trying to squeeze the current blocks. Surely you’d make more in rates.

Or is this just an excuse to charge those with standard block sizes a premium?

Land isn’t as limited in the ACT as decent governance.

No, why do we need farm land and nature parks! You are absolutely right. Lets build houses on it. I’m sure when it’s all built out we can import our food from China. Spoken like a true city slicker!

14
Maya123 11:15 am
02 Jan 16
#

JC said :

rommeldog56 said :

dungfungus said :

It would be excusable if the government was going to apply the BYB dual occupancy windfall to something tangible that would benefit our society but with unfunded liabilities of almost $4 billion dollars and another $1.5 billion for the “light fail” they will soak us ratepayers for all they can squeeze out of us.
Not that anyone in this town seems to care.

Agree with u about Ratepayers in the ACT no caring (or being far too well paid ?) about the continual financial squeezing by the ACT Labor/Greens Govt, though this is strictly speaking not the ACT Gov’t I suppose – today I got my ACTEWAGL electricity bill. Its been slightly redesigned – nice.

However, there was an accompanying advice that payment of electricity & gas bills by credit card (as so many people do over the internet) will from 1/1/16, be subject to a now be subject to a .55% (GST exclusive !) “credit card processing fee”.

Huh ?

I thought payment by credit card over the Internet was very efficient for the receiver. I can spend $10 on my credit card at my local shop without incurring any such additional fee.

Just another financial gouge of ACT Ratepayers – but will they care ???

I think not.

Looked at in isolation, its not much. Looked at as part of the rapidly increasing rates and charges for living in the ACT, it is.

As I recall, the privitised ACTEWAGL pays a dividend to the ACT Gov’t ?

Happy new year to ACTEWAGL customers !

Firstly not making excuses here because think all these fees and the like for paying your bill is a load of cr$p, the costs should, like at the shop be factored into the price.

But the reason utility companies they have them on credit card transactions is because they want to guide you towards direct debit. Not because it is any cheaper for them, but because there is less chance of late payments and the like.

One of the worst offenders is Optus. I tried to pay my old mums bill the other day for her and there was not one way except for direct debit that didn’t incur a fee for payment. Even paying over the counter at Aus Post they would whack another dollar or two on the next bill.

The silly thing is that with credit card some of us pay our bills the day (or day after) it arrives, but now we have direct debit they must wait a month for payment.

15
justin heywood 4:22 pm
02 Jan 16
#

rubaiyat said :

The people who used Mr Fluffy’s services thought they were getting a “cheap” solution and they were right, but cheap in the wrong sense and coming back to bite them, as bad, short sighted uninformed thinking has a habit of doing.

…The owners should be grateful they are not having to pay to solve the problem themselves, especially if they created the mess.

Perhaps a moment’s thought would be advisable before launching another tirade against all those who aren’t….well aren’t you.

Mr Fluffy was around in the 60s and 70s. Many (perhaps most) of the people living in Mr Fluffy houses didn’t actually have it installed it themselves.

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