The ACT government has changed the zoning rules in the biggest shake up in the city's planning system since self-government. The changes will apply on all larger blocks across Canberra's suburbs, of which there are almost 45,000. The new rules would make it easier to build second dwellings in Canberra's older and more established areas.
A second dwelling up to 120 square metres would be allowed on any block in an RZ1 zone over 800 square metres, with rules to govern tree coverage and soft landscaping requirements.
Neighbours of these blocks would be able to have a say in the development application process.
Here is what some had to say.
South side neglect
Michael C writes: "Tuggeranong has 14,009 RZ1 blocks larger than 800 square metres". The draft District Planning Strategy for Tuggeranong had extremely limited investment or plans to provide additional social infrastructure for Tuggeranong, and the government projects the population of Tuggeranong to decline while planning to put an additional 500,000 people living in the north side. So it will be interesting to see if developers will actually build new dwellings on those 14,009 Rz1 blocks over 800 sqm.
Not a family friendly option
Peter T writes: Does 120 sqm include garaging and extra space to meet the needs of NCA livability standards. If so the units will be too small for families with children.
A drop in the bucket
J R writes: Telling me providing more houses isn't going to bring down housing prices relative to the counterfactual is like telling me pouring a bucket of water on my head will leave me drier than I was before.
Long live the backyard veggie garden
Trisha B writes: Does site planning include where shade may occur on your neighbour's block? We heard just this week about the ACT govt wants people to increase food production in their backyards. Can't enjoy or use your property if a two storey 120 m2 home is built practically on your fence line on your northern boundary, blocking your access to sunlight, especially in winter. The Mr Fluffy 2 storey duplex homes demonstrate this issue, unfortunately, so well!
Waiting on a good decision
Mary K writes: Finally. Good decision!
Put it in the bin
Alex T writes: This is a stop gap solution and possibly a great waste of time and effort. Effectively this is granny flats with separate titles. Nobody will invest in this. Terrible idea. After waiting for years to hear a sensible proposal on densification, we get this. Total garbage.
Good idea but where to park the Tesla?
Ian H writes: This has to be the most flagged planning rule change in ACT history - despite the pretend consultation process. The biggest impact of this change to RZ1 will not be a second dwelling built in the backyard because the existing house is in the way. The developments will be a knockdown/rebuilds with the existing house replaced by unaffordable 2-storey townhouses with basement car parking. Although no car parking is a possibility. Is this change to housing design rules another missed opportunity? Facing a declared climate emergency the new rules should require all housing built from today be carbon neutral and climate resilient. Can't wait to see if the new rules address our future and make a contribution to the planet.
Michael C writes: I look forward to seeing the detail on "tighter rules governing tree coverage, soft landscaping and site coverage". Experience with Mr Fluffy and Rz2 rules tree coverage, soft landscaping and site coverage has been dispiriting fence to fence concrete in some blocks, bulldozing of trees and vegetation and much of the draft planning changes aimed to limit the power of the community to require ACTPLA to actually follow their own rules or to add vagueness to past rules.
Goodbye leafy suburbs
Liliana C writes: These greedy, non innovative developers, trees, shrubs and anything resembling a garden will go. Just look around. More cars using the not quite to standard streets and community infrastructure. Overpriced sterile boxes. Nothing green or wildlife-like welcomed. Just top of the range cars. Goodbye leafy suburbs.
Room for adjustment?
Patrick S writes: Why not 700m2 blocks like Mr Fluffy? Why 120m2 max size for 2nd dwelling - if site coverage, deep root planting, plot ratios, solar envelopes, privacy etc is otherwise met, why not more flexibility?
You want busy? Move to Sydney
Kit H writes: Low population means everyone has to cough up more for services and infrastructure. Can't have cake and eat it too. If anyone wants the hustle and bustle they should be living in Sydney.
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