Medium Density in the Shoalhaven

by Gabe

We are all well aware that there is a dire need for housing that is affordable and flexible.

Shoalhaven City Council have responded by amending the Medium Density Chapters of their Development Control Plan (DCP). The revisions apply to all multi-residential developments (apart from single dwellings) and the aim is to streamline the supply of new dwellings. The development controls are currently spread over several documents and the revised Chapter includes use of clear tables outlining specific requirements. The combined document incorporates standards from the NSW Government’s Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code and Design Code (refer to our recent blog).

A key change is an increase in the permissible floor area, doubling from 35% of the site area up to 70%, depending on the type of development. The trade-off for the extra floor area are various controls to achieve better design quality. In particular, landscaping will require deep soil zones for larger trees, communal open space and ‘formal landscaping’ with fixed edging that is densely planted.

Several other revisions, including minimum internal areas for apartments and an increase in private open space areas, aim to encourage more liveable residential developments. There is also the introduction of Universal Design which includes a requirement for adaptable units in all medium density developments to meet a gold standard in the Liveable Housing Design Guidelines.

Policy changes often carry unintended consequences and developers may see an increase in building costs to achieve the higher standard of development further challenging affordability. DCPs are meant to be guidelines however the interpretation is dependent on the skills available to Councils assessing Development Applications.  Edmiston Jones’ in-house expertise in landscape architecture and accessible design allows us to design to the evolving codes and standards for residential developments giving the best chance for a speedy approval.

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