New Rules now apply for Medium Density Low Rise Developments in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.

Building & Construction Law, Property Development 22/10/2018 by Rebecca Wosman

This article explains what land is now suitable for medium density developments in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie under the new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code and the benefits of the Code for developers and existing landowners.

On 6 July 2018 the new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code came into effect. Significantly, under the Code land that was not capable of being redeveloped may now be suitable for dual occupancies, manor house or terrace developments.

The aim of the Code is to increase housing affordability by allowing the construction of smaller homes on smaller lots whilst maintaining amenities.

The Code also allows one (1) and two (2) storey dual occupancies, manor house and terrace developments to be approved and undertaken under a fast-tracked Complying Development approval.

Who Benefits?

Landowners and developers who thought their blocks were too narrow to be able to develop!

Where the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code now applies, a lot width (measured at the building line) of 12 meters for dual occupancies, 15 meters for manor houses and 18 meters for terraces only is required.

Developers will also benefit from a more efficient and time saving approval process as building works for these projects can be approved by a Private Certifier and will be able to be commenced sooner, meaning holding costs during the development period will be reduced.

What Land does the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code apply to?

The new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code is prescribed in Part 3B of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 and applies to all areas of New South Wales unless the relevant Council has requested a deferral.

The Code currently applies in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Council areas as well as Cessnock, Dungog Maitland, Muswellbrook, Port Stephens and Singleton.

Developers may take advantage of the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code if the subject land falls in one of the following zones and the relevant medium density development is permitted under the relevant Councils Local Environmental Plan (LEP):

  1. R1 General Residential,
  2. R2 Low Density Residential,
  3. R3 Medium Density Residential, or
  4. RU5 Village.

Newcastle City Council’s Local Environmental Plan

The Newcastle LEP provides that dual occupancies, terrace and manor house developments may be undertaken in areas zoned R2 and R3 in the Newcastle City Council area.

 Lake Macquarie City Council’s Local Environmental Plan

The Lake Macquarie LEP  provides that the following developments are permitted in the Lake Macquarie City Council area:

  • Dual occupancy developments areas zoned R1 and R2 and,
  • Terrace and manor house developments in areas zoned R1 and R3.

Development Types & Standards

The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code prescribes developments types and standards for permitted medium density developments, summarised as follows:

1.Dual Occupancies

A dual occupancy is two dwellings on one  lot of land but does not include a secondary dwelling. These two dwellings can be an attached (duplex )or detached (villas).

For dual occupancy developments where one dwelling is above the other see Manor Houses below.

Dual occupancies may be carried out where the Council’s Local Environmental Plan permits dual occupancies in the above zones.

The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code specifies a minimum lot size for a dual occupancy as the greater of 400m2 or the minimum area stated in the relevant Local Environmental Plan (see below).

The minimum lot width (measured at the building line) for dual occupancies is now 12m.

See the Development Standards Summary Table – Dual Occupancies published by NSW Department of Planning and Environment for more information.

2. Terraces

Terraces are multi-dwelling houses where all dwellings are attached and face, and are generally aligned, along one or more public roads.

Terrace developments may be carried out where the Council’s Local Environmental Plan permit multi dwelling housing in the permitted zones.

The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code specifies a minimum lot size for terraces as the greater of 600m2 or the minimum area stated in the relevant Local Environmental Plan (see below).

The minimum lot width (measured at the building line) for terraces is 18m, with each terrace having a minimum length of 6m.

See the Development Standards Summary Table – Terraces published by NSW Department of Planning and Environment for more information.

3. Manor Houses

A manor house is a residential flat building containing three (3) or four (4) dwellings, where:

  • each dwelling is attached to another dwelling by a common wall or floor, and
  • at least one (1) dwelling is partially or wholly located above another dwelling, and
  • the building contains no more than two (2) storeys (excluding any basement).

Manor house developments may be carried out where the Council’s Local Environmental Plan permits either multi dwelling housing or residential flat buildings in the permitted zones.

The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code specifies a minimum lot size for a manor houses as the greater of 600m2 or the minimum area stated in the Local Environmental Plan (see below).

The minimum lot width (measured at the building line) for a manor house is 15m.

See the Development Standards Summary Table – Manor Houses published by NSW Department of Planning and Environment for more information. This Summary also includes information about dual occupancy developments where one dwelling is above the other.

The NSW Government Planning Portal provides planning information in relation to properties in NSW including the minimum lot sizes required for these developments for particular Local Council areas. Planning NSW has also helpfully released a comprehensive Design Guide to assist developers to navigate the Code.

Development Opportunity

To discuss a development opportunity under the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code with one of our Property Lawyers call 1300 553 343 or Contact Us via our website.

Disclaimer: This article contains general information only and does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Your should obtain specific legal advice on any matters of interest arising from this article.

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