UDIA Presentation by Steve Crow

DRAFT Logan City Planning Scheme

In conjunction with Logan City Council, the Branch hosted more than 140 guests who were welcomed by Logan Mayor, Pam Parker.

UDIA (Qld) Board Member and local developer, Steve Harrison provided insight into the new Logan Greenfield development opportunities, while the Queensland Planning Manager of Arnold Development Consultants, Steve Crow explored the policy changes which will promote new residential opportunities and development for infill sites.

Credit: UDIA, news and publications, 1st April 2014

Steve Crow UDIA conference

Steve Crow speaks at UDIA (Qld) conference

The DRAFT Logan City Planning Scheme has had a long gestation.  Initial review processes that were underway on components of the operative 2006 Logan City Plan continued on that scheme and were expanded post – local Government amalgamation in 2008.

In 2008, land within the northern part of the former Beaudesert Shire and the area north of the Albert River were transferred to Logan City as part of the local government amalgamation process.  These areas carried with them the development control measures contained within the planning Schemes of the local governments who had previously administered these areas; namely Beaudesert Shire Council and its 2007 Planning Scheme Gold Coast City Council and its 2003 Scheme 2003 (which was further tweeked in 2009).

In short, no simple apple/apple comparison between respective policy positions between the old schemes has been done – this make it hard for the development community to easily compare like with like – or compare changes in potential development opportunity without doing a site specific development based comparison.

On top of this moving feast of subtly different development control measures has also been the State Government’s one-stop shop QPP – which the development industry has supported – but is still really waiting for the present to arrive!

It appears to me that the Council’s new DRAFT has earmarked certain things for attention:

  • Development density;
  • Height – in some areas – especially the landmark building concept – owners of those sites are waiting to see how the notation will affect the value – and the development potential of their properties;
  • Is BIG on local plans (areas and centres);
  • Fixes up policy intent and definition differences; and
  •  Rolls the PiP over – but I believe this has been reviewed?.

But, what does this focus really mean to the development industry – and in particular, to those contemplating development or redevelopment within existing urban areas?

DENSITY

We in the development industry love arguing about density.  If it’s not dense enough, how can we make it denser? If it is dense – but doesn’t look dense – can the Council live with that? and so on.

The DRAFT Scheme proposes a different approach to density – including matching density with lot size.

This change in approach appears to discourage multi-unit (townhouse) type development on all but former R-600 zoned allotments as the trigger for Impact Assessment is the matching 1 dwelling per minimum lot size requirement.

In the former R-600 zone – the minimum lot size reflects a decrease from 450m2 to 350m2 – with an average minimum lot size of 500m2.

However, most significant in terms of density is the use of “equivalent dwellings” (as opposed to simply ‘dwelling’) for the purposes of density calculations in areas of the scheme formerly zoned R-600 – and now identified as low density residential – suburban precinct.  The Scheme appears to have embraced this administrative definition in the low density residential zone – suburban precinct – as a means to encourage a mix of dwelling type.  For example, a 1 bedroom dwelling is classed under the administrative definition as .5 equivalent dwellings. Three bedroom units are classified as 1 equivalent dwelling.

This offers a potential development opportunity in the “new” Low density residential zone – suburban precinct – where the density expectation for multiple dwellings (townhouses) is expressed as 20 ‘equivalent dwellings’ per hectare.  However, this is tempered by PO1 and AO1 in the Multiple-dwelling code – which intends that at least 30% of dwellings have a different No of rooms than other dwellings – 1br=.5, 2br=.7, 3br=1 4+=1.5. (14+10+7?)

CARPARKING

Car parking rates have come under scrutiny in the DRAFT.  The new DRAFT rationalises car parking provision – typically using the current Logan Planning Scheme as a starting point.

For example: for Restaurant/Food & Drink outlets (outside centres) the required rate will be 1 space per 10m2 of GFA up to 400m2 GFA, thereafter 1 per 20m2 + 2 spaces per every 10m2 of GFA for an outdoor seating area. Currently there is a blanket 1 space per 10m2 GLA requirement – so there could potentially be a reduction.

I’m not quite sure why outdoor seating areas get special attention – as surely patrons either sit in or out – and the higher rate seems to me to potentially discourage al-fresco type dining in areas out of centre?

Within centres the rates have decreased noticeably! – (at least with respect to restaurant/Food and Drink outlets) from 1 space per 10m2 GLA (in the current LCC Scheme) and 6.7 spaces per 100m2 GFA in the former Gold Coast Scheme) to 1 space per 100m2 GFA.

For Multi-unit dwelling type activity the bedroom analysis has also seen a reduction come into play.

For example, I bedroom dwellings or small (under 75m2) units the rate has been reduced slightly from the generic 2 spaces per dwelling unit to 1.5 – meaning that if you have a small unit development of only two, 1 bedroom units, you will only need 3 spaces and not 5 (2 per unit and 1 visitor)! For 2 bedrooms and above, the rate remains at 2 spaces per unit (1 covered) – but shows a slightly relaxation on the issue of visitor spaces with a rate of .25 per unit.  This means that for a 3 bedroom, 4-unit development, the expectation is 9 spaces (4 of which are covered) – where currently the Scheme requires 10 spaces (4 being covered).  This relaxation on visitor parking would obviously be more significant on larger unit developments – but I question whether the relaxation really goes far enough.  Im a firm believer in the adage – build them and they will come.  There is nothing truer than this when it comes to car parking.

I personally think car parking is an area where the Council, like many other local governments continues to miss a real opportunity to make a change to the way development is seen to ‘contributes’ to motor vehicle generation, congestion and an increased carbon footprint.   Not only is it expensive to build car parks, they also ‘encourage’ continued reliance on private motor vehicle usage.  I acknowledge the reduced centre rate – but wonder whether the Council could go further in areas where accessibility to and choice of public transport offer viable transport options.

Dual Occupancy, Dual Occupancy (dual key) and Secondary Dwelling

I can see by the look on everyone’s face that you have all been looking forward to this one.  I’m confused – and I’m sure I won’t be the first – or the last to ask – WHAT THE?

Dual Occupancy – A single allotment containing two dwellings (either attached or detached) and for separate households (Mr & Mrs Smith in the front, Christine and her daughter Susan and pets Flixi,Toby and Fifi in the back).  Two titles possible.

Dual Occupancy (dual key) – A single allotment containing two dwellings (a primary dwelling house for Mr & Mrs Smith, with an attached but subordinate/secondary dwelling – of between 70-100m2 – typically for Aunty Sue) (attached by a common wall, share a driveway and are owned by Mr Smith on one title).

Secondary Dwelling – An allotment which contains a primary dwelling house (for the Smiths) but also contains a subordinate/secondary dwelling (also between 70-100m2) This may be occupied by the Smith’s overseas student friends.  In this case, the secondary dwelling may or may not be attached.  The secondary dwelling is still used in conjunction with the primary dwelling.

This topic had me confused from the start.  Just when I thought I understood the concept – essentially trying to limit the establishment of ‘attached granny flat’ style developments – where otherwise the QPP would allow them as of right, I would get confused again.

Perhaps it’s a naming issue?  But to me it just seems as if Council are trying to add a qualifier to an already defined use under QPP, with a view to restricting attached subordinate (or secondary dwellings).  If the issue is impact related – as it should be, then I think the topic could be better explained by having a discussion about the impacts that council are hoping to address by introducing this concept of Dual Occupancy (dual key) – which as far as I can ascertain, is only an attached secondary dwelling as defined by the QPP.  Basically I am confused – and I’m sure the Council will end up fielding numerous calls over the issue.

Perhaps this is one issue that we may like to discuss in greater detail via the panel?

Centres

I think the focus that Council has bought to bear on its nominated centres is going to be welcomed by the development community.  There is certainly a move away from form-based Codes in centre zones – introducing a greater degree of flexibility to make changes in use within tenancies and as a consequence, making  the whole issue of new shop fit-outs a lot easier.   But I think there is still a need to continue to be flexible about what type of activity is now envisaged in lively centres – and I use the 24 hour gym as a classic example.

Having applied for a number of these facilities myself recently – almost exclusively within existing centres – I am pleased to see that in the DRAFT these types of facilities will typically be Self-assessable – where no or only minor building work is proposed – which is typically the case.  This is considerably better than other SEQ Schemes, where such facilities (even within centres) would typically trigger Impact Assessment.  Worked Examples

Use Address 2006 DRAFT Changes
24hr Gym 30-34 Fitzgerald Ave Springwood Indoor Entertainment – CODE Indoor Sport & Rec-SELF if no bldg. work – or minorCODE otherwise Code-SelfReduced car parkingNo application orRisk Smart
3 story office 18 Dennis Road, Springwood Commercial Premises-SELF if Code compliantCODE otherwise OfficeSELF if no bldg. work or minorCODE otherwise Potentially easier for refits, for new and compliant with codes more difficultBetter car parking
Multi-unit dwelling 774-778 Wembley Road,  Browns Plains Multi-unit developmentCODE – where density =minimum site area for R600 Multiple dwellingCODE – if net density does not exceed 28.5 dwellings per ha Equivalent dwlg definition increases on-site dvpt opportunity based on bedroom mix & decreased parking