NSW Planning Updates

The NSW Government has made amendments to SEPP 70, Affordable Rental Housing SEPP and the Seniors Housing SEPP prior to going into caretaker period ahead of the March 23rd election. All amendments have an immediate commencement date.

The amendments are as follows:

1. SEPP 70 Affordable Housing (Revised Schemes) has been expanded to include all councils

In February 2019, SEPP 70 was further expanded to include all councils across NSW. The amendment removes the administrative step of entering a LGA into SEPP 70, thereby expediting councils’ ability to investigate and develop an affordable housing contributions scheme. It does so by entering all LGAs into SEPP 70, therefore meeting the Act’s requirements of a council being named in a SEPP.

The next step in the process (for those councils wishing to collect contributions) will be for those councils to prepare affordable housing contribution schemes and amend their local environmental plans to reference the schemes. It is optional for a council to develop an affordable housing contribution scheme.

Also released is a guideline for developing an affordable housing contribution scheme and a Ministerial Direction relating to planning agreements.

The department issued an Explanation of Intended Effect for the amendment was exhibited for public comment between 30 November 2018 to 19 December 2018.

2. A new development standard for boarding houses in low density residential areas

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 (ARHSEPP) has been amended so boarding houses are limited to 12 boarding rooms per site within the R2 Low Density Residential zone in response to council concerns about the scale and built form of boarding houses in certain parts of Sydney.

The Department has said the changes will help manage impacts on neighbouring properties such as overlooking, overshadowing and car parking.

The Department issued an Explanation of Intended Effect for the amendment which was exhibited for public comment between 28 November 2018 to 19 December 2018.

Further information on the above two amendments can be found here.

3. Amendment to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) (Seniors Housing SEPP)

The Minister has made changes to the Seniors Housing SEPP so that it will not apply in Heritage Conservation Areas in Greater Sydney until 1 July 2020.

This temporary change will give councils time to ensure seniors housing provisions align with their local strategic plans which are currently under review.

Once councils have completed their strategic planning including community consultation, they will be able to choose whether the Seniors Housing SEPP should apply in heritage conservation areas within their local government area.

The Department advises that councils who wish to continue to develop seniors housing in Heritage Conservation Areas before July 2020 will be supported to do so, through further amendment to the Seniors Housing SEPP.

Existing permissibility under the Seniors Housing SEPP will continue to apply if development applications and Site Compatibility Certificates (SCC) have been lodged prior

to the amendment being made, or an SCC has been issued but not yet acted upon

prior to the amendment being made.

The Government has stated this temporary amendment has been made to this SEPP to balance the demand for seniors housing with the need to protect local character.

Further information is on the Planning website.

The Property Council will continue to advocate to the NSW Government on these issues.