Land Lease Communities - A New Lease on Life
Future Directions Committee
Land lease communities have been popular interstate for many years. They are set to become equally popular in South Australia, providing housing choice for our aging community.
A land lease community is where residents purchase the dwelling but lease the land it sits on. This means that a single entity owns all of the land and typically provides and maintains common facilities such as a community centre, shared open space and roads etc. There are tight design and maintenance controls ensuring the ongoing attractiveness and liveability of these communities.
The Planning & Design Code (the Code) establishes an excellent new planning framework in South Australia. Some simple amendments to better facilitate land lease communities are warranted.
Firstly, under the new Planning & Design Code (the Code), land lease communities are best defined as a "Residential Park".
The Code includes a Residential Park Zone where residential parks are anticipated. Many other zones do not expressly anticipate this kind of development. We think they should.
Secondly, land lease communities can contain hundreds of homes that take years to deliver. Developers reasonably want to provide a range of homes for each lot type that are interchangeable for changing market preferences. The existing Code requires a fresh Development Application for each dwelling change.
Within the Master Planned Neighbourhood Zone, for example, "Building Envelope Plans" plans can be obtained for “Detached Dwellings”. This provides flexibility for individual dwelling designs to vary during the sales process without the need for additional planning assessment.
This approach should be applied to residential parks in the same Zone.
A simple amendment to the Code which adds “Residential Parks” to the list of “Accepted Development” in residential-type zones (subject to a Building Envelope Plan), would allow for a more streamlined delivery of land lease communities.
Amending the Code to facilitate land lease communities is a simple way of expanding housing choice in South Australia. It will also better position us to compete with other States in this emerging retirement living sub-class.