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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1082 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

I would urge members interested in protecting the garden city and including people in the planning process to support this motion and prevent these misconceived policies from taking effect tomorrow.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (8.06): Let us look at some of the facts surrounding ACTCode. Mr Corbell has made a number of statements in the media recently in relation to it. They need to be addressed in turn. Firstly, the current Territory Plan policies, introduced by Labor, are supported by additional guidelines known as "Draft Guidelines for Multiunit Redevelopment including Dual Occupancy in Residential". These are commonly referred to as the Lansdown guidelines. These guidelines introduced the 35 per cent plot ratio provision for redevelopments for multiunit housing and dual occupancy within all residential areas except those with a B1 overlay, which are generally inner North Canberra and now known as B11 and B12.

This document was only ever a guideline and does not have any statutory force. Let me repeat that. It does have any statutory force. The inclusion of the 35 per cent plot ratio control in draft variation 125 gives it a clear legal status and removes any uncertainty about the maximum permissible plot ratio level for residential areas unless an approved section master plan is in place.

The revised residential policies require a master plan to be prepared before a redevelopment for multiunit housing other than dual occupancies can be approved. The exceptions are where a development is similar to that on adjoining blocks and has a minimal impact on those blocks. Such developments cannot exceed the 35 per cent plot ratio. Also, no master plan will be required where a block is greater than 1,200 square metres and located approximately 250 metres or less from a commercial centre-for example, group or local centres. The latter policy is to encourage housing around local and group shopping centres in particular.

Where an approved section master plan is in place, the policies state that the maximum plot ratio is 50 per cent. This is based on the premise that a plot ratio of 50 per cent is reasonable where it is in the context of an integrated plan that has been negotiated with the community. Plot ratio is only one of several control mechanisms that determine the amount of development that can occur on a site. In particular, site cover and open space provisions also apply. Element 5.6, private open space, introduces a requirement that 40 per cent of any dual occupancy site that is over 420 square metres is to be utilised for private open space. Private open space may include balconies, terraces and decks. There is currently no plot ratio for single housing in the Territory Plan. This provision remains unchanged.

Mr Corbell referred to escape clauses. The Territory Plan will define a number of clear rules such as the plot ratios and setbacks. Alongside of that framework, ACTCode is a performance-based code that is focused on the purpose of controls rather than specifying prescriptive rules. This approach provides opportunities for innovation whilst maintaining quality developmental outcomes. Flexibility is a fundamental feature of performance-based codes. All developments are to be assessed against the intent and the criteria in the code.

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