Page 3577 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 27 October 2015

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As Caroline Le Couteur said in her evidence:

… the current situation with plot ratios means that what people are doing when houses are redeveloped is they are being turned into much bigger McMansions and it is not really serving anybody. It is just that that is the way our system has been set up to do things.

It was clear that there was some confusion around the draft variation, however, and how it differed to the current rules. Therefore, the committee made a unanimously agreed recommendation that where a draft variation to the territory plan proposes to amend a code, the existing sections of the code be reproduced alongside the proposed amendment to facilitate public understanding of the draft variation.

It became clear throughout the inquiry that there is a wider issue that needs to be considered, that is, urban intensification in some of our more established suburbs. Looking at the territory plan, it is clear that the vast majority of residential land is RZ1, but there is considerable variation within RZ1 in terms of block size and proximity to amenities.

Population density in Canberra is low, and this can lead to sustainability issues for government services, public transport and infrastructure. The committee formed the view that current policy settings are not sufficient to facilitate the kind of medium-density development that Canberra needs. To this end, the committee recommended that the ACT government review its planning framework in order to facilitate the supply of a much broader range of housing types to meet community desires and lay out a public consultation plan to discuss these proposals.

The committee also heard from a range of witnesses about the issue of unit titling. As demand for medium-density housing increases, so too does the need for fewer restrictions on titling. To that end, the committee recommended that the ACT government consider titling options as part of any examination to facilitate increased supply of medium-density housing.

It was good for the committee to hear from a number of Mr Fluffy home owners about how DV 343 affects them. Many home owners raised questions about amenity and the character of their suburbs, believing that the changes would benefit only developers. They said that because most home owners want to build a single dwelling they would have to pay a higher buyback price. There was a belief that many would be prevented from repurchasing their blocks. Other evidence made this unclear until the scheme has had the opportunity to roll out in our community and in the market.

While many contributors disagreed with the draft variation, many of these objections were not expressly towards the changes proposed by DV 343 but more broadly at the anticipated changes as a whole to suburbs affected as a result of having Mr Fluffy homes located in them. To help address this issue, the committee recommended the ACT government consider a mechanism to engage in a community conversation with particularly affected neighbourhoods about community recovery and redevelopment. In total the committee made four recommendations.

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