The new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code and Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide have been released allowing more low rise medium density houses to be built in NSW, thus providing greater housing choice and affordability, while improving design quality.

The Code allows for one and two storey medium density homes in a well-designed and compact form. Essentially this means more affordable houses (rather than units) on smaller lots yet with the amenities of a single dwelling and ability to cater for larger households. 

How will the new code work?

The new Code will come into effect from 6 July 2018 and will be included in the State Policy approval of complying development such as dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces.

Developments under the code may also be fast tracked as a Complying Development if the application complies with all of the relevant requirements in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008  (the State Policy). Approval by council or an accredited certifier can be provided within 20 days.

Complying low rise medium density housing will only be permitted in R1, R2, R3 and RU5 zones where councils already allow it under their Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

Exclusions for where complying development cannot be carried out under the State Policy will continue to apply. For example, complying development cannot be carried out in:

  • state or locally listed heritage items and heritage conservation areas

  • land reserved for public purposes

  • environmentally sensitive areas and areas excluded by Councils based on local circumstances.

Requirements

The Code establishes the controls for each development type in the form of development standards that a proposal must meet to be assessed as complying development. This includes a two-storey building height limit which ensures the size and scale of a complying development is low rise and will easily fit into existing neighbourhood streetscape.

In terms of minimum lot size requirements under the relevant council LEP the following have been established:

  • for a dual occupancy, the size of the lot being developed must meet the minimum lot size requirement to build a dual occupancy under the relevant council LEP. If the LEP does not specify a minimum lot size, then the Code applies a minimum 400sqm lot size

  • for manor houses, a minimum 600sqm lot size requirement applies

  • for terraces, the size of the lot being developed must meet the minimum lot size requirements to build multi dwelling housing under the relevant council LEP. If the LEP does not specify a minimum lot size, then the Code applies a minimum 600sqm lot size.

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