Rezoning in NSW giving way to developers

Posted on February 7, 2012

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When this article was posted on The Age a week or so ago I was stunned at what I was reading.

The scenario is this. NSW needs 25,000 homes built a year. At the moment, only 17,000 odd are being built. If this were to continue, prices will no doubt inflate due to a shortage.

So how can we solve this? Well, the NSW state government has gone straight to developers to nominate sites  that they want rezoned. And they said they will bypass local councils to make this happen.

What?

Yes. As Brad Hazzard has put it:

”The desirable course is to work with councils, but at the end of the day the state government and I, as Planning Minister, have the capacity to rezone without their concurrence,” he said.

This is a three pronged situation with a Government who is pressured to increase the amount of houses built to keep prices under check, local councils who are largely not communicated to and developers who can’t wait to get developing. Many of the 18 councils affected are unaware of the process.

Les McMahon who is the general manager of Wollondilly Shire Council has said that developers have nominated ten sites for rezoning. Only three of them are part of the council’s new growth strategy. While he understood that more housing is needed, his concern was that with the extra residential capacity comes the need for more jobs.

Enter Stephen Albin, the chief executive of a developer lobby group, the Urban Development Institute of Australia. Pleased with the developments, he has said this is, “a victory for common sense”. He went on to say:

”Rather than drafting wish-lists and plans that are not necessarily achievable, they have gone straight to developers, and the land owners have responded in droves,” he said.

”This will be a stimulus, it will stimulate housing in the short term and fix up the massive supply problems in NSW for the last decade or so.”

While it does sound all good, it is very important for the proper infrastructure to be in place. Roads, public transport and jobs are vital to any new community.

The comments on The Age article are quite insightful. Here are some of the most insightful:

“Oh no…more seas of houses on the fringe….and more of the car dependence, fast food joints and obesity that goes with it. When will successive governments learn what the Europeans have known for generations…build mixed-use housing allowing for provision of public transport, walkability and better communities…not to mention vitality! Bring on urban consolidation to make our cities vibrant – no more houses in depressing estates on the fringe!”

“Why do we have to have continual growth? Cant we stablise our population to preserve our lifestyle and future. I dont like the idea of a big Australia with 35million + people.”

“Going by the comments, you would think everyone worked in the city… this is far from reality. Of those that do, let them gravitate to high density. Many of us don’t. So leave us alone and let us have freedom to choose our housing requirements!”

“There are around 200,000 empty investment houses in Sydney. Fix that issue and there will be a whole lot of housing available on the market”

The Age Source

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