HOW TO MAINTAIN WHAT IS LEFT OF SYDNEY: ON MARCH 23 OBLITERATE THE PROPONENTS OF BAD PLANNING

The unpopularity of deve-lopers has, it seems, finally penetrated their thick skin to come up with a piece like this …

“How to eliminate NIMBYs: let householders unite as developers” !!

What it appears to be proposing is ANTI-PLANNING, riding roughshod over people’s rights, and will result in a SHANGHAI’D SYDNEY

*”The Missing Middle” of rows of terraces, townhouses, blocks of flats (the Manor House), triplex, duplex, villas …. was introduced following the FIRB ruling allegedly cutting back on the 100% sell-off of “new homes” to foreign buyers to 50% … however that only applied to projects of 50 units plus!  (May 2017 Budget Reg.)

*Paving the way for developers to market “Medium-Density” 100% to foreign buyers …

#NSW Planning introduced legislation for “exempt and complying development” and rezoning where we live for higher density …

#THIS meant doing away with the D.A. and neighbours having no say about what goes up nextdoor!  Nor are they notified!

^  One must question the framing of a stacked question it would seem “in a recent Ipsos poll on urban density conducted for the Committee for Sydney  (a lobby group with vested interests in development) found that 47 per cent of respondents were supportive of more medium-density housing where they lived, versus only 25 per cent in favour of more high-density development nearby.” 

 

What the community are protesting about the “Missing Middle” are not the homes but there no longer is any “Planning” and the implementation by:

rezoning Sydney’s low-rise low density suburbs for higher density that can result in the demolition of whole streets,  suburbs …

– “exempt and complying development” allowing developers to build what suits them;  to date development of ugly dwellings with massive impact

-the loss of their community rights; no notification; no input; no say

-the loss of amenity (including privacy), neighbourhood character, urban bushlands;  all that they have paid for!!

-for “developers” to profit largely at the expense of the community; to sell 100% of “new homes” to foreign buyers with our Families locked out of the market

 

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CAAN Photo:  Row of townhouses under construction; block denuded; huge disruption to the street including no access to footpath; tradies trucks and cars parking out the street and surrounding streets; utter chaos and pollution for months

 

 

 

How to eliminate NIMBYs: let householders unite as developers

In Sydney, developers are about as popular as Chris Bowen at a retirees’ conference.

(CAAN:  Millionaire retiree investors; paying no tax and getting a tax rebate)

But the reality is that to get the sort of Sydney that most of us want, more of us might do better to join that happy throng – and become developers. Let me explain.

Last year, the state government released a housing policy colloquially referred to as The Missing Middle. It aims to fast-track the construction of low-rise, medium-density housing such as terraces in low-density suburbs.

The resistance to high-rise will require the growth of medium-density development, and that will require the support of residents in their own neighbourhoods.
The resistance to high-rise will require the growth of medium-density development, and that will require the support of residents in their own neighbourhoods.CREDIT:JAMES ALCOCK

*The policy seeks to provide a choice between the rampant growth in high-rise units mushrooming in centres close to transport, such as Homebush and St Leonards, and the acres of low-rise suburbia that surround them. Go to any high vantage point in Sydney, such as the Harbour Bridge or Gladesville Bridge, to see how Sydney’s future shape is rolling out.

(CAAN:  View our intro with * that explains what this means)

# Make no mistake, the current form of urban growth in Sydney, often overblown as the Manhattanisation of Sydney, is a deliberate policy of governments which have been unable to let the genie of a more moderate and dispersed form of urban renewal out of the bottle, for fear of upsetting the neighbours.

(CAAN: View our intro with # that explains what this means)

 

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CAAN Photo: Duplex that looks like a block of flats!  12 months in development with huge impact on the neighbourhood with excavation, many concrete pours, trucks blocking the street  ….
(CAAN:  All true as evidenced!)
Its release less than 12 months out from a state election probably didn’t help.
Many Sydney councils sought a moratorium on the introduction of controversial medium-density code.
Many Sydney councils sought a moratorium on the introduction of controversial medium-density code.CREDIT:WOLTER PEETERS

 

But why should we be interested in such a policy? Because it’s the form of densification that more people can live with, as well as providing a housing choice many of us might aspire to.

^A recent Ipsos poll on urban density conducted for the Committee for Sydney found that 47 per cent of respondents were supportive of more medium-density housing where they lived, versus only 25 per cent in favour of more high-density development nearby. That’s two to one voting in favour of medium-density over high-rise.

(CAAN:  View our response to this in the intro marked with ^)

The danger is that a piecemeal roll-out of the missing middle policy – where the street you live in undergoes incremental change; this site developed, the site next door not – will inflame exactly the sort of planning conflicts and neighbourhood disputes that will bring the policy down. If all politics is local, all town planning is particularly so.

The policy needs to be rolled out in an integrated way, whereby whole street blocks or precincts are master-planned for low-rise, medium-density housing and developed by residents banding together and becoming the developer.

In this way, important considerations such as overlooking, sun access and the need for extra open space can be properly planned for, with any “losers” – such as those having their block become a park – being compensated by the “winners”, who achieve redevelopment.

What better way to eliminate NIMBYism than having would-be objectors become the developer!

We have seen some limited examples of streets of residents becoming developers, most usually banding together to achieve rezoning of their properties for higher density housing near new railway stations. They then sell the rezoned land to property developers for a handsome profit.

But we need a game-changer approach and one that local councils, properly resourced, could facilitate by working with streets of willing residents. It won’t be easy but is one of the keys to implementing an important planning policy and perhaps turning on its head the notion of who is a developer and who is an objector.

Richard Pearson is a professional town planner. He is a former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Planning and was Administrator of Inner West Council