Council listens to housing density feedback

Future guidelines around the design and location of medium density housing across the Toowoomba Region are a step closer following Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) approval of draft amendments to the Toowoomba Region Planning Scheme.

Future guidelines around the design and location of medium density housing across the Toowoomba Region are a step closer following Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) approval of draft amendments to the Toowoomba Region Planning Scheme.

The Planning and Development Committee recommendation was approved at today’s May Ordinary meeting of Council.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said the latest move followed an exhaustive review of medium density housing which resulted in residents lodging more than 450 submissions.

“Following a review of these submissions, Council is in a position to start the formal process to amend the planning scheme,” Mayor Antonio said.

“This process will take about 18 months and will involve a further opportunity for the community to review the plan and make additional comments.

“Council is keen for residents to have input into how their neighbourhoods will evolve and understands how important individual character and identity are to proud residents.

“The changes won’t come into effect until this process has been completed, however Council is in discussions with the state government about introducing proposed changes relating to dual occupancy earlier.”

Mayor Antonio said Council last year undertook a comprehensive review into where medium density housing would and would not be best suited and more stringent details around good design.

“Our desirable liveability is one of our greatest strengths and Council has listened to the community about their fervent wishes for how to preserve and enhance the best aspects of our neighbourhoods,” Mayor Antonio said.

“Council is well aware of community concerns around the issue and has used these comments to frame better policy guidelines.”

TRC Planning and Development Committee chair Cr Chris Tait said Council had responded to community feedback by devising a plan that clearly outlined changes to design requirements.

Cr Tait said the revised plan would ensure new developments were more attractive places in which to live, blended better with the streetscape and had appropriate privacy features.

“Council has considered all of the issues raised in submissions and has decided to make some changes to the proposal,” Cr Tait said.

“It is preferable for this style of development to be located in areas with easy access to shopping, services, employment and high quality parks.”

Cr Tait said the changes included expanding the proposed areas where medium density development would be encouraged to include:
• land within walking distance of the Toowoomba city centre,
• land within walking distance of seven local centres,
• land within a central ‘transport corridor’,
• all residential areas within Clifton, Millmerran and Pittsworth,
• all residential areas within 800m of the town centres of Oakey, Crows Nest and Highfields (the previous plan was based on a 400m area).

Cr Tait said Council had made changes to offer more differentiation to towns across the region and not just apply a one-size-fits-all solution.

Changes also include:

• allowing dual occupancy (duplex) development without approval in all residential areas as long as the new design requirements are met and limitations on how many are located in each street aren’t exceeded
• removing land on the Toowoomba escarpment from a proposed area where medium density development would be encouraged, and
• increasing the number of visitor parking spaces required in new development.

Background: For the review, medium density development includes:
• Dual occupancy (two dwellings on a lot),
• Multiple dwellings (three or more dwellings on a lot),
• Small lots (<450m²),
• Dwellings on small lots, and
• Hatchet lots

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