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In a pivotal move for New South Wales’ housing policy, the Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment (DPIE) has today announced the finalisation of new planning controls under an amendment to the Housing State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) for 18 Transport Oriented Development (TOD) precincts. These precincts, strategically located across 7 in Sydney and 11 in regional NSW, are central to the ‘Tier 2 or Part 2’ TOD Program previously unveiled by the NSW Government. The initiative aims to unlock the development potential for an additional 175,000 new homes across the state within the next 15 years.

Effective from 13 May 2024, the newly established controls will enable the construction of apartments in residential zones and the local centre zone (R1, R2, R3, R4, and E1) within 400 metres of identified stations, as well as shop-top housing in local and commercial centre zones (E1 and E2) within the same radius. These provisions introduce a maximum building height of 22 metres (24 metres for shop-top housing) and a maximum floor space ratio (FSR) of 2.5:1, set as a non-refusal standard. Additionally, a new minimum lot width of 21 metres will be introduced, with no stipulated minimum lot size.

While the application of these controls to an additional 19 precincts (14 in Sydney and 5 in regional NSW) has been deferred until between July 2024 and June 2025, this delay aims to allow certain councils the opportunity to finalise local plans aligning with or surpassing the potential new housing outcomes envisaged under the revised planning controls.

Addressing concerns raised since the SEPP announcement, the DPIE has provided clarifications on several points:

  1. The proposed 2% on-site affordable housing contribution (in perpetuity) for developments within TOD precincts remains unchanged but will be subject to periodic increases over time.
  2. TOD developments will adhere to the Apartment Design Guide (ADG) regulations.
  3. Heritage protection controls within Local Environmental Plans (LEP) and Development Control Plans (DCP) will be maintained, with the TOD SEPP applicable to heritage conservation areas but not to individual heritage items.

Although the uptake of these new controls may vary across TOD precincts due to factors such as site amalgamation and land prices, they represent a pragmatic planning approach to addressing the housing crisis at scale.

Stay tuned for further insights and updates.

If you would like to discuss this article with us, please contact Thomas Zilm, Partner on (02) 9261 5900.