Northern Beaches Council is required by the NSW Government to consolidate four planning control documents into one and will release a discussion paper to collect community views.

Mayor Michael Regan said the preparation of a whole of Northern Beaches Local Environment Plan (LEP) and Development Control Plan (DCP) would be based largely on existing controls and was not seeking to increase heights in residential areas or increase densities in areas that have not already been identified.

He said the NSW Government requirement to review the documents provides an opportunity to introduce greater protection for our environment, raise the bar on sustainability and encourage local employment.

“To be crystal clear, there are no plans for increasing densities beyond what has already been identified – our housing strategy made clear we only need to find an additional 275 dwellings,” Mayor Regan said.

“No one wants to see our area overdeveloped or the local character destroyed.

“Our aim is to ensure we maintain our great lifestyle, protect the local character and environment we so value, provide green space, infrastructure to support growth, and local employment for the future.”

He encouraged members of the community to have their say during the six-week exhibition to inform the development of the draft LEP and DCP which will come back to the community for further consultation next year.

“Since amalgamation in 2016, the Northern Beaches has still been operating under four different planning instruments each with different planning controls,” Cr Regan said.

“We have an opportunity to use the government’s requirement to now consider ways to strengthen the protections for our environment, constrain development in inappropriate locations, incentivise affordable housing and support local job growth.

“The discussion paper considers these kinds of opportunities and asks the community for their ideas and input.”

To support local business and to provide an improved retail shopping experience and greater flexibility in the use of the space, Council’s Urban Design expert panel have suggested small height increases in business centres – no more than 1.5 metres.

And to meet the demand for floor space in industrial zones the community is asked to comment on a small increase of building heights in industrial areas.

“Our business centres and industrial areas are the employment heart of the Northern Beaches, providing an opportunity for residents to live locally and work locally.

“We are ruling out large height increases but asking the community for feedback on measures that could help rejuvenate industrial areas and support local jobs.”

Among other things, the discussion paper also asks for community response to:

  • improved controls for development near waterways, foreshores, wetlands and riparian lands;
  • more water sensitive urban design and greater tree canopy;
  • performance standards for net-zero carbon emission buildings;
  • reducing areas for permitted dual occupancy, boarding houses and seniors’ housing to reduce inappropriate development in sensitive locations;
  • provisions to restrict large scale retail in small retail centres.

Mayor Regan said the LEP and DCP is required to align with the State Government’s Greater Sydney Region Plan and North District Plan.

“This is the start of the process of creating a vision for a sustainable future for a great place to live, work and play,” he said.