Draft Planning and Design Code - Update Report from the State Planning Commission on Phase Two of the Planning and Design Code (Rural Areas)

16 April 2020

Having considered the submissions for Phase Two of the Code, the State Planning Commission (“the SPC”) has published a paper titled “Phase Two of the Planning and Design Code (Rural Areas): What We Have Heard – March 2020” (“the Report”).

The Report confirms that, due to the devastating bushfire season, Kangaroo Island Council will be moved into Phase 3 of the Code.

The Report provides an overview of the submissions received during consultation for Phase Two, the amendments the SPC intend to recommend to the Minister and the consultation process to date.

There are a number of amendments recommended by the SPC in the Report, including the following:

  • to the land use definitions for ancillary accommodation, agricultural building, detached/semi-detached/row dwellings, industry, motor repair station and tourist accommodation, to provide greater consistency and clarity;
  • definitions for exceedances per year, human waste water, sewerage infrastructure and site contamination to be included in the administrative definitions;
  • terminology to clarify agency referrals for energy generation, aquaculture, dams and airport building heights;
  • to audit and amend all classification tables to ensure consistency and relevant overlays are applied;
  • improvement of public notification tables to clarify development that is excluded from public notification;
  • replacing the Neighbourhood, Suburban Neighbourhood and Housing Diversity Zones with a new ‘Neighbourhood Zone’ that responds to rural issues;
  • the name of the Residential Neighbourhood Zone to Rural Neighbourhood Zone to more appropriately capture the nature of rural areas;
  • creating new zones and subzones that respond to identified gaps in unique land uses (specific examples have been provided in the Report);
  • the Design in Rural Areas General Disposal Policy module to refine policy and remove policy that is specific to urban areas;
  • the Land Division in Rural Areas General Development Policy module to facilitate a deemed-to-satisfy land division pathway for approved  dwellings  or  combined  land division/dwelling applications, amend policy to improve flexibility to respond to local context, improve clarity of water sensitive design policy and change name to ‘Land Division’ module;
  • Heritage and Character Overlays and Statements, including:

introducing  a  ‘Heritage  Adjacency  Overlay’  to  guide  development  adjacent heritage places;

amend the Historic Area Statement for Robe to reflect historic values; and

  • introduce a Character Area Overlay and Statement for the township of Mundulla;
  • introducing policy for boundary realignments in the Rural Zone;
  • introducing a new Employment Enterprise Zone and Light Industry Zone to support development opportunities related to significant industries (e. Olympic Dam);
  • introducing a ‘Gateway Overlay’ to support high standards and visual amenity outcomes for townships and other ‘high value’ locations;
  • building heights in the Technical and Numeric Variation (“TNV”) for Township Activity Centre and Mainstreet Zones to align built form outcomes with existing circumstances and character;
  • changing the name of the ‘Suburban Employment Zone’ to ‘Commercial and Business Zone’;
  • adjusting land division policy in several of the employment and home industry zones to increase the site area requirement where development will rely on on-site waste water disposal;
  • general development policies in the Tourism Zone to align development projects with key tourism themes (for example: natural experiences, landscapes and produce);
  • the Conservation Zone to:
    • retain restricted pathway for tourist accommodation in areas proclaimed under the Wilderness Protection Act 1992;
    • clarification for performance assessment tourist accommodation located in areas protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972;
    • ensure tourist accommodation is subject to public notification;
    • provide a restricted pathway for renewable energy facilities; and
    • create a new subzone for shack relocation required due to coastal hazard risk;
  • extending the Coastal Hazard Overlay to include all areas subject to coastal hazard risk;
  • introducing minimum site and floor level criteria to address coastal hazard risk with the aim of reducing referrals to the Coast Protection Board;
  • developing a practice guideline to support application of the Native Vegetation Overlay;
  • including additional general policy to ensure consideration of other important biodiversity values (e. grasslands and samphire vegetation);
  • refining the Hazards (Flooding) Overlay to introduce additional flood mapping across the State and amend the policy in the Overlay to allow for minor low risk developments as deemed-to-satisfy (e. open sided verandahs);
  • removing the Sloping Land Overlay and provide General Development Policies to guide development on sloping land;
  • flood policy in the Design in Urban Areas and Design in Rural Areas to cater for locations that do not have kerbing and/or land located below the street level;
  • including additional land uses envisaged in the Community Facilities Zone such as community facility, cemetery, emergency services facility and indoor recreation facility;
  • creating a new ‘Wallaroo Marina Subzone’ within the Infrastructure (Ferry and Marina Facilities) Zone to apply to the relevant area in the Copper Coast Council;
  • ensuring that the Building Near Airfields Overlay is not applied unnecessarily;
  • the deemed-to-satisfy criteria to the transport route overlays to support a higher rate of vehicle movements through existing access points; and
  • policies in the Infrastructure and Renewable Energy Facilities General Development Policies to increase the minimum setback distances for wind farms and solar power facilities to townships, settlements and non-associated dwelling

The Report also confirms that significant feedback was received in relation to spatial application and mapping for Phase Two of the Code. Particularly in regard to:

  • the River Murray Flood Plain Overlay with requests received to include the 1956 Flood Line and have the current designated area excluded;
  • a review of the spatial application and policy within the General Neighbourhood and Housing Diversity Neighbourhood Zone and their application within a regional context;
  • the Dwelling Excision Overlay apply to the Rural Zone to maintain current policies;
  • minimum allotment sizes applied to a number of zones through the TNVs;
  • TNVs be amended to reflect existing numerical provisions in Development Plans;
  • additional spatial application of the Visitor Experience Subzone within the Conservation Zone to promote tourist accommodation and investment into key areas; and
  • the inclusion of concept plans within zones to guide development.

The SPC has confirmed its general support for requested changes to spatial application and mapping and will review requests on a case by case basis. Recommendations in relation to requests will be included in a future report to be prepared by the SPC in accordance with section 73(7) of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016. While the Report recognises that many of the submissions received requested that a date be included in the Dwelling Excision Overlay, it is not clear whether a date will be included.

The amendments being proposed by the SPC demonstrate that it has considered the submissions received during consultation for Phase Two of the Code. It appears that particular regard has been had to planning issues that arise in a rural context and the need for the Code, which has been drafted with a preference towards urban development, to better reflect specific planning considerations and land uses within rural areas.

The amendments proposed to Phase 2, if adopted, will be considerable. Particularly with the introduction of new policies, zones and sub-zones. However, until an updated version of the Code is available the extent of the changes or their impact will not be properly understood.

It is intended that a finalised Code, together with the ePlanning platform, will be made available to councils before being implemented later this year.

The Report indicates that the Code will be implemented for Regional Areas in July 2020. However, due to the pandemic the implementation date might be delayed further by the Minister – after all, the commencement of the Code is now able to occur on a date designated by the Minister.

What is clear however is that there does not appear to be any further opportunity being provided for councils to formally comment on the amended Code before its implementation.

We will continue to keep you informed of further developments in this area.

Please contact Emily Nankivell on 08 8113 7114 or  enankivell@kelledyjones.com.au or Victoria Shute on 08 8113 7104 or  vshute@kelledyjones.com.au.