Residential apartment development

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What planning rules apply to residential apartment development?

Residential apartment development is defined in clause 4 of SEPP No 65 Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development. It comprises residential flat buildings, shop top housing and mixed use development with a residential accommodation component. The SEPP 65 only applies to buildings which are three or more storeys (excluding levels below existing ground level or levels that are less than 1.2m above existing ground level that provide car parking). The building must contain at least four or more dwellings.

In Woollahra, the main planning rules applying to residential flat buildings, shop top housing and mixed use development with a residential component are set down in:

Clause 6A of SEPP No 65 sets out the relationship between certain provisions contained in Parts 3 and 4 of the Apartment Design Guide and provisions in a development control plan. Clause 6A makes the objectives, design criteria and guidelines for the following eight matters in the Apartment Design Guide prevail over a DCP. The eight matters are:

Visual privacy (Part 3F)
Solar and daylight access (Part 4A)
Natural ventilation (Part 4B)
Ceiling heights (Part 4C)
Apartment size and layout (Part 4D)
Private open space and balconies (Part 4E)
Common circulation and spaces (Part 4F)
Storage (Part 4G)

Those provisions in Woollahra DCP 2015 that specify requirements, standards or controls that relate to any of the eight matters listed in clause 6A and contained in Parts 3 and 4 of the Apartment Design Code have no effect in the assessment and determination of a development application for development to which SEPP No 65 applies.

All other provisions of Woollahra DCP 2015 can be applied to the assessment and determination of a DA for development to which SEPP No 65 applies.

Architects are required to design residential flat buildings and other buildings to which SEPP No 65 applies so that they comply with the SEPP and the Apartment Design Guide.

A development application that relates to residential apartment development that is made on or after the commencement of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Residential Apartment Development) Regulation 2015 must be accompanied by a statement by a qualified designer.

The statement by the qualified designer must verify that he or she:

  • Designed, or directed the design, of the development, and;
  • Provide an explanation that verifies how the development:
    • Addresses how the design quality principles are achieved; and
    • Demonstrates, in terms of the Apartment Design Guide, how the objectives in Parts 3 and 4 of that guide have been achieved.

Furthermore, neither a construction or occupation certificate can be issued unless the certifying authority has received a statement by the qualified designer verifying that the plans and specifications achieve or improve the design quality of the development for which development consent was granted, having regard to the design principles.

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