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Ku-ring-gai Faces Sweeping Changes Under New NSW Housing Policy

By Laura Essert

In an ambitious move, the NSW Government unveiled a comprehensive housing policy reform in December 2023, aimed at significantly altering the development landscape across the Upper North Shore. Central to the reform is the facilitation of dual occupancies across residential zones in Ku-ring-gai Council on lots as small as 450sqm. The policy also advocates for the construction of terraces, townhouses, and mid-rise apartment blocks within proximity to railway stations, indicating a shift towards higher-density living.

The adjustments are designed to foster a diverse housing mix, especially near transit hubs, encouraging a blend of low and mid-rise dwellings to meet the growing demand. However, these proposed changes have stirred concerns among residents and local authorities, particularly regarding their impact on heritage conservation, environmental sustainability, and existing infrastructure capacity.

Ku-ring-gai Council has outlined specifically what this would mean for the area:

  • Allowing dual occupancies (two dwellings on the same lot) in all low-density residential zones, with a minimum lot size of 450 square metres. Currently dual occupancies are generally not permitted in Ku‑ring‑gai.
  • Allowing terraces, townhouses and two storey apartment blocks near railway stations and possibly other local centres. Currently these multi-dwelling housing types are permitted in Ku-ring-gai to a very limited extent.
  • Allowing 6 to 7 storey mid-rise apartment blocks near railway stations and possibly other local centres. Currently mid-rise apartment blocks of up to 5 storeys are permitted in Ku-ring-gai to a limited extent.
  • Allowing affordable housing bonuses of up to 30% for floor space ratio and height, on top of the proposed new controls.
  • Overriding existing planning controls such as those for heritage and environment.
  • Introducing ‘non-refusal standards’ for the new planning controls by which development consent may not be refused.
  • There will be impacts on heritage, trees, biodiversity, traffic and stormwater.
  • Significant tree loss across Ku-ring-gai.
  • No consideration currently given to the necessary infrastructure to support density such as schools, transport and community facilities.

The NSW Government is seeking public feedback on the proposed changes to housing policy until Friday 23 February.

For more details, please visit the Ku-ring-gai Council website or the NSW Government’s Explanation of Intended Effect.

Our team are available to explore the advantages and limitations of the changes and their impact on your property with you, just get in touch via uppernorthshore.nsw@raywhite.com or call 9449 9066.

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