A DRAFT housing strategy that outlines future options for increasing housing affordability and diversity in the Coffs Harbour region and seeks to move Coffs towards a “compact city” is set to go to the NSW Government for approval.
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Coffs Harbour City Council adopted the Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy-Chapter 7 Residential Lands, and resolved to seek endorsement from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) for the strategy at its meeting on 12 November.
Endorsement by the NSW DPIE is necessary before Council can use the document to inform planning proposals and strategic directions of Council.
Earlier this year, Council exhibited the draft ‘Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy-Chapter 7 Residential Lands’, as well as two issues and options papers on ‘Affordable Housing’ and ‘Short Term Rental Accommodation’.
Council received 72 submissions to the three documents from government agencies and members of the public.
Some of the public submissions called on Council to promote sustainable housing designs, limit the number of high density buildings within the Coffs Harbour LGA, amend local planning controls to require a mix of lot sizes in greenfield subdivisions, implement incentives to promote smaller dwelling types in all residential zones, review infrastructure requirements applicable to residential development, facilitate tiny homes and villages within the Coffs Harbour LGA, and develop a Council policy on homelessness and people sleeping rough.
Chapter 7 has been amended by Council to address some of these issues such as consideration of incentives for smaller dwellings, investigating high density development in the Park Beach precinct, and developing a Housing Affordability Policy.
“Increasing the mix and affordability of housing choices is an important consideration for our community,” Council’s Sustainable Communities Director Chris Chapman said.
“Encouraging developers to offer more diversity in housing locally-such as constructing townhouses and smaller apartments for example-also works well with our compact city model of infilling existing neighbourhoods rather than building on greenfield sites.
“The compact city approach has also been identified by both the NSW Government and Council as the most appropriate for our region.”
Mr Chapman said Council has recommended that non-hosted Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA), commonly referred to as ‘airbnb’ type accommodation, continues to be allowed to operate for 365 days per year.
“The NSW Government has previously given councils some discretion in the number of days that people can offer this kind of rental as there have been issues associated with it,” Mr Chapman said.
“We’re also recommending that Council monitor STRA locally for the next two years, particularly in the Korora and Sapphire Beach areas, where problems have been known to occur.”
Council is currently working with relevant bodies on a range of planning options to increase the supply of affordable housing in the region.
“Mission Australia recently announced a new major housing project for Duke Street in Coffs Harbour,” Mr Chapman said.
“But we’re aware that there is a significant shortfall in the number of social housing properties available for people locally and there’s a long waiting list.
“We’re continuing to work collaboratively with local housing support services to address issues such as availability of affordable housing stock, as well as continuing to advocate to the Federal and NSW State Governments for an increase in investment in social housing locally.”
The purpose of the Residential Lands Chapter of the Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy is to ensure that Council can facilitate the delivery of a greater housing supply, increase housing diversity and choice, and encourage opportunities for affordable housing for the region’s changing population over a twenty year period.
Population projections forecast a population of 97,440 people will be living within the Coffs Harbour LGA by 2040, as opposed to the current population of 74,670.
By Emma DARBIN