What is being exhibited?

    There are two key planning documents on public exhibition for comment until 1 November 2021. 

    1. The draft Planning Proposal, which outlines amendments to the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) (151 pages).

    The LEP amendments predominantly relate to the R3 Medium Density Residential zone and include:

    • Marginal increases to the current height limit
    • Additional permitted use of dual occupancy development
    • Subdivision below 200 square metres where supported by sound design
    • Amendment to the R3 zone boundaries in some areas to support town centres. 

    These changes aim to provide greater opportunities for a range of low-rise medium density residential development in the Lake Macquarie LGA and facilitate the development of land already zoned R3 Medium Density Residential.

    2. The Development Control Plan (15 pages) with proposed amendments to planning controls for subdivision and medium density residential development.

    • The DCP amendments support the LEP and provide more detailed guidance in relation to Council’s requirements for quality medium density development.

    How will this affect Development Applications?

    The proposed changes are only in draft format and will not apply to applications currently lodged with Council. It is expected that the draft LEP and DCP will be finalised and come into force mid-2022. Once in force these controls will apply to new Development Applications lodged with Council.  

    How does this affect Heritage Conservation Areas?

    The proposed changes apply generally and do not affect the existing heritage controls within the LEP or DCP.

    What are the proposed changes specifically?

    The proposed changes to the planning proposal include:

    • reducing minimum lot sizes for medium density residential areas where supported by sound design principles
    • sensitively increasing building heights on medium density residential zoned land close to business zones (increasing by one to three meters generally with some exceptions e.g. four meters in parts of Windale and six meters in a select part of Charlestown, considering previous location specific studies along with the existing and future intended character of the area) 
    • moderate increase in building height in business zones where increases to building heights are proposed in adjoining medium density residential areas to ensure the building heights are consistent between the two zones
    • discreet new areas of medium density residential land reflecting the outcomes of study recommendations or the character of the area
    • allowing the additional use of dual occupancy development on sites zoned for medium density development that are constrained by drainage, slope, or location
    • new definitions for a manor house (a type of residential flat building) and a terrace house (a type of multi-dwelling housing) in the LMDCP 2014 for clarity
    • development control plan amendments to support infill development in strategic locations with guidance on exceptions to the minimum lot size 
    • changes to the minimum area required per dwelling for the various housing types, while ensuring the built form outcomes meet the intent of housing diversity and respect to the neighbourhood (i.e. retaining current landscape and other amenity requirements).

    What is the purpose of the proposed changes?

    Lake Macquarie has a large population and extensive areas of land zoned for medium density housing. While new detached dwelling approvals in Lake Macquarie are strong, new multi-unit dwelling approvals in Lake Macquarie are not as high as expected or intended given the extensive areas zoned for this purpose and our land use policy objectives.

    The intent of the proposed changes is to unlock and facilitate further opportunities for infill housing in residential zones close to economic centres. The focus is on amending controls that unintentionally limit infill housing on land zoned for medium density residential purposes, and situated close to business zones. This will assist in increasing the supply and diversity of housing close to centres to include some smaller dwelling types.

    What locations do the amendments apply to?

    The proposed changes to the LMLEP 2014 apply to medium density residential zoned land and business zoned land in the following suburbs: Argenton, Belmont, Belmont North, Blackalls Park, Bonnells Bay, Boolaroo, Cardiff, Caves Beach, Charlestown, Dudley, Edgeworth, Fennell Bay, Gateshead, Glendale, Holmesville, Jewells, Kahibah, Mount Hutton, Rathmines, Redhead, Speers Point, Toronto, Valentine, Wangi Wangi, Warners Bay, West Wallsend, Whitebridge and Windale. 

    Please refer to the map on our website for a summary of amendments that apply to each suburb.

    What is Council’s responsibility in relation to housing in the Local Government Area?

    Council’s responsibility for housing is primarily associated with providing strategic direction and planning controls to support the housing needed in the City. Council’s adopted Housing Strategy identifies actions to amend the Lake Macquarie Local Environment Plan (LMLEP) 2014 and Lake Macquarie Development Control Plan (LMDCP) 2014 to address the identified housing needs. 

    The recommendation to amend the LMLEP 2014 and LMDCP 2014 is consistent with Housing Strategy actions to facilitate infill housing opportunities close to jobs, services and infrastructure. These planning control changes also aim to increase housing diversity and affordability, and promote the economic and practical use of land for housing. The proposal also seeks to find a balance between infill housing that recognises community feedback regarding the character of areas while planning to meet future changing needs.

    While Council could decide to amend either the LMLEP 2014 or LMDCP 2014, amending only one of these planning documents would not be as effective, and the design outcomes available would be limited.

    What consultation took place in developing the amendments on exhibition?

    In April 2020, Council adopted the Lake Macquarie Housing Strategy (Housing Strategy) (20DP014). The Housing Strategy implementation plan includes 40 actions to be completed over the next four years. 

    Action 1.1 in the adopted Housing Strategy is to ‘actively investigate removing barriers for infill land development in the City, particularly in areas identified for growth.’

    Significant research and analysis led to the recommendations in the adopted Housing Strategy. The work examined the housing market, liveability, affordability, design and feasibility. 

    Community and industry consultation, surveys, research, investigations and studies were completed to better understand the City’s housing needs. The outcomes showed the need for a focus on infill housing and a broadening of housing choice in the City.

    Please visit our Housing Strategy consultation page for more information or read the summary snapshot here.

    You can also view population forecasts for Lake Macquarie on the Remplan population, households and dwellings forecasts to 2041 website.

Glossary of terms

    Infill housing

    • Infill housing is the development/redevelopment of sites in areas already used for urban purposes. Specifically, the reuse of a site within the existing urban footprint for new housing.

    R2 / R3 zones

    • Zone R2 areas are Low Density Residential zones. They provide for the housing needs of the community and generally consists of single and two storey dwellings, including lower scale free-standing homes and dual occupancy.
    • Zone R3 areas are Medium Density Residential zones. They provides a variety of housing types, within a medium density residential environment, including multi dwelling housing and residential flat buildings. R3 zones are generally located close to commercial/business centres. 

    Dual occupancy

    • Dual occupancy means two dwellings on one lot of land, that are either attached to each other or detached.  

Making a submission

    Where can I view the proposed changes?

    Online: View the proposed changes via downloadable PDF file in our document library.

    Please note: 

    The COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 has removed the requirement for councils and other consent authorities to display physical copies of some documents so long as they are displayed on the NSW Planning Portal or an approved website.

    How were formal submissions received?

    There were three main channels by which Council accepted formal submissions during the exhibition period.

    1. Via NSW planning portal
    2. Via email to [email protected] 
    3. Via post  to Breanne Bryant, Lake Macquarie City Council, Box 1906, Hunter Region Mail Centre NSW 2310. 

    Why did Council exhibit these documents during COVID-19 restrictions?

    The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) reviewed the amendments to the planning proposal and required Council to place them on exhibition before 1 November 2021.

    What is the NSW Planning Portal?

    The portal is a NSW Government website where community, industry and government can work together to better understand and meet their obligations under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. It hosts a range of digital planning services, mapping tools and reporting tools to assist everyone involved in a proposed development. Information about planning proposals can be viewed and submissions can be uploaded directly to the Planning Portal.