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Gold Coast City Council’s New Planning Scheme (February 2016)

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 15:03

The Gold Coast City Council has adopted its new planning scheme as of 1 Feb this year. While that is a significant milestone it has implications for those who were intending to develop their land. The new planning scheme has a number of significant changes that may affect if your land can be developed or if it can be easily developed. In some cases it may be more conducive and in others it may significantly restrict development opportunities.

The council has taken a low risk approach to development and many types of development may not automatically require a planning approval now – e.g. a dual occupancy is self-assessable in some zones. However, if the design of the new development does not comply with the self-assessment criteria it will still trigger a planning application, so planning input for the initial design is still required.

This new scheme has been approved by the state government under its Queensland Planning Provisions (QPP) regime. This regime changes the assessment focus from zones to precincts and overlay constraints. What this means is that if there is an overlay over a property e.g. flooding, and the development doesn’t comply with the overlay code, council must refuse the development, that is, it’s effectively prohibited!

The newer QPP schemes are written in more modern format and are “benefitting” from the past years for court decisions in the drafting. What this means is that they are more rigid than the previous style of planning schemes and have less opportunity for performance type solutions. This is particularly the case for subdivisions and lot sizes. We will see how council chooses to interpret and enforce its new scheme in the first year.

In some cases the previous planning scheme may have allowed a form of development that won’t now be supported in the new scheme. You have until 1 Feb 2017 to lodge what is called a “superseded” planning scheme application to have your development assessed under the previous planning scheme. However, don’t leave it too long, give ECSA a call today to discuss your options.

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