Why has the Blaxland Masterplan been updated

    The original 2018 Masterplan identified the need to investigate development standards that control the height and density of buildings in the town centre, commonly referred to as building envelope controls.

    The need to investigate these standards was highlighted due to the challenge of encouraging mixed use developments, including shop top housing, when they are largely supplied by the private market. Feasibility assessments indicate that the financial investment required for such developments is likely to exceed the gains given under the existing planning controls. This feasibility challenge is exacerbated when basement level parking (which can be technically challenging and expensive) is a desired outcome for any redevelopment in the town centre.  

    After receiving community feedback during consultation in 2019 and late 2020 on a range of possible new standards up to five storeys, the Masterplan update reflects the community’s preference to permit increased building height to four storeys, only when the development provides a public benefit (open space or community facilities for example).

    What is a building envelope?

    A building envelope sets the appropriate scale of future development on a piece of land in terms of density and height relative to the streetscape. Building envelopes assist in determining and controlling desired urban form in town centres.

    What is an incentives clause?

    These are clauses in a planning scheme that permit an increase in development standards, such as height of building and floor space ratio, but only when specific community benefits, such as maintaining and improving local amenity and character, are met. These clauses typically apply only to a limited number of sites.

    The incentives clause proposed for Blaxland requires that any increase in building height only be permitted where high quality design outcomes and community benefit (such as a central piazza) are demonstrated. This option would only apply to ‘key sites’ within the Blaxland Town Centre. These strategic sites will be determined at the Planning Proposal stage and identified within the Local Environmental Plan (LEP).   

    What is a planning proposal and how long do they take?

    The process of creating a Local Environmental Plan (LEP) starts with a planning proposal. The planning proposal for introducing an incentives clause would be led by Council and involve additional community consultation on the sites where it will apply, the content of the clause and associated planning controls. 

    This process can take 12 to 18 months to prepare and finalise.

    What criteria would be used for the selection of new street trees if the Canary Island date palms are removed?

    Street trees can enhance the 'sense of place' of our towns and villages, which is an important part of the Mountains' character. They also provide a range of benefits for urban design, including improved water management, traffic calming, enhanced safety, economic health and biodiversity. 

    The selection of new street trees will be guided by a new Public Domain Plan to be prepared. This would be in conjunction with the Street Tree Masterplan, which outlines broad strategic objectives for the selection and management of all street tree plantings. These plans will ensure that appropriate species are selected, considering factors such as soil type, climate, and available space. 

    How many returnable postcards will be delivered and to where?

    Approximately 4,400 households and businesses located in the 2774 postcode (Blaxland, Blaxland East, Mount Riverview, and Warrimoo) will be directly notified via returnable postcard, to provide their feedback (delivery 6-10 November).