The rezoning process

14 April 2020 | Posted In: News

There are a number of opportunities for the community to have a say in the City of Sydney (CoS) rezoning process. Before the Land and Housing Corporation’s (LAHC) proposal is officially exhibited, it goes through a council process that makes the proposal and its supporting documents publicly available. This allows the community input.

The first time this process will be used is for the Redfern build-to-rent proposal, submitted at the end of February. As the proposal is much less controversial than Waterloo, it could become public in late May or early June.

LAHC is still beavering away on the Waterloo proposal. LAHC was trying to get the proposal in by the end of March, hoping to get it through council before CoS went into caretaker mode. Now that council elections have been postponed a year, LAHC has more time to finalise its proposal and still see the proposal exhibited before the end of 2020.

The requirements that CoS need LAHC to meet are not public under the CoS process. We know that LAHC still needs to meet state requirements including the earlier State Significant Planning study requirements. CoS has also sent LAHC a letter setting out its requirements and a tailored planning proposal checklist. The promised Memorandum of Understanding between the Minister for Planning and CoS as to the future assessment of the Waterloo estate precinct has not yet been finalised.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) says it will ensure that government priorities such as the renewal of social housing, creation of public spaces and the planting of trees are addressed by CoS. While CoS manages the process, the proposal has to go through the Central Sydney Planning Committee (CSPC), which includes state government appointees, and the proposal has to be approved by the DPIE before it can be exhibited or a new planning law made.

The process outlined by CoS starts with LAHC putting in a proposal that meets council requirements. Council will then assess it, seeking any additional information it requires from LAHC. This process is likely to take three months. The first public step is when CoS recommendations and the proposal go before council’s Transport, Heritage and Planning Committee. At this point, all the materials will be on the CoS meeting website and community members can present concerns about the proposal to the committee and council.

The proposal then goes to the CSPC and to a council meeting before it is sent to DPIE for approval. During these few weeks and during the exhibition there will be a need to help people understand the proposal and the supporting documents.

Exhibition is usually for a minimum of 28 days. However, given there is a sizable public housing population living in the area, a longer period will be requested of DPIE.

At the March REDWatch meeting, CoS was also asked to ensure independent sessions to help the community understand what is proposed so people can give informed input.

After the exhibition period, CoS officers consider community submissions then make their final recommendations. Again, this goes through council’s Planning Committee, CSPC and council before finally being approved by DPIE, which drafts the change to the planning controls.

The CoS presentation slides on the process can be found at REDWatch. CoS will soon add information about the planning process for Waterloo and Redfern to its website.

Now that council elections have been delayed, LAHC has time to further consult with the community prior to lodgement. REDWatch has asked LAHC to make its proposal public at the time of lodgement, to at least the same level of detail as it did for its preferred masterplan.

The material produced by LAHC for the Redfern build-to-rent submission did not contain any details of the planning controls requested by LAHC, so we will not know these until the proposal emerges.

Geoff Turnbull — courtesy of The South Sydney Herald