Sunday, May 26, 2024

Ku-ring-gai Council to take legal action on NSW housing plan

Ku-ring-gai Municipal Council has voted to take action against the NSW Government’s transport-oriented development (TOD) housing policy.

An extraordinary meeting was yesterday called by five councillors to consider the Council’s response to the policy, which impacts the Gordon, Killara, Lindfield and Roseville station precincts, with councillors voting unanimously to take action.

According to a Mayoral Minute, the TOD program will see new developments between 22 and 24 metres in height,  along with floor space ratios that fatally weaken local controls on heritage, setbacks and urban canopy.

Speaking after the meeting, Mayor, Sam Ngai said the Council had taken the decision to mount a legal case against the government “because of the ambiguity that is inherent in these new planning controls”.

“Our residents and landowners want certainty over what exactly they can do with their land, and the role of government is to provide this certainty,” said Mayor Ngai.

“The TOD in its current form will lead to a Swiss cheese effect in our suburbs, with multiple high-rise buildings surrounding heritage properties.

“We are keen to provide new homes, but they also need to be appropriately supported by infrastructure.”

The Mayor added that the state-imposed policy would come into effect on 13 May, despite multiple requests from Ku-ring-gai Council since November last year to collaborate on infrastructure outcomes and establish a 12-month extension for appropriate planning.

“It is of great concern to us that that most other councils received 12 month planning extensions when we were denied that opportunity by the Minister for Planning,” said Mayor Ngai.

“The TOD means 20,000 new dwellings in Ku-ring-gai with residents paying $210 million in housing contributions to the NSW Government. But not a single cent has been committed to local infrastructure and future residents are getting ripped off.

“These changes have already cost Ku-ring-gai over tens of millions in value destruction. Had the government responded to our earlier requests for appropriate planning, this would not have been the case.”

Mayor Ngai said Councillors had received a briefing from legal advisors before the meeting, which reinforced the Council’s decision.

“We have not taken this decision lightly, but we owe it to residents to fight for our environment and quality of life. Based on our legal advice, we believe we have a strong case and the financial benefits to ratepayers far outweigh the cost.”

As part of last night’s meeting, Council also voted unanimously to identify a range of housing scenarios in each of the four TOD precincts.

“Council is best placed to decide where the housing should go, what infrastructure to build and how to minimise impacts on the natural environment and heritage,” the Mayor said.

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