Dual density zoning, what does it mean for you?
There seems to be a lot of confusion and misinformation around dual density coding in Western Australia. This is amongst novice and experience developers alike- they are often getting the wrong advice and information, either from selling agents, colleagues or through their own research. This creates uncertainty, and leads to potentially disastrous consequences. This is because they think they are buying a site or intending to develop it to the higher coding, but closer inspection reveals they cant. This can be a very costly mistake, so you really need the answer before you commit to the project or purchase. This article is going to teach you how to navigate dual coding . This is important because if you understand how dual coding works you can make informed decisions, instead of costly mistakes. In fact, once you know how to apply dual can often pick up a bargain from unsuspecting vendors and agents because you are the only person who has identified a sites true development potential.
Dual density zoning (also called “dual density coding”, “split residential density” or “bonus zoning” in various council scheme texts) is an initiative we are seeing adopted and applied to scheme maps and subdivision application assessments by many councils in Western Australia. It allows local governments to offer more flexibility to property owners on how to subdivide land in Perth. It also provides infill development opportunity to help councils meet ambitious subdivision targets adopted in state planning policies. Importantly however, it gives local councils an avenue to have more influence over the type and quality of subdivision and development occurring within their boundaries, to ensure the changing needs of the wider community are best met. They trade of higher densities to developers for a greater say on the type, scale and quality of development being delivered at the higher coding.
Lets begin by looking at individual zone coding. A zoning code number reflects the maximum number of dwellings allowed per hectare under state planning policy 7.3 vol 1 (the R-codes) for residential development. The lot size minimums, averages and other particulars are defined in table 1 of the R-codes:
Plot ratios for multiple dwellings (apartments) in areas residentially zoned R40 and above are detailed in table 4 of the R-codes:
Some worked examples are provided below to help provide a better understanding of how to apply the tables and dwelling densities to your subdivision project.
R20 Zoning (20 lots per hectare)
So a 1000m2 block has the following subdivision potential: 1000 x (20 /10000) = 2 dwellings.
Table 1 of the R-codes also stipulates a 350m2 lot minimum and a 450m2 lot average, a minimum street frontage of 10m, 50% open space requirement and a 30m2 outdoor living area for each dwelling.
R30 Zoning (30 lots per hectare)
So a 1000m2 block has the following subdivision potential: 1000 x (30 /10000) = 3 dwellings.
Table 1 of the R-codes also stipulates a 260m2 lot minimum and a 300m2 lot average, no minimum street frontage, 45% open space requirement and a 24m2 outdoor living area for each dwelling.
R40 Zoning (40 lots per hectare)
So a 1000m2 block has the following subdivision potential: 1000 x (40 /10000) = 4 dwellings.
Table 1 of the R-codes also stipulates a 180m2 lot minimum and a 220m2 lot average, no minimum street frontage, 45% open space requirement and a 20m2 outdoor living area for each dwelling. Additionally, if multiple dwellings (apartments) are to be built, table 4 can be consulted for maximum plot ratios to determine the square meter-age of dwellings permissible. With as plot ratio of 0.6, 1000m2 x 0.6 = 600m2 of dwelling permissible. To build a number of 75m2 apartments for example, 600/75 would allow 8 apartments to be built as part of the subdivision project.
It is also important to consider local Government Planning policies, scheme texts and Area Development/ Structure Plans when investigating possibilities and requirements for your subdivision project. Local government must defer to the R-codes as a minimum standard, however their own policies, schemes and area plans can supplement the R-codes as well as deferring to them. Councils supplement the R-codes by providing concessions or more detailed requirements in their policies and scheme texts. As such they must be read in conjunction with the R-codes to ensure statutory compliance with Local Government requirements for subdivisions and infill development.