Jamie Mackenzie gave his take on things.
Jamie Mackenzie gave his take on things.

Council defends rules on housing

THE Southern Downs Regional Council has defended its proposed new rules on duplex housing, after a local town planning consultant said homeowners would be denied the right of objection.

As reported yesterday, Killarney-based planner Jamie Mackenzie said under the council's draft new planning scheme, due to come into force early next year, duplexes could be built in rows on established residential streets on blocks of 800 square metres or more, with the decision made by council officers.

With the majority of house blocks established streets in Warwick being at least 800 square metres, Mr Mackenzie said existing homeowners who valued Warwick's "big backyard" character would have no say and called for the rules to be changed.

But a council spokeswoman has said that in the proposed "Residential Living Zone" - which covers most of Warwick's streets outside the CBD fringe, a duplex would need a lot of at least 800 square metres and a frontage of at least 20 metres to the street.

She said in "every other situation", such as a block smaller than 800sqm, a duplex would be "subject to impact assessment", meaning it would be publicly advertised and residents could object and take council to court of they chose to fight an approval.

The spokeswoman said in new estates the minimum lot was proposed to be 600 square meters, but that developers would be encouraged to design their estates "to include a mix of lot sizes so that provision will be made for both (single) dwellings and duplexes".

"This will provide more certainty for residents of new areas," she said.

"All duplex development is proposed to be subject to the Residential uses code.

"This code contains detailed standards about streetscape, building siting and the design of duplexes.

"The standards are designed to ensure that all duplex developments are sited and designed to be complementary and compatible with the surrounding neighbourhood and address the street in a positive way.

"The code also contains requirements for land scaping and private open space associated with duplexes."

Submissions on the proposed planning scheme close on Friday.

It can be viewed at council head offices in Warwick and Stanthorpe or online at www.southerndowns.qld.gov.au.



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