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Building height limits may jump, WA

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A new State Planning Policy may allow more flexibility with the height, location and style of upcoming developments on the coast, according to a draft State Coastal Planning Policy.

Yesterday, a revised draft of the new guidelines for coastal development were released by Acting Planning Minister Troy Buswell.

“Modifications to existing policy wording includes areas such as building height limits that will allow for more flexibility, focusing on suitable urban form, as well as coastal foreshore reserves, public interest, coastal strategies and management plans,” said Mr Buswell.

The new draft contains modified rules for building height limits around coastal areas, as well as new policy measures for infill developments under a potential new State Planning Policy 2.6.

According to the draft plan, “careful consideration” should be given to building height limits where the developments are within 300 metres of the horizontal shoreline datum.

Under the current planning guidelines, from 2003, “The height of buildings should be limited to a maximum of five storeys (and not exceeding 21 metres) in height.”

Buildings of up to eight storeys are also currently permitted under certain circumstances, including where:

“(a) there is broad community support for the higher buildings following a process of full consultation;

(b) the proposed development(s) is suitable for the location taking into account the built form, topography and landscape character of the surrounding area;

(c) the location is part of a major tourist or activity node;

(d) the amenity of the coastal foreshore is not detrimentally affected by any significant overshadowing of the foreshore;

and

(e) there is visual permeability of the foreshore and ocean from nearby residential areas, roads and public spaces.”

The new changes will not define any particular height, although consideration of the same factors will be necessary.

Maximum height limits may also be specified on a regional level or in a local planning scheme, which will still apply under the new plan.

The plan will also aim to “encourage urban development to be concentrated in and around existing settlements, particularly those with established infrastructure and services,” as well as providing guidance for private landowners wishing to develop on land that is on or abutts the coast.

The draft is now open for public comment until 31 May 2012.

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