The Brisbane Future Blueprint (BFP) document was released by Brisbane City Council in June 2018.
The BFP document sets 8 principles which are now being incorporated into a major amendment of the City Plan which will guide small to medium scale projects within the Local Government Area.
Some of the impacts on small-medium development expected are:
- Emerging Community zones likely to become low density residential
- No more townhouses in the low-density residential zone
- Increased dwelling density discouraged outside transport node suburbs
- More design critique for apartments and townhouses
- An increase in carparking for all multiple unit dwellings
- An increase in deep planting requirements
- Introduction of green roof space
- Likely to see more submissions made against proposals
The document release and City Plan amendments are conveniently timed with the 2020 local election campaign and are a response to a large data collection campaign by Council.
Council claim that 1 in 5 Brisbanite households had their say in different forums over the past 18 months. The legitimacy of this participation has been questioned by many, none the less we have the document and I summarise the impact of the 8 principles below.
- Create a city of neighbourhoods
Think along the lines of Oxford Street, Bulimba and James Street, New Farm, Council are looking at opportunities to better those communities with established shopping precincts and existing industrial areas.
Moorooka is first in line for an upgrade under Council’s new suburban renewal taskforce.
- Protect and create green space
Council have allocated 20 million dollars in the budget to buy property for parkland. This isn’t expected to make a huge difference for developers but may improve green infrastructure in some areas.
Council are also looking to encourage rooftop gardens within the City Plan amendments. It is not yet clear how this will be legislated, but from initial discussions it may be possible to have a roofed area without triggering an additional ‘storey’.
Council will be increasing deep planting requirements for townhouses and apartments.
- Create more to see and do
This really has no major impact on small to medium scale developers as Council refer to inner city projects such as the Howard Smith Wharves and New Farm jetty.
Apparently, Queens Wharf (the Casino) is expected to increase our visitor rates by 1 million per year, currently sitting on 3.8 million. Hopefully they have their stats more accurate than those tunnel people (where patronage was well under that expected for Clem7 and Legacy Way).
- Protect the Brisbane backyard and our unique character
This one has seen the most publicised backlash as it has been seen as an attack on ‘townhouses’ as a building typology and the rhetoric has been a bit anti-developer. Within months of the BFP being released Council tried to pass a temporary local law to stop townhouses being built in Low Density Zones (LDR), the State blocked it but there is a draft document out now (29 July release) where you can have your say on this. Currently the City Plan allows townhouses in LDR sites over 3000m2.
This change really won’t affect many developers (unless you have a large parcel of LDR or EC land) but will reduce the type of product available in particular suburbs with older people staying in large homes and younger people needing to locate out of the suburb, very much in conflict with principal 1 and 8.
Council have stated that Emerging Community zoned property not within a neighbourhood plan area is likely to be re-zoned as Low Density Residential to give the community greater certainty.
Further to the above we have been seeing a lot of push back from Council for small lot boundary realignments where they have cited the BFP document. These are still being approved by the Court however.
- Ensure best practice design that complements the character of Brisbane
Council acknowledge that each suburb has a particular character and this isn’t always being reflected in developments. It isn’t clear as to how they legislatively will impose this on developments yet given the box ticking nature of Council’s assessment processes does not lend toward ‘good design’.
Council will release their new design guide for low to medium density residential dwellings on the 5thAugust which creates checklists that really should already be part of any decent designers’ arsenal. It is assumed this document is for the non-designers among us as an educational tool.
- Empower and engage residents
My understanding is that Council will just be letting people have their say more often and spending more money on public engagement activities. How do I think this will impact developers? Expect more submissions against your projects as the community become more empowered and engaged in planning.
If you are proposing medium-larger projects it may be worth accommodating your own community engagement into your costings and timelines at the start of a project to stop heresy and misinformation from spreading.
- Get people home quicker and safer with more travel options
Council are introducing car share opportunities for developments and increasing car parking rates to 2 spaces per 2-3 bedroom and 2.5 spaces per 4 bedroom. Visitor parking will increase from 0.15 to 0.25 per dwelling. Apparently, we are the only city in Australia increasing car parking ratios according to industry experts….
- Give people more choice when it comes to housing
According the Queensland Government, by 2041 an additional 386,000 more residents will call Brisbane home, this is calculated down to 1300 more people per month needing homes. There is no clear path provided on how this will be achieved. A lot of Council’s other strategies as listed above appear to lessen they types of housing choices available, especially in the outer suburbs where it appears, they will no longer support anything other than detached dwellings.
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