A planning proposal (also known as a rezoning application) is a document that explains proposed changes to land use planning controls that are found in a Local Environmental Plan (LEP)*.
A planning proposal details how the controls are proposed to change, for example by increasing building heights or floor space ratios to allow for more development in a particular area.
It also sets out the justification for why these changes are suitable for the site and an assessment of the potential impacts of the proposal and how they should be resolved if it is approved. Planning proposals are usually supported by extensive technical information to help with the assessment such as studies on flooding, traffic, urban design, and social impact assessments.
A planning proposal can be prepared by anyone, but usually it is either a landowner, developer, or Council.
*A local environmental plan (LEP) is a legal document that guides planning decisions by local governments. It is prepared by Council and approved by the State Government. The LEP is an important planning tool that helps shape the future of our area and ensures development is done appropriately. Controls in an LEP include such things as land use zones, building heights, floor space ratios, flood risk management controls and also heritage protections.
A “Development Control Plan” (DCP) is a planning document that provides detailed planning and design rules to support the Local Environmental Plan (LEP). These rules are often referred to as ‘controls’ and includes standards such as storm water drainage, landscaping, parking, access, urban design.
For significant planning proposals such as the St John’s Anglican Church site, a site-specific DCP is usually prepared to ensure the controls are tailored to the specific needs of the site.
The amendments sought by the Applicant to the LEP controls does not include the removal of St John’s Parish Hall as an item of local heritage significance, with consideration of such a request to be determined as part of the development application process.
Consequently, the DCP contains controls for two options in relation to the St John’s Parish Hall. The controls in Option A relate specifically to the removal and replacement of St John’s Parish Hall, and the controls in Option B relate to the partial retention of the St John’s Parish Hall being the original c1910 structure (shown orange), with the 1950s elements shown in blue to be removed.
Ground floor plan of the Parish Hall
Council wants to ensure that the Applicant undertakes a ‘staged approval approach’* The critical matter is understanding the heritage significance of the St John’s Parish Church Hall to provide certainty regarding the proposed form of development to occur on the site. The staged approach would comprise three key steps:
- Stage 1 Development Application for the proponent’s building envelopes, proposed removal and replacement or partial retention of the St John’s Parish Church Hall, public domain design and vehicle access and basement design.
- Design Excellence Competition for a single design scenario based on approval of the Stage 1 DA.
- Stage 2 Detailed Development Application based on winning Design Competition entry.
* The requirement in a site specific LEP to require the preparation of a DCP may be satisfied by the making and approval of a concept development application (also referred to as a Stage 1 Development Application) consistent with Section 4.23 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
A “Planning Agreement” is a legal document that is created under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 between developers and government agencies (including councils) for the provision of funds or works by the developer for infrastructure, services, or other public amenities.
A planning agreement enables the opportunity for councils to negotiate much needed community facilities and infrastructure which could not be obtained through a development contributions plan*. Planning agreements are a more flexible mechanism to fund or deliver infrastructure to an area and can be tailored to the specific needs of where redevelopment is proposed.
* Development contributions plans enable councils to charge fees on new development in order to help fund new and upgraded infrastructure which will be required as a result of additional demand coming from more residents, workers, and visitors.
The draft Planning Agreement is essentially a legal agreement that requires the developer to undertake specific works and pay a monetary contribution to Council to be spent on community infrastructure within the Parramatta CBD.
The specific public benefits to be described in the Planning Agreement are detailed in the ‘Terms Sheet of Public Benefits’ dated 11 March 2022 endorsed by Council at the Council Meeting on 21 March 2022. A copy is provided with the Exhibition Material and includes the following public benefits:
- Licence in perpetuity for public access to the open space surrounding the Cathedral subject to the St Johns Church maintaining the right to limit some uses on this land.
- Stratum dedication of land to enable laneway between 181 Church Street site and Marsden Street.
- Temporary vehicle access for 181 Church Street site to access Hunter Street for 10 years or until the new laneway described in part ii above is available.
- Embellishment of the following land to create a civic space: Church land between the Cathedral building and Hunter Street Portion of road in front of 45 Hunter Street to be closed and included in the civic space but remain in Council ownership.
- Church to bear the maintenance and liability for the civic space site (including the Council owned portion) in perpetuity.
- Compensation of $1.1 million for the reduction in public benefit lost due to the driveway. arrangements restricting the size of the civic space and eliminating the previously proposed laneway.
- Compensation of $3.5 million to recognise Council’s risk from not having the public access.
Two new buildings are proposed on the site.
The potential height is demonstrated in the Applicant’s Reference Design dated March 2022 included with this exhibition and shows two buildings, a dominant, taller commercial tower in the north of the site at 46 storeys and a shorter mixed-use building in the south of the site at 13 storeys. Extracts from the Reference Design are provided below.
The commercial building on the northern part of the site, between Macquarie Street and Hunter Street, is proposed to have mapped height of building control of 211 metres (RL) (243 metres (RL) with a 15% bonus for design excellence). The Reference Design provided by the Applicant indicates this building will be a maximum of 46 storeys. The shape of the tower reflects a provision which protects sunlight to the protected area of Parramatta Square, including the ‘compensatory area’ adjacent to protected area.
The mixed-use building on the southern part of the site, between Hunter Street and the railway corridor, is proposed to have a mapped height of building control of 211 metres (RL). The Reference Design provided by the Applicant indicates this building will be a maximum of 13 storeys. The reason for this is the size of the site which is less than 1000sqm and therefore is affected the Floor Space Ratio Sliding Scale clause. This clause requires the FSR on a site to be reduced to regulate the density of development, so it is proportional to the site area.
The images below show the height of the proposed buildings for the two scenarios for the St John’s Parish Church Hall. For further details see the response to the question above – “Why does the DCP contain two development options for the St John’s Parish Church Hall?”