What happens next?
Following consideration of any feedback from the community a final Residential Streetscape Character Study will be prepared and presented to Council’s Strategic Development Committee for endorsement.
The Study will then be used to inform the preparation of a future DPA. At this stage, it is anticipated that a draft DPA will be released for community consultation in early 2014.
What is the project objective?
Council has received considerable community feedback in recent years expressing concern about the cumulative impact of new infill residential development on older, established residential areas in particular. Accordingly, Council engaged consultants in March 2013 to undertake the City of Charles Sturt Residential Streetscape Character Study.
The primary objective of the Study was to identify the extent and form(s) of areas of ‘special character’ which require a more considered approach to the management of future development. It is intended that the outcomes of this Study will inform the preparation of a Development Plan Amendment (DPA) (i.e. changes to Council’s Development Plan).
What is ‘character’?
Character in the Study is defined as:
‘The interrelationship between built form, vegetation and topography in the public and private domains that distinguishes one place from another’.
Character is different to heritage, which relates to the conservation of culturally and historically significant places. (This is addressed through the listing of heritage places and identifying what are referred to as Historic Conservation Areas (HCA) in the Development Plan). Character is more concerned with the combination of the particular characteristics or qualities of a place or places, although some of these character elements may have a historical basis. For example, most of the ‘streetscape character’ areas identified in the draft Study contain a majority of pre 1940’s housing.
Where are the proposed streetscape character areas?
Sixteen areas are identified as warranting specific Development Plan policies to ensure their character is managed and enhanced.
What are the most important character attributes?
The Study identified the following important character traits were common within the proposed ‘streetscape character’ areas:
- Dominance of detached dwellings, with some semi-detached dwellings established in the form of “maisonette” style dwellings.
- Single storey built form, with building wall heights typically in the order of 3.1 metres to eaves.
- Traditional roof forms comprising hipped and gabled rooves with pitches typically at the 23 degree (bungalows) or 35 degree (villas and cottages) range.
- Gable elements within facades and other forms of articulation, including verandahs which span across a large proportion (at least 50%) of the building façade.
- Wall materials that are of brick or stone, with other minor rendered elements.
- Roof materials that are predominantly metal sheet or tiled.
- Continual line in streetscape created by consistent front setbacks (although it is noted that in some areas this is not as strong).
- Subordinate nature of parking in facades and frontages of properties, where it is single (normally 2.7 – 3 metres) in width and typically provided as an add-on to the original building and therefore a minor structure to the side comprising a smaller and lower roof form that helps maintain the perception of separation and space between buildings.
- Minor proportion of hard surfaces in front yards, with driveways of single width, separate minor pathways and the remainder typically in the form of garden (although the nature, format and quality of that garden space varied considerably across the area).
- Provision of front fencing to sites which is generally low or medium height (up to 1.5 metres) in nature forward of the building line and therefore provides for views to dwellings and front yards.
- Fencing built of a diversity of materials, although solid materials typically being brick or stone, matching that found within the dwelling, and only utilised in lower fencing structures (up to 900mm), open style fencing comprising tubular or mesh materials that maintain a high degree of permeability and relate to those typically associated with dwellings of the periods found within the area.
What policy response is Council considering for these ‘streetscape character’ areas?
The consultants have recommended that each of these areas be contained within a single Zone or Policy Area and that the following policies be considered:
Land Division & Dwelling Types
- Allow the subdivision of corner allotments so that any resultant dwelling presents to the secondary street with a frontage width compatible with those established in the street.
- Allow semi-detached dwellings subject to certain ‘streetscape’ compatibility requirements for the resultant dwellings.
- Allow hammerhead allotments (for detached and group dwellings and residential flat buildings) subject to certain ‘streetscape’ compatibility requirements relating to driveway and fencing treatment.
- Encourage single storey form where visible from the street and consistent with the wall heights of character dwellings within the street (ie in the order of 3 metres).
- Second storey form may be appropriate where it is located within the roof space (subject to design and appearance) or positioned to the rear of the dwelling and not visible from the street.
- Encourage traditional roof forms comprising hipped or gable styles, with roof pitches that reflect those of other character housing styles (eg 23° for bungalows; 35° for cottages and villas; higher for Tudor style housing).
- Encourage the incorporation of a verandah (or similar design element) within the front façade.
- Avoid of the use of parapet walls at the street frontage.
- The use of a high solid to void ratio within the street facades, with consideration of window placement, size, proportions and spacing to match those typical within the streetscape.
- Use of wall materials that are typically found in character housing, particularly within parts of the dwelling visible from the street.
- Front and side boundary dwelling setbacks that are dictated by adjoining dwellings.
- Side boundary setbacks that are defined by the prevailing pattern of spaces between buildings within the street.
- More flexibility for side boundary setbacks for dwellings and additions that are not visible from the street.
Parking / Garaging
- Encourage single width garaging / carports.
- The positioning of garages / car ports at least 1 metre behind the façade of the dwelling.
- Other design treatments of garages / carports that minimise their visual dominance (eg lower wall heights, appropriate door treatments and finishes).
- Double garaging may be suitable in certain circumstances (eg wide frontages of at least 16 metres) and subject to certain design treatments to minimise their visual dominance.
- Single width driveways (or tapered to single width at the front boundary).
- Driveway locations that do not require the removal of mature street trees.
- The provision of front (boundary) fencing that is low to medium in height (ie 0.9 metres if solid and 1.5 metres if open style).
- Front fencing that incorporates materials that match the original dwellings.
- Discourage high, solid fencing.
(Note: The control of front fences within these areas will require changes to the Development Regulations 2008 and will be subject to the agreement of the Minister for Planning)
The consultants have also drafted a Desired Character statement for inclusion within the future ‘streetscape character’ Zone or Policy Area.
How will these policies be implemented?
Changes will need to be made to the Charles Sturt Council Development Plan and this can only occur through the DPA process and subject to the agreement of the Minister for Planning. The DPA process involves the release of draft planning policy changes for community consultation. Members of the public can make written submissions during a two month (minimum) consultation period as well as make a verbal submission at a public meeting.
Council has undertaken to inform all affected property owners during this DPA consultation process.
How were the proposed ‘streetscape character’ areas selected?
The selection process involved two stages. First, the whole of the Council area was analysed using map-based information relating to land form, land division pattern, building era and style, allotment size and frontage width and street trees. By overlaying and analysing this information initial survey areas were selected.
The second stage involved physically collecting data on each property within the survey areas. This included data on the extent of and nature of development, building height, roof form and materials, front wall materials, the existence of a front verandah, front and side building setbacks, the existence and siting of car parking facilities and the nature of front fencing. This information was mapped and analysed and the proposed ‘streetscape character’ areas identified.