An Architect's perspective on the Sutherland Shire Local Environment Plan

As an Architect, I often hear how people are frustrated or disgruntled as they fail to be able to do what they want with their land.  Therefore, I thought it timely to share an insight on our Sutherland Shire Local Environment Plan (SSLEP).

Firstly, the changes to the LEP were required by the NSW Government to provide similar planning instruments in all Councils in NSW. Local Councils were only allowed to make minor changes to the template provided by the State Government to address local conditions.

A Local Environment Plan is a legal instrument that imposes standards to control development. LEPs are also used to reserve land for open space, schools, transport or other public purposes as well as control advertising and protect trees and vegetation.

The Sutherland Shire Local Environment Plan controls the following areas:

  • Foreshore Building Line – The foreshore building line protects foreshore from intense development.
  • Bushfire – large parts of the Sutherland Shire are bushfire prone
  • Dual Occupancy – Dual occupancy and secondary dwellings are popular forms of residential development.
  • Lot sizes – Sets the pattern of development ensuring development can be accommodated on site.
  • Height – The bulk and scale of development is limited by the maximum height of buildings
  • Density – Density is controlled by the floor space ratio that sets an upper limit on building size.
  • Landscape area – This is an important control to maintain the tree and bushland character of the Shire.
  • Waterfront development – The types of development that are permissible along the waterfront

One of the significant changes proposed in the SSLEP is the Principal Development Standard as it relates to Dual Occupancy.  This change involved some of the following:

  • Changes to the floor space ratio calculation methods
  • The ability to use an internal lot for dual occupancy
  • The removal of the requirement for minimum lot widths and sizes
  • The ability to subdivide a lot after development of a dual occupancy

The Sutherland Shire LEP exists as a tool to guide and control the development in the Sutherland Shire.  Additional details regarding your property or zoning are available on the Sutherland Shire Council website.

If you are looking to purchase a specific property with the vision of making modifications or if you have a specific project in mind and need help understanding what you are and aren’t allowed to do, please contact Ruth Newman Architect.

by Ruth Newman