The NSW Government is seeking feedback on a package of reforms to fast-track more types of low-impact, complying development in business and industrial zones.
Complying development provides a streamlined approval pathway for development that complies with the building and planning controls specified in the Codes SEPP and can be approved by an accredited certifier.
The NSW Government has received feedback that the current settings for industrial and commercial development are complex and not up-to-date. In response, the NSW Government has proposed a package of reforms to the Codes SEPP, known as “Building Business Back Better”.
The reform package focuses on business, industrial, neighbourhood and local centre zones and covers the key areas discussed below.
Land use and business agility
Under the Codes SEPP, the first use of a business or industrial building for most permitted land uses is complying development. In contrast, there is a more limited list of changes of use that can be carried out as complying development.
The reform package proposes to introduce a single list of land uses that is applicable to both first use and change of use. This list would include some land uses that cannot currently be carried out as complying development, including indoor recreational facilities, local distribution premises and entertainment facilities.
This would allow for complying development certificates to permit a change of use to a permissible land use that is listed in the Codes SEPP, regardless of the existing use of the land.
Zone-based building controls
DPIE considers that the current provisions of the Codes SEPP have not kept pace with the evolving requirements of the industrial, warehousing and logistics sector, which has the most opportunity for growth in NSW.
In response, the reform package proposes to make the following changes:
- increasing the building height in industrial zones to 18m (overriding any lower control in a local environmental plan);
- increasing the allowable building footprint in general and heavy industrial zones to 50,000m²; and
- introducing a complying development pathway for new-build commercial development in zones B5 (Business Development), B6 (Enterprise Corridor) and B7 (Business Park).
Supporting neighbourhood and local centres
The reform package proposes the following reforms to support neighbourhood and local centres:
- allowing a wider range of land uses to be complying development in zones B1 (Neighbourhood Centre) and B2 (Local Centre);
- introducing standard hours of operation from 7am to 10pm, irrespective of existing consent conditions; and
- increasing seating allowances for food and drink premises from 50 to 100 seats.
DPIE is consulting on a new pathway for a local council to specify complying development upfront in a masterplan for industrial or business zones. This pathway aims to provide a simpler and faster approval process that would be in addition to the existing ability for local councils to specify complying development under their local environmental plans.
DPIE is consulting on a potential new complying development pathway in the Codes SEPP for data centres that do not trigger the thresholds for potentially hazardous development, designated development or an environmental protection licence. Technical standards relating to noise, air quality, fuel and batteries for data centres are also proposed as part of the reform package.
Circular economy facilities
The reform package seeks to promote circular economy uses by proposing complying development pathways for the following types of development provided that the need for an environmental protection licence is not triggered:
- council-run community recycling drop-off centres on any public land; and
- community circular economy facilities (that is, places for the collection, repair and redistribution of household goods) in any industrial zone and any zone where retail premises are permitted.
If you would like to comment on the reform package, you can make a submission on DPIE’s website.
Submissions will close after 9 May 2021. If you would like any assistance to make a submission, please get in touch with us.
By Peter Briggs, Partner, Daniel Webster, Senior Associate, Tom Dougherty, Senior Associate and Zhongwei Wang, Solicitor
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