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Affordable Housing: Council officers are still negotiating with the Department of Planning and Infrastructure on how the draft WLEP (see November Gazette) - particularly its affordable housing (AH) provisions - conforms to the standard LEP template. According to general manager Nick Tobin last month, June timing for gazettal has been delayed most likely until August. Currently, WCC requires 4% of floor space to AH, or contribution, for essential workers such as school teachers, police, firemen, nurses, etc who cannot otherwise afford to live in the local area but work in Artarmon and other Willoughby local government areas.

Council has requested the NSW government, after it removed the councils program for housing in 2009 under the state environment planning policy (SEPP), for agreement to continue its existing AH policy.

The draft WLEP 2009 proposes also to exclude the AH unit area from the floor space ratio calculation if council is satisfied a development incorporating AH will not cause adverse impacts on adjoining properties such as overshadowing, bulk and scale.

But former NSW Planning Minister Tony Kelly said he was not "prepared to support" council's request because the AH policy did not conform to the state environment planning policy for AH (AHSEPP) which "relies on incentives, rather than impose contributions, to provide AH".

The Gazette understands since 2009, Willoughby has had only one AH application determined (by approval) and there are two outstanding applications, one of which is close to Artarmon, in Talus Street, Naremburn, which only has three out of 13 units earmarked as AH.

Channel 9 site: At this stage, the Channel 9 project appears to be at a standstill. According to WCC environmental services director Greg Woodhams, after council officers again approached the consultants representing Nine Entertainment Co, they were advised the project's current status was unchanged and that the company was still focussing on its other business activities. At this stage, the consultants had not been instructed to proceed any further with the Channel 9 site's design and planning. Yet, the NSW Government still considers plans for the development too far advanced to be repealed from Part 3A of the planning laws and returned to council.

Council wins: WCC' was awarded a Green Globe Award on July 26 by the NSW Government - the second of probably more to come - for its sustainability initiatives, which includes a first for an Australian local council, the installation of a 165kW co-generation system at the Leisure Centre which will save 600t of greenhouse gas emissions and about $40,000 a year in energy bills.

by Eva Wiland Artarmon Gazette editor

Courtesy of Gazette August 2011
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