Proposed rezoning to provide an additional 150,000sqm gross floor area in City Centre

Change in density limits allowed by the incentive clause

Additional incentives will be offered to developers to further encourage the revitalisation of Gosford’s core commercial area.

Gosford Council has discussed a planning proposal that includes rezoning certain parcels of land in the CBD and providing new floor space and height incentives for projects zoned B3 Commercial Core.

A limited pool of additional floor space will be made available within the B3 Commercial Core zone subject to minimum site area, frontage, design criteria and provision of public benefit.

The zones in question are currently bounded by Faunce St, Henry Parry Dve, Donnison St and the railway line. However, the proposal also includes rezoning that would “shift” the commercial core of Gosford closer to the waterfront.

Blocks further from the waterfront that are currently zoned B3 will be rezoned to B4 and other blocks currently zoned B4 will be rezoned and made part of the B3 Commercial Core.

“To encourage applicants applying for additional floor space to act on their development approval, it is proposed to limit the application of the clause to two years and limit development consents to two years,” a report to the Tuesday, August 25 ordinary meeting of Gosford Council said.

The intended outcomes are to be achieved by making a series of amendments to the Gosford LEP 2014. The stated objective of the amendments is to “maintain and reinforce the regional city status of Gosford City Centre and provide a catalyst for the social and economic development of Gosford City Centre.”

The proposal will permit an additional 150,000 square metres of gross floor area in Gosford City Centre on land zoned B3 Commercial Core. It gives developers the ability to exceed height of building and floor space ratio provided they remain within stated restrictions in terms of street frontage and land area, for instance.

Height and floor space ratios can also be exceeded if the consent authority is satisfied that the cumulative total of gross floor space within the B3 Commercial Core zone above the maximum floor space permitted by the Gosford LEP 2014 won’t exceed 150,000 square metres in total.

The consent authority will also need to be convinced of the development’s design excellence, including landscape, interior, construction and historic preservation. The proposal also requires that no adverse relationship is created between the development and any others in relation to overshadowing, privacy, setbacks and visual amenity.

The development would also need to provide for retention of views to ridgelines from significant vantage points. Developments allowed greater height or floor space within the new pool will also need to prove they provide for significant improvements to the public domain and significant public benefit to the community.

The current 30 per cent bonus clause in height and floor space would cease to apply after April 2, 2016 and would be replaced with the new incentive clause. “Whilst some development has occurred in response to the Masterplan, this has mainly occurred in smaller scale residential development on the periphery of the city centre.

“Development in the Commercial Core and revitalisation of the city centre has been slower to eventuate. “Widespread investment is needed in residential and commercial buildings throughout the commercial core if it is to attain the critical mass to become self-sustaining.

“At this stage of revitalisation of the centre, early developers face higher commercial risks than investors who follow in the medium term, after investment confidence has been established by the economic success of the ‘early movers’.”

By allowing exceptions to development requirements, the developer is given a “value uplift” that makes developing in the B3 Commercial Core more attractive. This item was due for discussion at the general meeting of Gosford Council on Tuesday, August 25.

An adoption of the recommendation would result in commencement of a planning proposal to rezone identified properties in accordance with the report.

Agenda item, GOV.111
August 25, 2015
Gosford Council ordinary