A revised draft housing strategy for Goulburn Mulwaree has found what a developer has argued from the beginning.
The 400-page document by Elton Consulting has identified opportunities for large lot residential blocks, typically above 2ha, on Goulburn's fringes.
Both Goulburn and Marulan have enough residential land for immediate needs, but the former will exhaust stocks within the next two to five years if present growth continues, the study states.
The city will need an extra 2636 homes by 2036 to cater for 28,938 people and the Shire, 3359 more houses for an extra 6941 people.
It also finds the need to provide a variety of housing, including units and smaller homes to cater for dwindling household size, and larger ones with acreage.
In Goulburn, the majority of rural residential subdivision has occurred on the southern and western fringes.
"In the past decade, 290 lots have been created through subdivisions in this area, of which 200 dwellings have been approved or had a development application lodged," the document states.
"This represents an uptake of 70 per cent and demonstrates a consistent demand for land on the urban fringe."
The authors have identified four areas for additional large lot residential development. These are at Run-O-Waters, Gorman Road, Mount Gray and Brisbane Grove, totalling 1003ha and accommodating an estimated 352 homes.
It's no surprise to developer Judy Micallef.
The former Goulburn Mulwaree councillor's family company has been arguing since 2014 that its 277ha off Mountain Ash Road, pegged by its former owner for the Southern Distribution hub, should be rezoned from its dominant RU1 primary production zone to allow for rural residential. It started with a planning proposal that was returned to the council to investigate demand for rural residential lots between 2ha and 20ha before anything could proceed.
Mrs Micallef told Tuesday night's council meeting that this didn't go ahead at the time due to a "lack of resources."
Then, the first draft Housing Strategy commissioned by the council failed to address rural residential land. The revised draft, completed after a flood of public submissions, took it into account after many expressed a "strong desire" for its inclusion," a report to councillors stated.
On Tuesday, Mrs Micallef congratulated the council for listening.
She told The Post that people wanted housing choice.
"Murrumbateman, for example, is cost prohibitive for a lot of people," she said.
"We're (Goulburn) in a position where we can provide a country lifestyle at an affordable price...For us it's more about identifying the need just as we did at the Run-O-Waters estate. We did two (subsequent) stages and they sold off the plan straight away, without advertising.
"...I feel we concentrate too much on small lot residential. It's very affordable and that's great but it's not for everybody."
Mrs Micallef said she was surprised that the strategy's first draft didn't include rural lands and branded it "narrow thinking."
But there's a way to go yet. The second draft still has to be placed on public exhibition, finalised and then win state government endorsement. A planning proposal to rezone and subdivide the family's land parcel, and any others, would then have to be approved.
I feel we concentrate too much on small lot residential. It's very affordable and that's great but it's not for everybody.Judy Micallef
But Mrs Micallef is at least pleased that rural block demand has been addressed.
The council's strategic planning business manager Kate Wooll said the initial draft was largely based on existing capacity within the urban fringe and the "inefficient use of land." Its parameters followed the guidelines of metropolitan strategies which were mostly based on proximity to infrastructure.
"But as a result of the submissions we decided to go through Goulburn precinct by precinct and identify all the opportunities and constraints so we can say what areas we have for immediate urban expansion and those that are long-term ones and if we use it all up, identify urban areas that are highly unlikely to be developed due to infrastructure costs and sites that can then be considered for rural residential," she said.
Proposed rural residential zones are just one aspect of a broader ranging document.
Council general manager Warwick Bennett said the strategy had cost $133,000 over the past two years.
"This includes significant ecological work which is essential for the strategy to have certainty when being approved by State Government," he said.
Out for comment soon
Meantime, the accidental omission of a detailed public submission has delayed the public release of the Draft Urban and Fringe Housing Strategy.
The matter was an agenda item at Tuesday night's council meeting. However one of the numerous submissions was inadvertently left out in a second compilation of the business paper and was only discovered just before the meeting
Strategic planning business manager Kate Wooll explained that as it was a detailed response, it needed to be presented for councillors' consideration.
As such, councillors deferred discussion on the Strategy until the October 15 meeting. It will then be placed on public exhibition for a minimum eight weeks for another round of public submissions before being sent to the state government for endorsement.
Despite the delay, Judy Micallef and Goulburn man Trevor Lloyd spoke during open forum about the study. Mr Lloyd called for greater analysis of housing targets in the study.
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