Goulburn and region's strong housing and rental market is thought to be fuelling "over-development" of residential subdivisions.
Semi-detached and dual occupancy dwellings are increasingly springing up at Marys Mount and the Joseph's Gate subdivision on Taralga Road, the council says.
Planners contend the trend is putting pressure on infrastructure such as water and sewer, creating poor designs and negatively impacting on amenity.
They're looking to tighten controls through an amendment to a development control plan. It will raise the bar on road widths, require subdivision master plans and strengthen controls regarding privacy, open space and solar access.
The proposed change, to be placed on public exhibition, also introduces height limits for sheds and ancillary structures, prevents the same house design being used twice within three lots of another and includes additional design guidelines to ensure garages don't dominate the street frontage.
Master plans will have to consider the subdivision's impact if developed to its fullest extent. This contrasts with the current mechanism, which assumes one house per lot.
Several denser subdivisions have recently tested councillors. However planning laws did not prevent them.
Mayor Bob Kirk said councillors agreed something had to be done.
"We do understand that there is demand for these types of homes, whether for owner occupiers or renters, but the reality is that many of our new subdivisions are being exposed to over-development as this trend continues," he said in a statement.
"...We appreciate that developers want to maximise the residential side of development, but it is essential that road widths are maintained to ensure traffic safety, including provision of weekly waste collections. "
The amendment is designed to prevent over-development until a comprehensive review of housing and subdivision controls in the council's Local Environmental Plan and development control plan is undertaken. This is expected to take a year.
Planning director Scott Martin said with 100 hectares of undeveloped land at Marys Mount alone and residential zonings at Marulan, now was the time to act. In addition, more planning proposals from landowners were anticipated once the council's Urban and Fringe Housing Strategy was endorsed.
He told The Post that existing controls allowed semi-detached and dual occupancy in residential subdivisions but developers had not utilised them to the fullest extent until recently.
"That has played out in terms of things like road width, vehicle access, the ability for car parking to be absorbed on to the street but also the capacity of infrastructure to cope," he said.
"In (estates) like Teneriffe and Joseph's Gate we are really stretching infrastructure to the max very early in the subdivision's life."
He stressed that the council was not trying to stop such housing but ensure it happened in a "controlled and consistent way." He pointed out that the LEP and the Housing Strategy aimed to achieve diversity of homes.
Mr Martin suspected the region's attractiveness and affordability were driving the trend.
"The rental market in particular is quite strong and developers are catering for it," he said.
"We've seen the symptoms present themselves and now the question is how to address them. We've had some quite good discussions with developers...We've approached them and they've been willing to work together to make sure everyone gets a good outcome."
But as he told Deputy Mayor Peter Walker at Tuesday's council meeting, little else could be done about the already approved subdivisions.
The Housing Strategy estimates more than 6,000 new residents will move to Goulburn up until 2036, with the total LGA population expected to grow to 37,202.
The amendment to the Goulburn Mulwaree Development Control Plan 2009 will be placed on public exhibition for 28 days.
It is available on the council website, at the Goulburn Library and the Civic Centre in Bourke Street.
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