Sustainable Settlements is proposing to modify the Ecovillage Structure Plan with changes that include:
- amending the zoning of our Cottage / Short-Stay lots to Tourism
- increasing the size of the Aged and Dependant Care Housing site to retain some existing trees
- increasing the density along Bussell Highway to facilitate clusters of smaller, more affordable dwellings (what we call ‘micro-clusters’)
- shifting a boundary between one Agricultural Lot and Ecovillage Commons on the east edge of the property.
The proposal was advertised in December and will be going to Council on 10 March. During the advertising period, there were a good number of submissions received of which about half were fully supportive and half had some reservations about certain aspects. We will certainly take all those comments under consideration in our decision-making process from here. If the Council votes in support, the modification will then be forwarded to the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) for final approval.
Some highlights of other planning initiatives currently underway:
- We are about to start work on refining the planning layout for Stages 4 and 5. This will be done working closely with our consultant civil engineer and taking into consideration all of the lessons learned so far (there are many!)
- We are currently working on an overall Local Planning Policy that will vary certain R-Code provisions over the entire site, which will make future Local Development Plans quicker as they won’t require WAPC approval.
- We are initiating the process of creating lots and titles for Stage 3, which has conditional subdivision approval already. We plan to release these lots for sale later this year.
- We’re revisiting the Village Centre and beginning to subdivide commercial lots and create titles. In addition, we will need to consider the required planning controls that will be documented in a Village Centre Local Development Plan.
- This year we will work with the Shire to review the Developer Contribution Plan for Witchcliffe, which was based on very different assumptions (2012) than are occurring now. This will likely include some community consultation to confirm how these per lot fees (from new developments) should be spent to improve the infrastructure of the local community.
- In order to ensure that we have the right amount of parking for the Village Centre (too little is problematic and too much kills the vibe), we will work with the Shire to develop a comprehensive parking strategy for the Village Centre that identifies parking bays in public streets and spaces, and allocates them to particular commercial sites, relieving them of the need to provide as much on-site parking. This makes new developments more viable and also creates a better, more vibrant atmosphere within the Village Centre.