The Witchcliffe Ecovillage will be a diverse community with a range of housing and accommodation options for everyone regardless of whether you’re an owner occupier, holidaying owner, tenant, tourist or backpacker.
The policies, zoning and rules that govern short stay accommodation in particular can be tricky to navigate and are made and enforced at a regional level by the planning department at the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River. Ecovillage residents must adhere to the Shire’s Local Planning Scheme No 1 when considering how they can use their lot, in addition to the Ecovillage strata by-laws, which pertain only to the Ecovillage.
‘Holiday Houses’ in clusters 1A and 2A
There are just nine remaining residential lots for sale in clusters 1A and 2A that lie within 50m of the Village Centre, which means they can be denoted as a ‘Holiday House’ use in the Shire’s Local Planning Scheme for up to three months in a year.
No other primary residence or ancillary dwelling in the Ecovillage may be rented out for short stay accommodation. There are additional caveats to this in the Shire’s policy and in the Ecovillage strata by-laws, which you should read in more detail if you are considering this. However, if you are interested in finding out more about these special lots, which offer flexibility and additional income potential from your home, please email us on [email protected]
‘Bed and Breakfast’
‘Bed and Breakfast’ is allowed in any home within the Ecovillage. ‘Bed and Breakfast’ has its own definition in the Shire’s policy. Rooms available for short stay guests must be located within the main house (not an ancillary dwelling) and the owner/occupier must reside within the property at all times. Again, check the Shire’s policy for further details.
Long term rental homes (for tenants and investors)
As a land developer, Sustainable Settlements is not planning to build out any long-term rental homes. However, we are acutely aware of the shortage of long-term rentals in the region at the moment and are encouraging of investors who wish to buy lots and build rental homes to support our local community. The Groupie Lot Eligibility Criteria does not apply to investors who plan to rent the home out long term. We are also keeping an informal list of interested tenants with whom we are happy to connect to investors when the time is right.
While there is no rental data available yet in the Ecovillage, the feedback we are receiving from independent valuers is that Ecovillage lots are well priced and a solid investment. The Ecovillage is in a unique position to take advantage of the interest in sustainable living, the increasing focus on low carbon building and renewable energy, the flight to the regions of city-dwellers, and a rising real estate market.
If you are an investor or a potential tenant and are interested in an Ecovillage lot, please send us an email at [email protected]
Tourism zoned short stay accommodation
The Shire (and subsequently the WAPC) is currently considering the Ecovillage’s application to amend the zoning of 44 lots that are currently zoned ‘Residential’ (and denoted in brown on the Concept Master Plan) to ‘Tourism’ to allow for more short stay accommodation. If approved, these lots will join the 10 tourism lots on the north edge of the Village Square precinct that are denoted in dark blue on the master plan. You can read more about this in Jeff’s town planning article.
In the future, we will have an Ecovillage real estate and property management agency to provide a complete management service of these short stay rental houses.
In addition to these single dwellings, we are planning to build a boutique backpackers hotel on the west edge of the Village Square in later stages of the Ecovillage. Given the impact of COVID, which has dramatically reduced the number of backpackers in Margaret River, we are hoping things will return to normal soon so we can welcome them back to stay in the Ecovillage.
If you have further questions, check our FAQs page on the Ecovillage website, which has answers to many of the common questions regarding rentals of all types, as well as links to the relevant AMR Shire planning documents. Of course, you can always contact us on [email protected] or call the office on (08) 9757 6688.