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  • Writer's pictureJason Stephenson

UPDATED AEROTROPOLIS EXHIBITION DOCUMENTS: THE BREAKDOWN

The recent updated Western Sydney Aerotropolis Exhibition documents that were made public on Friday 8thOctober 2021 have left us all with a lot of information and reading to do and quite frankly…jargon. BUT, there is light at the end of this overwhelming tunnel.


A bit about me:

First, I would like to introduce myself, my name is Jason, I have spent most of my life in Western Sydney and like so many of you, have seen the many changes taking place in that time, none however, so rapid as the way these plans were laid out. I am a father of 2 and live locally. Throughout my 17 year career I have been a surveyor, an engineer, a consultant, a manager, a developer and now a business owner. My company Land Evolution offers landowner services such as development advice, joint ventures and DA’s and Planning.


When the first draft of the Aerotropolis documents went on display I was active in the community talking with residents and industry professionals to understand the information from multiple perspectives. We spoke with many residents who felt put out and worried about what these plans meant for them. We worked tirelessly to synthesise all the information in order to create unique technical submissions for landowners to argue as to why their land should not be Open Green Space. If we honestly thought that there was very little chance that the landowner would get the outcome they were looking for we sought to ask for fair and equitable compensation for acquisition and again argued this position from a technical perspective. With the release of the latest documents we are pleased to see that most of our clients have received the outcome we had hoped for them. Over this weekend we have continued to synthesise the information that has been released. I hope to share this information with you to ensure that landowners are aware and have more clarity around what these new documents mean. I have had a number of emails and phone calls from people I haven’t touched base with before and I’m happy to help. Please reach out if you feel confused, let me decipher the jargon for you.


General interpretation of documents on exhibition


For this blog I have assumed that most people reading this are landowners that intend to sell their property in the future, not develop it. Based on this I have provided a general summary:


The following documents have been released and can be accessed here:


· Open Space Needs Study

o Based on the number of submissions objecting to the volume of open space, a study was conducted to review the need for open space and rationalise it. This report sets out what was done and the changes to open space. If you were impacted by open space under the Precinct Plan, then this is an essential read.


· Explanation of Intended Effects

o This details the changes on exhibition. The most important part of this is the changes to the Aerotropolis State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP). This document sets out land zoning and areas to be acquired. This is the most important document as it sets out the proposed legislative change. If you only read one document, read this one.


· Draft Development Control Plan (DCP)

o The DCP sets out the controls on future development. This can be a very difficult read for people without development expertise. It sets out building & development controls such as setbacks, materials, colours etc. While it will affect the cost to develop, which in turn affects the price of land, I don’t think that it is essential for most landowners to understand this. It is a general document that applies to the entire aerotropolis and in most circumstances I would leave it for developers to interpret and write submissions.


· Responding to issues report

o This report addresses the submissions made to the draft precinct plans, the review process that followed, and how they plan to address the main issues raised. It is a good read, but just explains things, it is not a legislative change.


· Luddenham Discussion Paper

o This document outlines plans for the Luddenham Village only. I haven’t been contacted by anyone through this area yet so will not discuss it here.



To interpret these documents, it is critical that we differentiate between “Zoning” and “Land Use”

· “Zoning” forms part of the SEPP (State Environment Planning Policy)

· “Land Use” is shown in the Precinct Plan


Where a lot of confusion has come in, is that the land was “Zoned” in 2020 under the original aerotropolis SEPP however, the proposed “Land Use” in the Draft Precinct Plans on exhibition through early 2021 conflicted with this “zoning”. For Example, someone might have been “zoned” mixed use under the SEPP, but open space was identified as a “Land Use” on their land under the Draft Precinct Plans.


One of the biggest changes proposed under the documents on exhibition is to align zonings with land use to avoid confusion.


It is also important to understand that these documents are not an amendment to the Precinct Plans. The changes in the Explanation of Intended Effects actually sit above the Precinct Plans at the SEPP level. Amended Precinct Plans are due to go on exhibition in December this year.


To keep this summary simple, we have only addressed changes covered in the Open Space needs study and the Explanation of Intended Effects, as these documents address 90% of the queries we are receiving.


Open Space Needs Study

Long story short, it was found that the open space requirements identified in the Draft Precinct Plans that were on exhibition earlier this year were found to be overly onerous. As such over 40% of open space areas were reduced. The areas that are no longer open space are orange in Image One below. For the most part, these areas will revert to their current zoning (mixed use, agribusiness, enterprise etc.) not rural.


The other major change is that the government has committed to acquisition of all areas considered Open Space, including infrastructure such as drainage. This is good because it gives everyone comfort that they will not be stuck with land that they cannot sell or move on for whatever reason.




Confusion

There has been considerable confusion in that some areas have gone back to rural zoning. These areas are shown red in Image 2 below and sit entirely outside the initial Aerotropolis precincts.




These areas were identified as Environmental Recreation however, it has since been determined that because they sit outside the initial precinct, the zoning unnecessarily impacted people earlier than it needed to. Because of this they have been reverted to rural zoning to facilitate land use until future zoning of the Rossmore & Kemps Creek Precincts progress.




Explanation of Intended Effects

As far as we can tell, all land within the initial precincts will now either be zoned for development use or earmarked for government acquisition. This is aimed to give people certainty around what they can do with their land.


It is also proposed to align “zoning” with future “land use”. The proposed zoning is in the Image 3 below. It appears that all green & yellow land is earmarked for government acquisition, all other areas are zoned for development.



The final road network and details on how it will be developed won’t be released until December with the revised precinct plans.


Please note that this advice is very general in nature and may not apply to your land. We encourage you to get in touch with us to discuss your individual circumstances.




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