The Garden City variations to the Territory Plan (2002) were largely a reaction to poorly designed dual occupancy and multi-unit town house style redevelopment that had been occurring in an ad hoc manner across established suburbs. This policy curtails the opportunities for small scale townhouse development on amalgamated blocks to residential areas close to shopping centres (zoned RZ2), even though there are many blocks in the remainder of the residential area (RZ1) that are quite suitable for higher density redevelopment.
There has been insufficient development of compact townhouses with manageable gardens to provide an opportunity for ageing baby-boomers to downsize within their neighbourhoods.
O'CONNOR DUAL OCCUPANCY
Dual occupancies can exceed 90m², but there are more stringent rules that apply. For instance, unless both houses face the street, the plot ratio is subject to a sliding scale ranging from 35% for smaller blocks down to 22% for large blocks, making much of this type of development unviable. There are also rules governing private outdoor space and car parking. The blocks cannot be unit-titled. These restrictions ensure that dual occupancies make a limited contribution to housing choice in Canberra.
Despite numerous submissions calling for more innovation and redevelopment opportunity, a policy was enacted to only allow unit titled dual occupancy on single surrendered blocks (where neighbouring blocks are not allowed the same privilege). The resultant development is producing a less than ideal form of urban consolidation. An opportunity was missed to amalgamate blocks that could produce small scale townhouse developments (say six units on a pair of adjoining Mr Fluffy blocks).
These three remediated blocks in Weston could have been amalgamated to provide compact townhouses.