3 June 2024

Have your say on the future of housing in the Eurobodalla Shire

| Claire Sams
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The draft strategy is looking at how housing can be improved for short- and long-term residents of the Eurobodalla Shire. Photo: Supplied.

Eurobodalla Shire Council (ESC) is calling on people to give their thoughts on a draft plan for the Eurobodalla Shire’s housing stock – including what they think needs to change.

The draft Eurobodalla Housing Strategy 2024-2041 has four key goals: to evaluate the region’s housing supply, to diversify the kinds of available dwellings, to increase affordability for renters and homeowners, and to ensure housing is located where it is needed in the shire.

ESC manager of strategic planning Viv Straw said the shire was full of single houses on large blocks.

“Apartments, townhouses and villas, and shop-top living are ways we can encourage housing availability through infill,” he said.

“Developing a contributions policy for larger developments toward affordable housing – that could be financial contributions or voluntary planning agreements. These are both actions listed in the draft strategy.”

The strategy suggests changing height limits to increase urban infill in some areas, while respecting the character of towns.

According to the strategy, there are limited multi-unit or apartment high-rise buildings in the shire, with the proposal seen as a way to increase the type of housing in the region.

“In the draft strategy, we’re proposing a precinct-level approach – town by town – expanding on the types of housing available at each while taking in local factors like access to public space, heritage value, settlement character, changing demographics and climate change,” said Mr Straw.

“We need a capacity review of the three town centres – Batemans Bay, Moruya and Narooma – and their ability to cater for larger populations, capitalising on existing services and infrastructure.”

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The draft strategy acknowledges that not all homes built in Eurobodalla Shire will increase housing stock for full-time residents, with some dwellings to be holiday homes or otherwise unoccupied.

Canberrans with second homes in the shire mostly have a home located in Batemans Bay while second home ownership for people from Sydney and Melbourne is centred around Narooma.

Mayor Mathew Hatcher said housing prices had doubled since 2020.

“To meet Eurobodalla’s population growth we need around 310 residences each year. We can meet that using existing allocated land and planning controls. But these single homes on large blocks rely on expensive infrastructure, particularly in light of increasing flood, fire and environmental concerns,” he said.

“This draft strategy is an opportunity to use planning regulations to fill current gaps in the market, with cheaper and denser housing options that saves building into our bush or beaches.

“What we need to know from you is the conditions you think housing growth can continue and where.”

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Mr Hatcher said everyone was invited to have their say.

“It’s important because an endorsed strategy means council can update its processes to promote more types of housing, meeting the needs of residents in a way that harmonises with the natural beauty of our shire,” he said.

“We all realise that housing is an issue nationally; policy and planning at all levels of government combine with tighter economic and chain-supply constraints for builders and developers to make affordable housing a problem. Council’s role is limited to planning rules, approvals processes and advocacy.

“We want to be sure we’re heading in the right direction. Even if you only read the first couple of pages – the summary and table of actions, both very clear – you’ll have a good understanding of what we’re proposing and if you agree with it.”

The draft strategy also proposes working with social and affordable housing providers to increase their capacity.

The public can comment on the draft Eurobodalla Housing Strategy 2024-2041 by visiting council’s public exhibition webpage. Hard copies of the strategy are also available at council’s customer service office at Moruya, and at Batemans Bay, Moruya and Narooma libraries.

Submissions close at 4:30 pm on 10 July.

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