Council to draft an Affordable Housing Contributions Policy

Following a feasibility analysis for affordable housing contributions in the Bega Valley Shire, Council will develop an Affordable Housing Contributions Policy.

Council’s Director Community, Environment and Planning, Emily Harrison said the study found there is an opportunity for Council to levy affordable housing contributions in association with the rezoning of land in some circumstances.

“We know we have a significant shortage of affordable housing in the shire and the development of an Affordable Housing Contributions Policy is one small way we can contribute to increasing affordable housing into the future,” Ms Harrison said.

“The development of an Affordable Housing Contributions Policy will also contribute to the implementation of the Bega Valley Shire Affordable Housing Strategy.”

Affordable housing is housing rented to very low-, low- and moderate-income households, where the rent must be less than 30% of gross income. The housing must also be managed and maintained for continued use as affordable housing.

Affordable housing contributions can only be applied when additional development capacity is created by rezoning or amendments to planning controls (such as height of buildings or floor space ratio) in areas where there is an identified need for affordable housing and the contribution is demonstrably feasible.

For example, if a developer wanted to increase the permitted height of a building, the contribution would be a portion of the increase in the value of the development gained through the additional height.

“The study demonstrated that development is feasible in some circumstances in existing urban areas and in rezoned rural areas,” Ms Harrison said.

“As the market for higher density matures, the opportunity for affordable housing contributions will improve in the shire.

“Now that Councillors have agreed to develop an Affordable Housing Contributions Policy, the next step is to investigate the contribution rates for different scenarios and areas, as well as potential partnerships with community housing providers to determine how this would work in practice.

“Once a draft policy has been developed, it will be placed on public exhibition to enable community and industry feedback before it is finalised.”

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