Community Titles Policy and Guidelines Approved

Policy and Guidelines are good news for developers using community title for their sites

The Policy and Guidelines establish a flexible approach and take a practical position that is very beneficial for the community title developers that Lavan is currently advising.

DPLH and WAPC should be commended for listening to feedback from stakeholders and taking a practical interpretation of the Community Titles Act 2018 that will ensure community title is an attractive subdivision and development option for developers.

Policy and Guidelines provide important information for a CDS

A community development statement (CDS) is a new type of planning instrument that outlines how a community scheme will be developed and subdivided.

The Policy and Guidelines:

  • list the key information developers and planners need to prepare a compliant CDS; and
  • contain a template CDS: see Appendix 1 in the Guidelines.

Highlighted below are the key positions outlined in the Policy and Guidelines. 

If a CDS refers to a DA granted by the SDAU, the DA overrides the local planning scheme

If a CDS refers to a development approval (DA) granted by the State Development Assessment Unit (SDAU) or a Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP), the provisions in the DA are considered to be consistent with the local planning scheme. In other words, an DA granted by the SDAU, when referred to in a CDS, overrides the local planning scheme: see item 5.1.7 in the Policy.

WAPC can waive requirements for a local structure plan

WAPC will consider waiving other planning instruments, such as a local structure plan, in some circumstances, including where the CDS provides sufficient detail to guide subdivision and development of the site: see item 4.4 in the Guidelines.

Minor variation from a local planning scheme is permitted within a CDS

One of the major concerns developers previously had with community title is that the CDS needs to “not conflict with the local planning scheme”.

The Policy adopts a practical and flexible approach towards what will “not conflict with the local planning scheme” means.

A minor variation from the local planning scheme is permitted within a CDS in some circumstances: see item 5.1.4 in the Policy. Examples of such a variation as provided in the Policy include that the local planning scheme has setbacks of 10 metres but the CDS can have a 7 metre setback.

Lots and open space can count towards the public open space contribution

Lots and common property that are retained in private ownership but have a public access easement registered against them can be considered by the WAPC as part of the public open space contribution: see item 5.1.22 in the Policy.

This is a major concession by the WAPC and makes community title for development sites such as some of the development lots in Elizabeth Quay and adjacent to shopping centres more attractive.

DA first and then CDS is permitted

A community development statement may refer to any current DA: item 6.4.2 in the Policy and item 4.1 in the Guidelines.

Other key points – CDS can be very short

Key Technical information, such as a Traffic Report, can be attached to the CDS. In other words, the CDS could be a relatively short document that attaches copies of existing technical and planning documents.

Where reference is made to the application of the Residential Design Codes for a community scheme, an applicant may choose to apply a performance based approach: see item 5.1.9 in the Policy.

Using community title to deliver the best outcomes

If you think community title may deliver the best outcomes for your development site, please contact Sean Macfarlane, Tim Morgan or Craig Wallace at Lavan.

Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.