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November 2019

From the Commission Chair...

Earlier this month I gave an important briefing to South Australia’s Cabinet members on the draft Planning and Design Code. The main point I wanted our parliamentary representatives to take away was that this first generation of the Planning and Design Code is largely about transitioning and consolidating existing contemporary policy from individual council development plans into the Code.

Although the Commission has identified a few exceptions where policy reform is needed now, our efforts are principally directed at implementing a new system which supports further improvements and facilitates quality planning in the future. Most importantly, the implementation of the Code on 1 July 2020 is not the conclusion of the reform process – but marks the beginning of a new and improved planning and development system for South Australia.

One of the areas where concerns have been raised is heritage and character. It is extremely pleasing that the Minister for Planning announced at the recent Local Government Association AGM that he was reconvening the Expert Panel on Planning Reform to provide clarity on their original heritage recommendations as well as undertake a review of the changes proposed in the Code by the Commission. The Minister will release this advice once the Expert Panel has completed its review. We are also pleased to advise that several local heritage Development Plan Amendments (DPAs) have now been received from councils looking to upgrade contributory items to local heritage status. These DPAs will be formally assessed by a specially convened Heritage Panel of independent heritage experts.

As consultation comes to a close on Phase Two of the draft Planning and Design Code, I’d like to say thank you to those who have provided constructive and helpful feedback during our extensive rural and metro visits. This is a genuine consultation and I want to reassure you that all feedback will be reviewed and considered by the Commission. I appreciate that some organisations and individuals would have preferred a longer consultation period but the provision of your feedback by 29 November 2019 will assist in the implementation of the ePlanning system. I look forward to hearing more productive feedback as the Phase Three draft Code consultation period continues.

Michael Lennon
Chair, State Planning Commission

Message from the Executive Director

I’m keen to share some of the feedback we have been receiving on the draft Code following the 180+ engagement activities we have conducted across the state in October and November. Whilst these visits provided an opportunity to see and experience some of South Australia’s beautiful rural areas they have also enabled us to better understand the planning needs of local communities and how to work collaboratively with local councils to get the best policy outcomes in the Code.

Notwithstanding individual and council requests, we have in general heard that the Code document is very large and formatting and structure is difficult to digest – we acknowledge that the Code is not perfect and there has been some errors in the document released for consultation, however reducing 23,000 pages to one code is an enormously ambitious task. We also accept it is difficult to read a Code that is designed for an electronic planning system and have provided additional information on how to use the mapping tool in response to consultation requests. There are also two documents on the SA Planning Portal that are essential reading: the Detailed Guide to the Code aimed at planning practitioners and the Community Guide to the Code. I urge you to download these guides to inform your understanding of the Code and the new planning system.

During our visits we also heard that the concept of Technical and Numerical Variations in the Code is generally supported as a tool to retain local Council policy variations; that everyone is keen to understand the Code amendment process and ePlanning timeframes; that heritage and character plus urban infill remain hot topics of discussion along with flood mapping. Many of these topics will be addressed in the What We Have Heard report which will be published following the close of Phase Two consultation.

In closing I’d like to congratulate the Office of Local Government for their consultation on local government reform. In total, 170 surveys were completed and over 80 submissions with more than 700 ideas were received. A summary of the local government reform submissions is now available on the Local Government website. Following consideration of the comments, the Government will develop a draft Local Government Reform Bill for release in early 2020.

Sally Smith
Executive Director, Team PLUS

Code Consultation Update

Our Planning and Design Code consultation continues at pace with over 110 engagement activities conducted in October and a further 90+ activities scheduled before the end of the year. These activities include one-on-one meetings with the Mayors and Chief Executives of each council, meetings with council and DPTI planners, elected member briefings and community information sessions across the State. Check out our events calendar on the SA Planning Portal to see where an event is being held near you. The Planning and Design Code Engagement Plan will also be updated to provide additional information and details about the Phase Three consultation program incorporating lessons we have learned from the Phase Two consultation period.

Consultation closing on Phase Two Code

Public consultation on Phase Two of the draft Planning and Design Code closes today, Friday 29 November 2019 at midnight. For those interested in this phase we encourage you to provide a submission (preferably via the SA Planning Portal) to ensure you have a say on policy that relates to the rural areas of the Code which will be implemented in April 2020.

However, it is important to note that some parts of the Phase Two draft Code are replicated in the Phase Three draft Code (i.e. those Zones and Overlays that apply across regional and urban areas). Therefore:

  • submissions received during the Phase Two consultation period that are also relevant to policy within the Phase Three draft Code, will also be taken into account as part of the Phase Three consultation
  • the Phase Two Code may be altered as a result of the Phase Three consultation process.

You may still lodge a submission in respect to any part of the Phase Three draft Code (including parts that were also contained in the Phase Two draft Code) up until 28 February 2020.

Phase Three Code Update

As part of the public consultation process the State Planning Commission intends to release a document before the end of the year that identifies changes it proposes to the Phase Three draft Code in response to feedback received during October and November.

This document will be accompanied by updated Classification Tables and Historic Area Statements and Character Area Statements. It will also address Technical and Numeric Variations that are inconsistent with development plans and other issues that have been raised with the Phase Three draft Code. The document will afford the public an opportunity to make submissions on these changes during the Phase Three draft Code consultation process.

Have your say on heritage statements

Currently there are around 140 different Historic Conservation Zones and similar areas across the state, each with different rules. Under the new planning system it is proposed that all of these zones and areas will transition across to a Historic Area Overlay. The Overlay will bring equality and fairness to the planning system and to land owners, regardless of where they live.

To support the introduction of the Historic Area Overlay, Historic Area Statements are proposed to be included in the Code to help clearly identify and articulate key elements of local importance.

Historic Area Statements for the Phase Two draft Code were made available on the SA Planning Portal on 4 November 2019 as part of the Phase Two public consultation. In response to feedback the date for submissions relating to these Statements has been extended to 6 December 2019. Submissions can be lodged via the SA Planning Portal. Further information has been provided to affected Phase Two councils and land owners.

The Statements relevant to Phase Three are currently being drafted in partnership with participating councils and will be released for consultation in December until 28 February 2020. Affected Phase Three land owners with properties located within a Historic Area Overlay will be directly notified via letter.

Renewables Forum

Are you interested in understanding more about the proposed changes to renewable energy policies in the new planning system? The draft Planning and Design Code allows for creative and innovative responses to energy demand and supply while addressing potential impacts on the community and environment.

A community information session on the proposed renewable energy policies in the Code is planned for 4 December 2019 at Eudunda, commencing at 6.00 pm. The session will provide an opportunity to understand how existing renewable energy policies are being updated in the Code to keep pace with new and more efficient energy infrastructure.

To register your attendance visit the SA Planning Portal events calendar. If you can’t make this session you can still have your say on the State Planning Commission’s Renewable Energy Discussion Paper which remains on consultation until 28 February 2020.

Harnessing Automation

The Planning Reform team is always looking for new and innovative ways of solving problems - a search that has led to harnessing the power of Robotic Process Automation to complete high volume, repetitive tasks that would take hundreds of staff hours to complete.

Our first foray into engaging robotic assistance was to identify and compare local content contained in all 72 existing Development Plans. A task that would have taken months of effort if undertaken manually, shortened to a mere ten minutes.

Following this successful application we are now using automation to streamline the submission administration process for Phase Two and Phase Three draft Planning and Design Code consultation. As submissions are received our robot analyses, categorises and tags the content, saves copies into category folders and sends an advice to the category lead. Instead of spending hours on administrative tasks our team can focus on the complex submission review activities that require judgement and critical thinking.

Amending the Code

An Introductory Guide on Amending the Code has now been published on the SA Planning Portal to assist Planning Practitioners in understanding this new process. In recognition that this process is not significantly different to existing processes, the Guide concentrates on areas where there is change. In addition Practice Direction 2: Preparation and Amendment of Designated Instruments has been uploaded on the SA Planning Portal and includes requirements for the preparation of a Code Amendment.

Prior to the introduction of the Phase Two Code, a toolkit will be made available on the SA Planning Portal alongside opportunities for practitioner training. We welcome feedback on the Guide via

Have your say on Lonsdale DPA

A new Development Plan Amendment (DPA) has been released on public consultation by the Planning Minister. The Lonsdale Residential DPA proposes to rezone a 12 hectare site of vacant land, located between the SA Water desalination plant (Sigma Road) and residential development in Hallett Cove (Bolingbroke Road), to allow for low to medium density residential development. The DPA is on consultation until Wednesday 18 December 2019.

The DPA also seeks to rezone approximately six hectares of adjacent land to the west owned by the City of Marion from Open Space to Coastal Conservation Zone, providing consistent zoning for the Hallett Headland Coastal Reserve.

Are you Accredited?

There are currently 178 building and planning accredited professionals fully registered on the Accredited Professionals Register with a further 50 draft applications waiting to be finalised by applicants. Applicants seeking accreditation as a building or planning professionals can apply by creating an account and submitting an online application. Details on how to apply can be found on the SA Planning Portal.

Two Advisory Notes have been disseminated to building accredited professionals clarifying practitioner’s responsibilities to hold reasonable and adequate insurance and private certifiers holding the appropriate qualifications to act under Development Act 1993 and Development Regulations 2008. Further details on the Advisory Notices can be found on the SA Planning Portal.

Co-Housing Workshop

The State Planning Commission together with the University of South Australia and the Office of Aging Well has joined a cross council partnership project involving the City of Unley, Burnside, Prospect and Walkerville to look at housing options for older South Australians wanting to downsize in their neighbourhood.

A two hour community workshop held at the Unley Town Hall on Friday 6 December will provide council residents with the opportunity to consider several co-housing design studies and provide their input into this innovative project. For more information or to register go to the Co-Housing Workshop page on Eventbrite.

PIA Award for Code team

Photo Credit: PIA SA

On Friday 15 November at the Planning Institute of Australia Awards for Planning Excellence 2019, the Planning and Design Code Writing Team received the SA President’s Award for outstanding contribution to urban and regional planning in South Australia. The award acknowledges the team’s “enormous commitment and dedication to the planning profession”. In rising to this challenge the team’s efforts and passion for good planning values has been duly recognised. Congratulations team!

Annual Reports now available

The 2018-19 Annual Reports for the State Planning Commission as well as the Administration of the Development Act 1993 are now available online following their tabling in both houses of Parliament.

The Annual Report on the Administration of the Development Act 1993, 2018-19 includes a summary of key planning system indicators including changes to the planning framework, development plans and the building rules plus an overview of the Planning and Development Fund expenditure.

The State Planning Commission Annual Report 2018-2019 outlines the performance of the Commission and its Committees in delivering against its five key priorities for 2018-19. Copies can be downloaded from the SA Planning Portal Resources library.

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Page last modified Tuesday, 13 August 2019