Item 9.6 - Attachment 1
The Parramatta Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2001 and the Parramatta City Centre LEP 2007 both define a place of public worship as a: “…building or place used for the purpose of religious worship by a congregation or religious group whether or not the building or place is also used for counselling, social events, instruction or religious training.” The draft Parramatta LEP also adopts this definition. PPWs typically take the form of churches, temples or mosques and are currently permissible in most residential and business zones with the exception of the Residential 2E zone.
Currently, the Parramatta LEP 2001 limits the seating capacity of PPW in the residential zones to a maximum of 250 people. There are no development controls currently for PPW within the Parramatta Development Control Plan (DCP) 2005 other than the generic controls relating to streetscape, building form and massing, solar access, parking and accessibility and other relevant matters.
On 23 March 2009, Council resolved to prohibit PPW within the R2 Low Density Residential zone within the draft Parramatta LEP. This change in policy direction has been ratified by the NSW Department of Planning through their certification of the draft Parramatta LEP for public exhibition purposes. Council made a further resolution at its meeting on 28 September 2009, as follows:
“That the CEO prepare a report to the Council, as a matter of urgency, on a draft development control plan (DCP) for Places of Public Worship based on the proposed controls to be included in the City Wide DCP as discussed at the workshop with Councillors. This report should consider how the draft DCP can be applied as Council policy until the DCP is finalised.”
Council considered a report at its meeting on 19 October 2009 attaching a draft PPW DCP and resolved as follows:
“(a) That Council adopt for public exhibition for 28 days, a draft development control plan (DCP) for places of public worship as outlined in Attachment 1 with the following alterations:-
1 Item 3.1b to apply to all existing development applications;
2 Item 3.5 Design principles to include the comment that for all new developments, basement and at grade parking must be provided;
3 Item 3.5 Design Principles to include an additional viii to read: “viii. Any new development must be to predominantly serve the local community and have a maximum capacity of 250.”
(b) That the matter, including any submissions received, be reported to Council following the exhibition of the draft DCP for final consideration and adoption.
(c) That the draft DCP be applied as Council policy until the draft DCP is finalised.
(d) Further, that Council officers contact all places of public worship to obtain feedback on this change.”
The draft DCP was publicly exhibited from 11 November to 11 December 2009. The results of public exhibition were considered by Council at its meeting on 8 February 2010 and Council resolved to defer consideration of the matter pending a workshop. The Councillor workshop was held on 10 March 2010 and changes were subsequently drafted to the draft DCP and circulated to Councillors and those in attendance at the workshop for comment.
It is acknowledged that some confusion exists around this issue and the relationship of the draft DCP with other plans. The draft DCP which is the subject of this report sits under the umbrella of the current local environmental plans, ie Parramatta LEP 2001, the Parramatta City Centre LEP and the Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No. 28 and does not relate to the draft LEP 2010 recently exhibited by Council. As such, the draft DCP for PPW is required to be consistent with the current framework established by the existing LEPs, in particular, Clause 42 within Parramatta LEP 2001. The provisions relating to PPW under the draft Parramatta LEP 2010 and draft Parramatta DCP 2010 are not the subject of this report.
A table has been included below to clarify the various plans and their provisions as they relate to PPW.
Table 1: Summary of existing and proposed provisions relating to PPW
Places of public worship prohibited in Residential 2(a), 2(b), 2(c) and 2(d) zones if seating capacity exceeds 250
Draft LEP 2010
Prohibited in R2 Low Density Residential zone. Also subject to height and FSR standards that apply to all development in the area as shown on LEP map.
Existing DCP provisions
No specific controls such as height and FSR. However, apply General Principles such as Building Form and Massing, Streetscape, Solar Access etc… Car parking survey required to be undertaken of similar developments.
Draft DCP provisions
Draft DCP for PPW
Places of public worship prohibited in residential zones if seating capacity exceeds 250. Subject to the same height, floor space ratio and envelope controls as is applicable to the predominant land use in the zone.
Draft DCP 2010
All PPW limited to seating capacity of 250 plus requirement to only serve local community. Subject to the same height, floor space ratio and envelope controls as is applicable to the predominant land use in the zone.
While the draft Parramatta LEP 2010 and draft Parramatta DCP 2010 are not the subject of this report, the issue of PPW will be discussed in the report to Council when these two draft Plans are reported back to Council for adoption in the coming months.
PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT CONTROLS
Further to the table above, the main controls for PPW within the draft DCP are as follows:
· Applications for PPW will be subject to the same height, floor space ratio and envelope controls that are applicable to the predominant land use in the zone. For example, a PPW proposed within a Residential 2B zone will be subject to a maximum floor space ratio of 0.6:1, height of 2 storeys and an envelope applicable to a town house development. The purpose of this control is to ensure the bulk and scale of PPWs are compatible with the character of residential areas. (Note: This approach is consistent with the mechanisms within the draft Parramatta LEP which apply both the floor space ratio and height controls to land rather than building types.)
· Any proposal for a PPW in a residential zone is required to have a maximum capacity of 250 people. (Note: this is recommended to be changed to apply the maximum capacity of 250 people only to residential zones as discussed further in this report.)
· A noise impact assessment statement is required to be submitted with all applications excepting applications for minor modifications or alterations to existing PPW.
· For all new development or intensification representing a capacity of 50 persons or more, a traffic impact statement is to be submitted with the application. This statement shall, amongst other issues address the number of car parking spaces required. Basement or at-grade parking must be provided for all new developments.
· An operational plan of management must be submitted with all development applications in order to provide certainty for both the consent authority and the local community about the ongoing management practices to be employed by the proposed use to manage its impact upon the neighbourhood.
The Councillor workshop was held on
Wednesday 10 March 2010 and was attended by Councillors and staff. In addition, the workshop was attended by
representatives of the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta,
Changes were subsequently drafted to the draft DCP and it was forwarded to the Councillors and the workshop attendees on 24 March 2010 for comment. Three (3) further submissions were received and further Councillor comment, with the comments summarised in the table included as Attachment 4.
Comments received on the further changes after the Councillor Workshop
The content of the further submissions received is summarised in the table at Attachment 4. The main objections and a comment in response are summarised below:
1. The draft DCP should make it clear that none of the provisions affect the existing use rights of existing places of public worship.
COMMENT: Existing use rights are a legal entitlement conferred under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. An “existing use” is specifically defined by the Act as a land use which lawfully existed at the time of gazettal of a new LEP which prohibits the use. The contents of a DCP do not alter existing use rights which effectively allow those uses to continue operation and are able to apply to Council for alterations and additions subject to the existing use rights legislation and other relevant Council controls. However, this does not mean that an established PPW which is subject to existing use rights and sought to extend would not be subject to the DCP controls. Such an application would still be required to be assessed under the DCP as would any other application.
2. The requirement for a traffic impact statement should not be based on an increase in capacity of 50 people. It should be based on a percentage increase say, an increase of more than 100% in capacity. If a numerical threshold must be used, it should at least be increased to a more reasonable number such as 100 people.
COMMENT: The threshold of 50 persons for requiring the statement is consistent with the DCPs of other Councils including Bankstown City Council and Wollongong City Council. Council’s Manager, Traffic and Transport has confirmed that the requirement is appropriate and noted that the level of detail required would be appropriately matched to the circumstances of the application.
3. The requirement for a noise impact assessment statement should only be imposed on new places of public worship rather than existing ones.
COMMENT: Non-residential land uses in residential zones have the potential to cause significant disturbance to the amenity of a neighbourhood. In this regard, the requirement for a noise impact assessment is comparable to the requirement for an assessment under the Child Care Centres DCP. There may be cases where the assessment is unnecessary and Section 4.3 regarding acoustic privacy notes that consideration will be given to exempting this requirement where the application is for a minor modification to an existing premises.
4. Council should take the opportunity provided by the plans on exhibition (draft LEP 2010 and draft DCP 2010) to completely lift the prohibition on a worshipping congregation exceeding 250 people.
COMMENT: The public exhibition of the draft Parramatta Local Environmental Plan 2010 (LEP) and draft Parramatta Development Control Plan 2010 finished on 7 May 2010. The draft LEP includes different provisions regarding PPW to the current Parramatta LEP 2001. Rather than imposing a limit of 250 people in all residential zones (as is the case currently) the draft LEP 2010 proposes to prohibit PPW in the R2 Low Density Residential zone. This matter will be determined when Council considers the submissions received on the exhibition.
5. Notes that the land use tables for the business and industrial zones in the draft LEP 2010 do not list places of public worship as permissible development. This conflicts with the newly drafted objective of the draft DCP to encourage the location of larger places of public worship into the business and industrial zones.
COMMENT: Under the draft Parramatta LEP 2010, PPW are permissible in the following zones: R1 General Residential, R3 Medium Density Residential, R4 High Density Residential, B1 Neighbourhood Centre, B2 Local Centre, B4 Mixed Use, B5 Business Development, IN1 General Industrial, IN2 Light Industrial and IN3 Heavy Industrial. The land use tables for the Business and Industrial zones are written in such a way, that all land uses are permissible unless listed under the prohibited uses, as a requirement of the State government’s Standard Instrument. It is acknowledged that this can be confusing and explains why the submission assumed that PPW are not permissible in those zones.
6. The maximum of 250 people should be able to be varied for specified services such as weddings, funerals, baptisms and ordinations.
COMMENT: After the Councillor workshop, changes were drafted to the draft DCP to address this issue. In particular, Section 4.5 relating to the Operational Plan of Management requires details to be submitted of expected special events acknowledging that some events will attract numbers greater than 250. These will be considered as part of the assessment of any development application.
7. The draft DCP should not apply to places of public worship within schools as it is an appropriate community use of a valuable resource and schools have the infrastructure to cope with large numbers.
COMMENT: Since Council considered this matter previously (at its meeting dated 8 February 2010), Design Principle P4 has been amended to better reflect the existing wording within Parramatta LEP 2001. As such, the maximum limit of 250 people would not apply to schools as they are zoned Special Uses 5 under the Parramatta LEP 2001.
8. Considering the projected population growth within the Parramatta local government area over the next 25 years, it is reasonable to assume there will be a significant increase in demand for new places of public worship and aggregate seating capacity. As such, Council’s intention to restrict the number of zones in which places of public worship are permissible and limiting their seating capacity will place increased pressure on existing churches and as such, increased amenity impacts.
COMMENT: It is acknowledged that this is a genuine concern but demand for new PPW needs to be tempered with the expectation for a high level of amenity in residential areas. PPWs are permissible in a broad range of zones. The main change proposed under the draft comprehensive Parramatta LEP relates to a potential for future prohibition in the low density residential zone, due to amenity impacts.
9. The limit on seating capacity to 250 should be deleted. Or at the very least, it should only apply to low density residential zones (not all residential zones as is proposed.)
COMMENT: The changes recommended to the draft DCP are to remove the 250 capacity limit from all zones except residential zones. This is consistent with the existing Parramatta LEP 2001. It should be noted that the Parramatta LEP 2001 is a statutory planning instrument and overrides any DCP where there are inconsistencies. As such, it would be pointless and ineffective to attempt to impose controls that are less strict than the LEP 2001.
10. The draft DCP may trigger provisions of the Anti Discrimination Act as similar size limits are not applied to other land uses such as shopping centres, hotels, function centres etc...
COMMENT: It is not Council’s intention to discriminate against one particular type of land use. Changes have been recommended to the draft DCP which remove the 250 capacity limit from non-residential zones. As such, a PPW would be subject to similar controls in the business and industrial zones as other land uses. With regard to the residential zones, the controls applying to PPW can be best compared with the controls applying to other non-residential uses. Under the Child Care Centres DCP, the maximum number of child care places at a centre in a residential zone is limited to 40 children. This can only be varied in circumstances where the centre can meet strict criteria. It is Council’s role to responsibly manage growth and reasonably protect amenity.
11. The revised requirements for the Operational Plan of Management requiring services to be broken up into several smaller services are impractical. It is impractical to expect a wedding to be held over several services. It is uncompassionate to expect grieving relatives to submit details of the expected number of people who will be attending a funeral. Holding several services a day can cause more impact on the amenity of the surrounding area if one group of people are leaving at the same time as the next group are arriving.
COMMENT: From this objection, it appears that this requirement of the draft DCP is ambiguous. It is not Council’s intention that PPW submit details for each upcoming special event on an ongoing basis. This is only an up-front requirement to be provided at the time of submitting a development application to Council. It is also agreed that traffic issues may arise if one group of people are leaving at the same time as the next group arriving. To address this issue, Bankstown City Council has applied a control in their DCP requiring that services not commence until thirty minutes have elapsed following the completion of any preceding service. It is recommended that the draft DCP be amended to incorporate this control.
Comments received during the initial community consultation
The draft DCP was publicly exhibited from 11 November to 11 December 2009. A notice was placed in the local newspapers and a letter of notification was sent to fifty-six (56) Places of Public Worship within the local government area. Five (5) submissions were received, all from representatives of local church groups. The issues raised by submissions are described in detail in the table included as Attachment 3. The submissions all object to the draft DCP and share similar concerns. The main objections and a comment in response are summarised below:
1. The limit on size of a PPW to 250 people is arbitrary and unreasonably limits the size of a congregation and the ability of a church to host special events such as weddings and funerals.
COMMENT: A maximum limit of 250 seats currently applies under clause 42 of Parramatta Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2001. This clause currently only applies to residential areas. It is considered that applying the maximum limit to all land use zones through the DCP is unnecessarily restrictive particularly when Objective 3.1 of the DCP is to “limit and manage the impacts of places of public worship on the amenity of residential areas.” It is recommended that the DCP be amended to reflect the control within the LEP and as such would not apply the maximum limit outside residential areas. It is considered that this change would provide a better balance between preserving the residential amenity of neighbourhoods and providing the community with opportunities for religious worship.
2. The maximum limit would prevent a church from growing in numbers and the draft DCP does not recognise the contribution that churches make to the well-being of the community.
COMMENT: As discussed above, it is recommended that the draft DCP be amended to remove the maximum limit from all land use zones other than residential zones. Larger PPW are considered to have unacceptable impacts on the amenity of low density residential areas, however, there are opportunities for PPW that grow beyond this size to locate in other land use zones where the impacts will not be felt so acutely.
3. Limiting PPW to those that serve the local community is a form of discrimination as there is no such limit on other land uses such as shopping centres and hotels etc…
COMMENT: The reference to a requirement to serve the local community is problematic as it is difficult to define the local community and anecdotal evidence suggests that PPW attract worshippers on a broader congregational basis rather than an immediate geographic one. As such, it is recommended that Design Principle P.4 be amended to reflect the clause within the LEP 2001 by applying to residential zones only and removing a reference to the local community.
4. Applying the DCP to existing PPW is a diminution of existing use rights.
COMMENT: See comment provided in response to objection number 1 previously.
5. The requirements for the submission of a traffic impact statement and a noise impact assessment would be costly and onerous and beyond the means of non-profit organisations such as churches.
COMMENT: See comment provided in response to objection number 2 and 3 previously.
6. The requirement for the submission of an operational plan of management is unreasonable and doesn’t allow sufficient flexibility in terms of timetabling religious services.
COMMENT: The preparation of an operational plan of management does not require specialist qualifications and as such, does not involve significant cost. Further, it is critical for Council to gain an understanding of the likely impact of the proposal on the surrounding area and to make a proper and thorough assessment of the application. It also provides the PPW with an effective tool for managing its own impacts and to assist it with being a “considerate neighbour”.
7. The DCP should not apply to places of public worship within schools as they tend to have sufficient infrastructure to cope with the numbers without impacting on the amenity of residential areas.
COMMENT: See comment in response to objection 7 previously.
8. As the DCP applies to places of public worship ancillary to an educational establishment, all non-government schools should have been notified.
COMMENT: This comment is taken on board and as such, it is considered appropriate that future notifications relating to POPW include all non-government schools in the local government area. In this regard, when the draft Parramatta Local Environmental Plan 2010 and draft Parramatta Development Control Plan 2010 were placed on exhibition, letters of notification were sent to all non-government schools in addition to PPW.
9. The draft DCP should not apply to industrial, retail and commercial zones.
COMMENT: As discussed above it is recommended that Design Principle P4 be amended to reflect the wording within Clause 42 of the Parramatta LEP 2001. This would remove the maximum limit of 250 persons from applying to land use zones other than residential zones.
10. It is unreasonable to apply the same floor space ratio to churches as would apply to a dwelling in the residential zone.
COMMENT: It is considered appropriate that PPW be subject to the controls applicable in the relevant zone. This is a common planning approach and is embedded in the standard LEP template where the floor space ratio and height controls apply to the land, not the land use type.
11. The requirement for car parking is unreasonable particularly when schools are not required to provide car parking for parents.
COMMENT: The car parking demands from parents dropping children off at school cannot be compared with the car parking demands from the congregation of a church. Further, the draft DCP does not prescribe the amount of car parking required which can be determined on the merits of the case, as informed by the traffic impact statement.
The draft DCP is included with this report as Attachment 2. The changes that are recommended to the DCP are shown on this attachment as “track changes”. The reasons for the recommended changes are discussed below.
Changes recommended in report to Council deferred on 8 February 2010:-
· Design Principle P.4 of Section 4.2 Locational Requirements, was amended to reflect the fact that the DCP will function under the overarching provisions within the Parramatta Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2001. In this regard, the Parramatta LEP 2001 already sets a limit on the size of Places of Public Worship (PPW) through clause 42. Clause 42 provides that development for the purpose of a PPW is prohibited in residential zones if the seating capacity exceeds 250. As such, it is recommended that in order to provide consistency, the draft DCP be amended to apply the maximum seating capacity of 250 to the residential zones only (as opposed to all zones) and by removing the reference to the requirement to serve the local community.
· The draft DCP includes a clause (1.6) which is referred to as a “Savings Provision”. The role of a savings provision is to “save” applications lodged before a certain date from the effects of a new instrument. However, the intent of the clause is to apply the DCP to all development applications (including those lodged but yet to be determined) as soon as the DCP comes into effect as required by Council’s decision on 19 December 2009. As such, this clause is recommended to be renamed “Application of this Development Control Plan”.
Additional changes recommended subsequent to the Councillor workshop:-
· It is recommended that a preamble be inserted at the beginning of the draft DCP to acknowledge the important role that places of public worship perform in providing support to the community as follows:
“Preparation of this DCP involved consultation with the community including representatives from several places of public worship within the local government area. It is recognised that many community and religious groups play an important role in providing social support for the community. A primary purpose of this DCP is to ensure the process of the assessment of any development proposal for a place of public worship is consistent, fair and accessible to all religious groups and to manage the impacts of places of public worship on the amenity of neighbourhoods.”
· It is recommended that an additional General Objective for the DCP be submitted:-
“O.3 To encourage the location of larger places of public worship to land zoned for business or industrial purposes.”
· It is recommended that an additional category of development control called “Locational Requirements” be inserted as follows:-
“4.1 Locational Requirements
O.1 To prevent unacceptable impacts on the amenity of residential areas by encouraging the location of larger places of public worship to non-residential zones.
P.1 Larger places of public worship (ie with a seating capacity of greater than 250) are to be located within lands zoned for business or industrial purposes.”
· It is recommended that dot point (i) of Section 4.5 listing the requirements for the Operational Management Plan be replaced with the following:-
“i) Details of the proposed hours of operation, a schedule of regular services held and recurring events and special events throughout the year. Where special events attracting greater than 250 people will occur, details including the expected numbers of people are to be provided.”
· It is recommended that an additional design principle be inserted under “Traffic, Parking and Access” as follows:-
“P.5 To ensure adequate traffic flow, worship services are not to commence until thirty minutes have elapsed following the completion of any preceding service.”
· It is recommended that an additional requirement of the Traffic Impact Statement be inserted into Section 4.” as follows:-
“Shall adequately consider future parking needs that may result from anticipated growth in the congregation.”
Once adopted by Council, the Draft DCP for Places of Public Worship would take effect upon the publishing of a notice in the local newspapers. The DCP would then be applicable to all development applications for places of public worship, regardless of whether they were lodged before the date of the DCP taking effect.