Requirements that mean new homes must have two parking spaces if they have two or more bedrooms prevent Perth from choosing more affordable and creative accommodation, planners say.
Urban planner Ben Carter said smaller developments that offered housing choice and increased density were often likely to be pushed back into parking lots.
“If the sentiment of a particular local government is not really to accept or embrace development, then the easiest way to [fight development] is to attack the things that aren’t compliant, like parking,” Carter said.
Housing tension over filling in sought-after suburbs
He said the problem was most difficult in Perth’s inner suburbs, which were attractive to developers.
He said most of the existing dwellings were single-family homes.
“People don’t redevelop in areas that don’t make financial sense,” he said.
He said that meant people were looking at areas “that actually pile up as a development project” like the western suburbs, downtown, near the river or near the ocean.
“Someone like me, who is a professional advising developers and builders, if I don’t talk to them about things that are going to get them turned down, that’s bad from a client perspective,” said Mr Carter.
Mr Carter said that if a development was made up of 10 homes or less, a planning refusal could not be appealed to the Joint Development Appraisal Committee.
He said this prompted many builders to add additional parking spaces rather than go through a long and contested approval process.
“I think what’s happening is that residents and councils are really struggling with the idea of that diversity and why anyone would want something with just one garage or just two bedrooms with living areas. more compact exteriors,” he said.
Limited choice for small living room
He said that meant young people, low-income people and older people looking to downsize had few options, especially if they wanted to stay in the same neighborhood or live downtown.
“People want different things – they don’t want two cars, or they want an electric car in the future, or they want to live somewhere where they can actually get out and walk and not drive so much.
“Maybe they don’t want to leave this area that grew up in this area, but can’t afford a $2 million to $10 million house and maybe they want to rent something that’s a two-by-two. “
Mr Carter said it was frustrating that many local councils were preventing the creation of these options, despite the flexibility of planning plans to vary parking requirements.
“You can do a highly architectural design, providing a really clear choice of housing and sometimes the answer is – ‘how would you put your LandCruiser here’?”
Crowded streets can be safer
City planner Eric Denholm said it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if doomsday predictions of streets filled with parked cars came true as a result of densification.
He said that while the idea of car-filled residential streets was not always popular, it was a safer environment for pedestrians, especially children and the elderly.
“What street parking does is create friction, it creates chaos,” he said.
“It creates traffic calming, it actually slows down vehicles [because it introduces] things that actually reduce lines of sight.”
He said that meant drivers were likely to be uncomfortable going over 30km/h.
“If you are hit [by a car travelling] at 30 km/h, you have an 80% chance of surviving. If you get hit at 50 km/h, you have an 80% chance of dying.”
House without parking still popular
Mr Denholm said older suburbs, with homes built before cars were widely available, often had car-crammed streets and were still popular places to live.
“People pay a premium to live in suburbs like East Fremantle and North Perth because they are walkable and mixed-use, and many of these homes have no space for cars on the property at all. “, did he declare.
He said fewer people would need parking spaces as household sizes averaged 2.3 people and many were working from home due to the changes brought about by the pandemic.
“Particularly if the neighborhood’s auto reliance eventually decreases due to local employment, better public transportation, and better street environments for walking,” he said.
He said people might not need to spend up to 20% of their property storing cars that have been standing still for 95% of their life.
“In my opinion, at the end of the day, it’s just about getting rid of the parking minimums and letting people build what they think is appropriate for their state.”