Brisbane City Council Multiple Residential Update

On Monday night HOPD attended Brisbane City Council’s most recent Planning and Development Industry Forum.  This forum included a number of presentations from Council officers on:

  • Council’s proposed Retirement and Aged Care Amendments package (which is discussed in our previous post);
  • Brisbane’s Future Blueprint; and
  • An update from its Development Services team.

For those who don’t know, Brisbane’s Future Blueprint is the result of Council’s recent “Plan Your Brisbane” Campaign which saw 100,000 residents have their say.  It establishes eight guiding principles for growth in the region and is expected to have significant impact on how HOPD and its clients develop land particularly for multiple residential purposes.  Of relevance, Principles 4, 5 & 7 seek to:

4.     Protect the Brisbane backyard and our unique character;

5.     Ensure best practice design that complements the character of Brisbane; and

7.     Get people home quicker and safer with more travel options.

In order to achieve this, Council is proposing to:

  • Stop townhouses and apartments being built in areas for single homes by allowing townhouses and apartments to be developed only on what it considers to be appropriately zoned land that being medium density residential areas (as opposed to Emerging community, Low density residential areas).
  • Ensure that suburban development fits in with its surroundings by auditing Emerging community zoned land and rezoning it to Low density residential where appropriate.
  • Preserve the space between homes by ensuring minimum setbacks on property boundaries.
  • Stop cookie-cutter townhouses by limiting repeated designs.
  • Mandate best practice design that fits surroundings and meets community standards.
  • Increase the car parking requirements for development in suburban areas.

At face value, these policies appear to be at odds with our performance-based planning system and a challenge to the ongoing delivery of affordable infill development. When Shaping SEQ was released last year, HOPD were optimistic about the local policy response to the State Government’s agenda to promote housing that offers greater density and diversity compatible with surrounding lower density residential environments. These action items appear to go the other way.

While these action items have not yet been incorporated into the Brisbane City Plan 2014, Council has set a 3 – 9 month timeframe to start implementing them.  It is expected this will be done via a major amendment to the City Plan 2014 which would need to undergo public consultation.  HOPD recommends any clients looking to develop multiple residential within the Brisbane LGA, should contact us today to discuss how these changes may affect their proposal.  Please call 0401 349 601 or email

Image Source: Marshall Property Edits: Rhiannon Smit

Mia Hickey

Author Mia Hickey

Mia is the Director and Principal Town Planner at Hickey Oatley Planning & Development. Mia is a passionate and driven professional, who has experience leading a wide variety of planning and development projects, establishing a key expertise in the facilitation of major development projects from inception through to delivery. With her many years’ experience, Mia has developed an in-depth knowledge of the Planning Act and the commercial realities which underpin a successful project. Mia maintains a focus to continuing professional development and is currently a participant in the Property Council of Australia’s 500 Women in Property initiative.

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