CHEAP HOUSING: Reduced development fees for construction of secondary dwellings is designed to see an increase in the number of granny flats in the region.
CHEAP HOUSING: Reduced development fees for construction of secondary dwellings is designed to see an increase in the number of granny flats in the region.

Cheaper building fees set for Coffs Harbour

SMALL secondary dwellings will be cheaper to construct in Coffs Harbour for at least the next two years following a move by Coffs Harbour City councillors.

On Thursday, the councillors voted for a two-year trial of reduced development fees for construction of secondary dwellings of 60sq m or less in an effort to increase the city's supply of small, affordable housing.

The council will waive Section 64 contributions and charge the minimum Section 94 contribution fee of around $2078 from July 1.

Currently the council charges 40% of the rate applicable to an average dwelling, which can vary from $7000 to $10,000.

Councillors will monitor use of the discount through their regular weekly development application updates and a report will be prepared at the end of the two years to determine whether to continue the trial for a further 12 months.

The move will make it cheaper for a residential landowner to build a granny flat in the backyard for a single person or a couple without children. Such extra housing became permissible on any residentially zoned parcel of land under the 2009 state environmental planning policy (SEPP) for affordable rental housing.

Last month, Cr Mark Sultana introduced a notice of motion to remove developer contributions on granny flats, saying the high fees were discouraging home owners from attempting to build them.

He said many other councils had waived fees and seen a dramatic growth in granny flats.

On May 14, the councillors deferred the matter subject to a staff report after mayor Denise Knight warned councillors that the matter raised complex questions.

This report was presented on Thursday.

Deputy mayor Sally Townley said many elderly people lived alone and a high percentage of the population relied on social security or were on low wages, yet only 5% of Coffs Harbour housing was single-bedroom housing.

She said the move would see council fulfilling some of its social responsibilities and provide an economic kick-start without making much of the dent in the council's finances.



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