Urban Planning

Lake Macquarie City Council & Sea Level Rise

In Lake Macquarie City Council:

The required minimum floor level is based on:
1. planning for a 1:100 year flood of 1.5mAHD (Australian Height Datum - average sea level in 1971)
2. plus 0.49m for sea level rise by 2050 (denied by LMCC general manager to Garry Edwards)
3. plus a freeboard (0.37m).

1. The highest recorded flood was to 1.25AHD in 1949 in one place where the water banked up. More recent levels were 1.05AHD in 2007 and 1.0mAHD in1990. The lake level ranges from 0.1 to 0.4m AHD.

Precedent Study in Rhythm & Repetition

The planners at Maitland City Council used the aesthetic argument that dual occupanices should be different to block the approval of two dual occupancies adjacent to each other. We had deliberately made the four houses into a streetscape.

The PDF below is the research presented to the planner at Maitland City Council. Maitland City Council never responded to this document. They shifted their ground however and made up a "rule" that there was to be no excavation over 1m on site. The issue of repetition was not refered to again. As a result of changing the levels, the last issue we had to deal with was the driveway gradients, which was not referred to in the initial letters. Each time we went to Council they made up something else, until we redesigned it so that the two proposals were different. They have made the developments look more like two dual occupancies together rather than a little village. The perspective sketch of the final version can be seen in projects, Dual Ocupancy, Largs.

Should We Almagamate Sites to Make Larger Sites?

John Andrews of Lake Macquarie City Council once asked me in a Developement Unit meeting if I agreed that it was better to design on a larger site. The following is the letter I sent to him explaining the issues from a designers point of view.

Council Stormwater Engineer's Ruling Based on Aesthetics

Underlying some engineering decisions that seem far removed from aesthetics there are actually rules based on conventional 'normative' aesthetic preferences. The following reports an instance where, by accident, it was discovered that the aesthetic preference of the Council civil engineer had produced a DCP 'rule' that could prevent innovative solutions.