Should the Redland City Council approve the proposal by two major land developers to develop 4,000 homes south of Redland Bay?
The Shoreline development application was submitted to Council in mid 2014. The public had an opportunity to make comments from 20 October to 26 November 2014.
The State Government has reviewed aspects of the proposal and recently advised “preliminary approval” subject to some detailed conditions relating to “State interests” such as roads and retention of natural vegetation.
Redland City Council will soon have to decide on the development application.
The proposed Shoreline development is very questionable. Indeed in November 2014 Redlands2030 identified a dozen questions.
The SEQ Regional Plan 2009-2031 requires that the proponents of this form of residential development in an area not zoned for urban development should demonstrate “an overriding need in the public interest”. This was pointed out to Shoreline’s proponents by the State Government in an Information Request dated 20 August 2014.
Shoreline submitted a response dated 15 October 2014 to the Government. It is an unconvincing document which should have raised further questions from the Government and the Council. Of course the State Government at the time was pursuing the LNP’s “develop at any cost” agenda and it does not seem to have pursued this matter diligently.
Redland City councillors should consider whether or not there is an overriding need in the public interest for a new 4,000 lot suburb to be developed at this time in southern Redlands.
Why do we have a planning scheme?
Cities are planned to ensure that development happens in a sensible and orderly way. Houses, roads, shops, work places and other facilities need to be properly connected. The current city planning scheme designates certain areas as being appropriate for new housing development within what is known as the “urban footprint”.
The community becomes responsible for significant costs when new housing estates are developed. Councils (and their ratepayers) have to provide a range of services including roads, water, sewage, libraries and parks. The State and its taxpayers are responsible for expensive infrastructure like highways, schools, hospitals and emergency services. Costs include up front capital costs and long term operating costs.
To keep down the community’s infrastructure costs, it makes sense for new housing developments to be sequenced so that the areas that are first developed are those best served with existing infrastructure. The community should expect and require the City Council to do this properly and transparently.
Why do developers push the envelope?
To make money of course. Land can be bought cheaply in areas outside the urban footprint. Then if Council (and the State Government) can be persuaded to re-zone it as “urban” land it immediately becomes more valuable.
Does Redland City need more land zoned for urban development?
Not for the forseeable future.
Queensland Treasury’s Broadhectare study 2013 profile for Redland City found that:
Based on current medium series household projections and the expected broadhectare dwelling yield, the available residential land stock indicates approximately 10 years of supply.
In 2014 Redland City Council commissioned a report from Urbis Consulting about future land supply requirements. Urbis found that Redland City’s existing urban footprint has enough land to meet housing needs for 25 years – to 2041.
The Urbis Report noted that by 2041 (26 years away) there may be an imbalance in the mix of land for new dwellings with possible over supply of high density accommodation (8,700-12,900 dwellings) and possible undersupply of 740 to 5,060 detached dwellings. These findings are of course dependent on the fundamental assumptions about:
- Redland City’s population growth rates over the next 26 years
- Requirements/preferences for type of accommodation (house or unit) which may change over time
- The extent to which some parts of Redland City such as the already subdivided southern Moreton Bay islands can meet future accommodation requirements
It is important to note that the time at which there may possibly be a need for more urban land for detached housing is many years away. This means that the City has ample opportunity to consider how any possible future shortfall could best be met.
The Urbis Report recommends that the Council investigate which areas might be added to the urban footprint if more land is likely to be required for detached housing in the future.
Council has not yet commissioned such studies which, if done properly, would consider all available non-urban land areas in the City. Studies by the Shoreline proponents do not constitute the kind of investigation that Urbis recommended. Shoreline’s plans might be a useful input if and when a proper investigation is commissioned by Council.
Any such investigations should be done as part of a Redland City planning scheme review. This would ensure that any new housing development area is planned in the context of the City as a whole having regard to the Community Plan and the City Infrastructure Plan. Dealing with the addition of new areas for housing through the planning scheme would also ensure that the community has a proper opportunity to express its views through the public consultation process.
What did Councillors have to say about this issue before the last election?
In response to questions about urban footprint expansion most councillors made their position clear before the 2012 local government elections. These positions were discussed by Redlands2030 in Election promises about urban footprint.
It is possible that some Redland City councillors may not actually be able to vote on the Shoreline development application because of a real or potential “conflict of interest”.
What does the community think about Shoreline?
Some Councillors avoided a pre-election committment on whether or not they would support expansion of the urban footprint (e.g. Shoreline) by saying that they would “listen to the people” or “be guided by the community’s views”. So what does the community think?
Community attitudes were extensively measured by the Redland City Council to develop the Redlands 2030 Community Plan. One of the Community Plan’s targets is:
The urban footprint as defined by the South East Queensland Regional Plan is not extended into rural or agricultural areas. (page 39)
Shoreline conducted its own “opt-in” survey – which gave them the answer “they” wanted. We also know that in response to the public comments process Shoreline got a few hundred people (many from outside Redland City) to complete a brief pro-forma submission in favor of their development.
But to date the development application process has not included any properly facilitated Redland City community consultation about the specific issues associated with Shoreline’s proposed development and its various significant impacts.
Comments on the Redland City Bulletin’s Facebook page suggest that many people in the community oppose any major housing development in southern Redlands until completion of four lane highway upgrades to both Cleveland and Logan City.
Is there an “overriding need in the public interest” for the Shoreline development?
Well the developers of Shoreline would benefit and so would a few building workers (who may or may not live in Redland City).
The State of Queensland and its taxpayers would NOT benefit because they would have to fund expensive state infrastructure in advance of when it might sensibly be required.
Redland City ratepayers would NOT benefit because they also have to pick up extra costs of infrastructure to support Shorelines 4,000 new homes. By way of example this could include pest control measures to protect inhabitants who would be residing next to one of the most heavily mosquito infested areas of Moreton Bay.
Shoreline has suggested that its development would mean less need for infill development in the existing urban footprint. This is a complete nonsense! Any land that is already zoned “urban” within the Urban Footprint will be developed regardless of whether or not Shoreline proceeds.
In conclusion, there is no obvious, publicly available, justification of “overriding need in the public interest” for the Shoreline development to be approved.
Not now thank you
It is a pretty simple answer. Redland City does not need Shoreline at this point in time. The developers should be thanked for their efforts and advised to wait until Council identifies a need for expanding its urban footprint. When that happens, in 10 or 20 years time, Shoreline could be considered alongside areas such as southern Thornlands and Kinross which are closer to existing infrastructure and less of a cost burden to Redland City ratepayers.