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Planning Controls FAQ

Understanding planning controls that apply to your land can be confusing. For this reason here are some of the most commonly asked planning questions and answers below. Council’s duty planner is also available to answer your planning questions.

How do I calculate the floor space ratio (FSR) of my development?

The floor space ratio is a development standard which is referenced in clauses 4.4 and 4.5 of Mosman LEP 2012 and controls the bulk and scale of buildings.

To calculate the floor space ratio for your development you will need to know:

  1. The site area
  2. The allowable floor space ratio for the site (this is identified on the Mosman LEP 2012 Floor Space Ratio Map)
  3. The gross floor area of the development (this is defined in the Mosman LEP 2012 Dictionary)

The floor space ratio (also known as FSR) is the ratio of the gross floor area of a development to the site area expressed as a factor of 1. That is, the total floor area on all levels of the building minus any exclusions provided for in the definition of gross floor area, divided by the site area.

For example:

  • Site area – 600m2
  • Gross floor area – 300m2
  • Calculation – 300m2 divided by 600m2 = 0.5
  • This provides for a floor space ratio of 0.5:1

Note - The definition of gross floor area allows for the exclusion of car parking to meet any requirements of Council. Part 5.10 of Mosman’s Residential DCP specifies that for dwelling houses, a minimum of 1 space is required. Contact Council’s Duty Planner on 9978 4172 to discuss the specifics of your proposal as necessary.

How much of my site should be landscaped area?

The landscaped area requirements for a site are detailed in clause 6.6 of the Mosman LEP 2012. (The landscaped area clause was reintroduced into the LEP in December 2014).

The minimum landscaped area requirement applies only to land that is zoned R2 Low Density Residential, R3 Medium Density Residential or C4 Environmental Living. 

The landscaped area required ranges from 25% to 50% of the site area depending on the size of the site and the type of development that is proposed. Generally, the larger the site or where more than one dwelling is proposed, the greater the landscaped area required.

Note – Landscaped area is defined in Mosman LEP 2012 and means a part of a site used for growing plants, grasses and trees but does not include any building structure or hard paved area.

What are development standards and can I vary them?

The Mosman LEP 2012 contains the following development standards:

  • Lot size (clause 4.1)
  • Height of buildings (clause 4.3)
  • Wall height (clause 4.3A)
  • Floor space ratio (clause 4.4)
  • Foreshore building line (clause 6.3)

If variation to any of these standards are sought as part of a development application (DA), an applicant must apply for the variation under clause 4.6 Exceptions to development standards of the LEP. 

Other controls in the LEP such as number of storeys and landscaped area are not development standards. DAs that seek to vary these controls must still justify the proposed variations, however, they are not required to satisfy the criteria in clause 4.6 of the LEP.

What controls exist for front fences in Mosman?

Fences and gates make a significant contribution to the character of a street. Carefully designed fences help to integrate development into the existing streetscape, however, when poorly designed, they have the ability to unduly dominate and reduce opportunities for neighbourhood surveillance and social interaction.

Under the provisions of State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008, front fences may be exempt development, that is Council approval may not be required, if the specified development standards are met.

Front fences are not exempt development if they do not satisfy the exempt development standards or are installed on or adjacent to a heritage item or in a heritage conservation area. In these circumstances, a development application (DA) will be required to be submitted to Council to obtain consent for the works.

Controls for front fences are specified in Part 5.3 of the Mosman Residential DCP. These controls include a maximum height of 1.2m above footpath level. Council may allow higher fencing in special circumstances, e.g. where the street carries high volumes of traffic and the fence is designed to act as a noise barrier.

Do I need a DA to do minor works to my heritage property?

Heritage properties and properties in heritage conservation areas often require regular maintenance and repairs. Whilst development consent may typically be required under the Mosman LEP 2012, an exemption may be issued by Council if the works being carried out would not adversely affect the significance of the heritage item or conservation area. Find out more.

What is the Codes SEPP and how do I use this?

The Codes SEPP (officially known as State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008) is NSW Government planning legislation which allows for certain types of development to be undertaken without development consent (known as Exempt Development), or under a fast track approval system (known as Complying Development), if certain criteria are met. Visit the NSW Planning Portal or contact Council‘s Planning Advisor on 9978 4172 for further information.

Last updated Monday 8 August 2022
Last updated Monday 8 August 2022