The $2.16m vote on how to handle Coast’s growth
Changes to building height limits and housing density could "significantly change" some Coast suburbs if the council votes in favour of a major shake-up to its planning scheme.
Councillors have been urged to scrap the current planning scheme and create a new one to better reflect land uses, housing trends and to ensure the region is prepared for its forecast population increase of almost 170,000 by 2041.
The planning scheme includes maps and rules to guide what can be built where and to make sure the right development happens in the right places.
The vote will be held on January 28 at the Sunshine Coast Council's first ordinary meeting of the year.
If supported, the preparation of a new planning scheme would cost $2.16 million and take up to four years.
It would be a "significant and complex" project including multiple rounds of consultation.
A council report said it was assessed as having a "moderate" level of risk, partly due to the potential for "significant change" under the new scheme for some communities and the ambitious time frame.
Council's review of the current scheme said a new document should be reflective of major projects, housing development needs and emerging industries such as microbreweries.
The ongoing Mass Transit Plan was identified as a reason why a new scheme was necessary.
It said the transport project would "provide opportunities for sustainable urban villages" between Maroochydore and Caloundra.
The report notes a new planning scheme must reflect proposed staging, zoning and height changes.
It said it must also have "robust and best practice" rules to ensure further development between the coastal hubs reflected "density done well" and the region's character and design.
Under the Planning Act 2016, council planning schemes must be reviewed within 10 years of being made, and replaced or amended.
The Sunshine Coast's current scheme has been in place since 2014.
The review said a new scheme should reflect local trends such as population and economic growth, climate change and public transport.
"In order to remain current, relevant and effective, the planning scheme needs to address global and local trends, and in particular focus on managing growth," the report said.
It said the new scheme would need to reflect the more diverse types of housing expected by 2041.
"In particular, there will be greater demand for a range of semi-attached and attached housing to provide more affordable living options, preferably located close to public transport and major centres," it said.
It said lot sizes were getting smaller, with about 15 per cent of lots on the Sunshine Coast below 300sq m in 2019.
According to the council, the majority of the growth would be accommodated in Caloundra South, Palmview and Beerwah East and between Maroochydore and Caloundra.
It said a new scheme should include changes to mapping, including for flooding and building and structure heights.
Preliminary consultation for a new scheme would start in the coming six months or so, if councillors voted in support of it.
The work would be completed by a core project team, and the State Government would also give input.
The review included input from users of the current scheme, who said there was a need for better community understanding of the document and for it to be less complex.
The review said feedback received from the community on other council projects showed it was important the region maintained its character and lifestyle.
It also said the community viewed the planning scheme as a "contract" with the council, and decisions in conflict with it were viewed as a breach of that contract.
Meanwhile, feedback from planning consultants showed there was appetite for "flexibility in building height".
Consultants also said implications of the mass transit plan needed to be understood before the new document was drafted and it should also take into account the need for infill development.