Latest mixed-use approval a sign of things to come?

A 43-storey residential tower has been approved in Parramatta city centre’s commercial-only zone, which, according to the Urban Taskforce, highlights the need to rethink zoning in Parramatta’s centre as well as all city centres in Sydney.

“Parramatta currently has a commercial-only zone for a significant area of the city centre but it’s clear that the take-up of commercial uses is very limited,” Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson says.

“The approval of the planning proposal for 116 Macquarie Street requires only four of the 43 floors to be for commercial uses and rezones the land from B3 Commercial Core to B4 Mixed Use.

“The New South Wales Government should look at the potential to rezone the whole centre of Parramatta as mixed-use with a requirement of including a few floors of commercial uses.

“The Parramatta example of mixed-use zoning should also occur in all of Sydney’s city centres to ensure bustling cosmopolitan environments that incorporate residential uses and are active 24/ 7.”

The Parramatta rezoning, Johnson adds, has also shown flexibility with the floor space ratio by increasing the current allowance of 10:1 to 19:1, which he says demonstrates the support the government and Parramatta City Council are giving to the market place feasibility of development proposals.

“A similar flexible approach is required for two recent planning proposals lodged for sites also in Macquarie Street that had been dramatically downsized due to the state government unexpectedly changing development controls regarding overshadowing,” Johnson goes on.

“It’s good to see the confidence the industry has in development in the centre of Parramatta and that planning rules are being adjusted to take into account practical considerations, such as economic feasibility.”

The Gateway Determination for 116 Macquarie Street Parramatta also recommends that the Council for Parramatta City, in finalising its City Centre Planning Framework Study, rationalise development controls for its CBD to ensure a consistent planning framework to give certainty for community and industry.

The Urban Taskforce says it’s keen to work with the council, the Department of Planning and Environment and the Greater Sydney Commission to ensure that the planning framework will encourage quality development.

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