A future urban area is land that will be developed in the future to accommodate the expansion of the city’s population (for example, a new suburb). Future urban areas are chosen using spatial planning and structure planning and are then identified formally in the Territory Plan maps.
A structure plan sets out broad principles and policies for the development of a future urban area. The plan is typically at the district level (i.e. a number of a suburbs). It is essentially a framework of the planning intent for the area and may include information on environmental and heritage matters, future major infrastructure requirements, key features, zoning and residential densities.
The structure plan is typically introduced as a Territory Plan variation as it also involves a zoning change. It may be accompanied by a strategic environmental assessment. The Authority may also vary the Territory Plan and structure plan as a technical amendment to rezone the land in a future urban area provided that the rezoning is not inconsistent with the specified principles and policies. Similarly, the Territory Plan may also be amended to change a boundary of a future urban area if the change is consistent with the structure plan.
A development proposal by an entity other than the Territory or a Territory authority in a future urban area is prohibited unless the structure plan for the area expressly states otherwise.
A concept plan applies the principles and policies of a structure plan for the future urban area to identify the specific planning requirements that will apply to the future detailed planning and development of the suburb. The concept plan, through a variation to the Territory Plan, will become a Precinct Code in the new Territory Plan. The Precinct Code guides the preparation, assessment and determination of the future development application for the subdivision of the land (i.e. estate development plan).
Estate development plans
An estate development plan sets out the proposed development of the estate in a way that is consistent with a concept plan for the area where the estate is and any other Code that applies to the estate.
When an estate development plan is approved through a development application, the Authority must vary the Territory Plan to identify the zones that will apply to the land, consistent with the estate development plan, and to incorporate any other element of the estate development plan that should be ongoing. Approval of the estate development plan has the effect of the land ceasing to be in a future urban area.
Supply of land
One of the key functions of the Authority is to ensure there is sufficient “planning ready” land available for future development, including for residential purposes. Land is planning ready once both the strategic and statutory planning processes – the structure plan and the concept plan/precinct code – have been completed. This then permits the land to be released for development in an orderly sequence and timeframe. Land in the ACT is released to market by the Land Development Agency, consistent with the ACT Government’s five-year land release strategy that is prepared by the Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate. The Land Development Agency can either sell the land to the private sector developers or develop it.