Tiny house development on Council owned or managed land

This draft planning proposal intends to enable the development of 'tiny houses' on Council owned or managed land.  Tiny houses can help address acute and unexpected housing shortages, including housing for aged or dependant persons, affordable housing, housing in bushfire prone areas for emergency relief, or transition housing for the homeless. 

  • Status: Pre exhibition, request with State Government for approval to exhibit (Gateway Determination).
  • Objective: to facilitate tiny house development on Council owned and or managed land for the provision of supported housing for people experiencing (or at risk of) homelessness.

Purpose of tiny houses development Planning Proposal

Homelessness is a growing concern for our Shire. From 2011 to 2016, the homelessness rate increased by over 200%.  In addition, Council coordinates periodic street counts of people sleeping rough in Byron Shire.  From August 2018 to August 2019, we found an increase of 18% in three identified hotpots.  

People experiencing homelessness are part of our community.  And our community has a rate of homelessness twice the national average and within that the percentage of homeless people sleeping rough is 6 times the national average. 

This Planning Proposal will have positive social and economic effects by addressing the need for a supported housing solution in the form of a tiny house development in our Shire.  Presently this is impeded due to the lack of a legal term and category for a tiny house in the planning legislation.

It is proposed to define:

  • a “Tiny house” as a moveable dwelling up to 50 square metres in size, that is suitable for residential use, and may be on wheels or on skids.
  • “Tiny house development” is 2 or more tiny houses on one parcel of land.
  • “Supportive housing” is temporary accommodation to bridge the gap from homelessness to permanent housing and is located as close as possible to existing residential facilities and social support services.
  • “Temporary accommodation” is a residential use or development for a period of not more than 48 months from the date on which an occupation certificate is issued under the Act.

The concept in its simplest form is to provide a temporary and relocatable housing solution under the terms of a lease for a moveable dwelling/s on Council owned and or managed land.  Rent would be paid by the tiny house occupier to Council.  Council could also choose to waive any rent payable depending on the circumstances.  The moveable dwelling (MD/s) is able to be removed and or relocated to another site when required. The land is able to be the subject of a new application and or returned to its original state once the MD/s is no longer required.

Where to next?

At 20 February 2020 planning meeting, Council's decision was to prepare, then forward a planning proposal to NSW Department Planning Industry and Environment (DPIE).  We are awaiting approval (Gateway Determination) from DPIE to place the draft planning proposal on exhibition for community consultation.