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Car parking and developments

How many car parking spaces and what type of spaces to provide is a common question that comes up in designing a development. This blog post explains the framework for working out what type of car parking to provide for a development in NSW.

Car parking tends to be a key consideration of Councils in assessing a Development Application. This is true of all applications, although especially those types of developments that have a tendency to generate a lot of parking demand. Examples could include schools, shopping centres or places of public worship.

One of the first places to look for car parking requirements is the Development Control Plan (DCP) for the area. Most DCPs for larger Councils will have a table specifying minimum car parking requirements for different types of development. These are often based on minimum rates per square metre of floor area.

Higher rates tend to apply for developments with a greater tendency to generate traffic per floor area eg. offices and lower rates for those opposite eg. warehouses. For example the Campbelltown DCP has a minimum rate of 1 space per 25m square metres of floor area for offices and 1 space per 100 square metres of floor area for vehicle sales or hire premises.

As all local government areas tend to be different, car parking requirements can vary substantially between areas. Outer suburban and regional areas tend to have relatively high minimum requirements for providing parking whereas the City of Sydney takes the opposite approach in actually specifying a maximum number of car parking spaces in order to discourage car use within their area.

As with most things in our complicated planning system, unfortunately working out parking requirements is not just as simple as reading the DCP for the area. Other locations that car parking requirements can be found include:

- The LEP for the area (the City of Sydney's maximum car parking rates are contained within the LEP for example).

- Certain State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs). The Seniors SEPP has parking rates for seniors developments and the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP has parking rates for affordable rental housing, granny flats, boarding houses and group homes. These standards would override any applicable DCP requirements for these developments.

- The RTA Guide to Traffic Generating Developments may be used where there are no parking rates in the DCP. For apartment developments, the Apartment Design Guide provides that a development may adopt the rates in this guide if they are lower than those of the Council DCP and the site is within 800m of a railway station.

Council DCPs will often include guidance on other matters such as car parking design and bicycle or motorbike parking. A parking study will often by required by Councils for applications involving very large development.

Australian Standard 2890 is the applicable standard for off-street parking design. It contains standards for the width and dimension of car parking spaces, driveways and car parking facilities. Most Councils will assess applications according to this Australian Standard, so it is good practice to ensure that a proposed car park complies with the standard before lodging an application.

For any enquiries regarding car parking design for developments, feel free to get in contact.

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