Urbis Think Tank
Bureaucratic and prescriptive language continues to present obstacles to innovative retail
Last year, the Productivity Commission report on Planning, Zoning and Assessments commented on regulation affecting retail markets that:
While the prescriptive requirements provide some clarity to prospective developers, they also make it hard for some innovative businesses to find suitable land and thus enter the market. More generally, they also work to prevent the market from allocating land to its most valued uses.
Over recent months, Urbis has uncovered two bureaucratic examples of regulation which certainly has made it hard for innovative businesses.
Within one Victorian local government Planning Scheme, a distinction is made between a lot and a site, giving rise to a significant anomaly. Our client was seeking to subdivide a 2 hectare parcel of land into two lots of 1.2ha and 8000 sqm and build a ‘service station’ on the smaller lot. However, in this particular scheme, the ‘site’ for a service station must not exceed 3000 sqm.
Is a ‘site’ the same as a ‘lot’? The ‘site’ of the service station is proposed to be only 3000 sqm, but located on the ‘lot’ of 8000sqm. These definitional issues add confusion, uncertainty and a lack of flexibility to the development of these sites.
WHAT IS A BULKY GOODS COMPLEX, SALESROOM OR SHOWROOM?
The second example is an innovative bulky goods development in Sydney’s west. Whilst a ‘bulky goods salesroom or showroom’ is a permissible land use on the subject site, a ‘bulky goods complex’ is a prohibited land use and could not therefore be approved on the site.
The proposal is a new style of complex, that doesn’t fit neatly into the existing bulky goods sales paradigms. This is exactly the problem the Productivity Commission had in mind when it lamented the difficulty that some operators have in entering the market.
In each of these cases, Urbis works closely with the developers and the local government to find a solution to these ambiguities. However, we continue to confront this type of bureaucratic language that restricts the retail industry from improving its productivity by offering new approaches to the market.
Written by Jamie Governlock. For more information about Jamie click here