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Public Open Space Contributions

Aug 5, 2019

You may have seen earlier today I posted a short snip into the world of Open space levy’s on our Instagram well here’s a more in depth discussion.

What is it?

Council requires the developer pays a minimum of 4% of the land value as open space contributions fees upon subdivision of 3 or more lots; thus equating to a huge $40,000k on land valued at $1M!! Keeping in mind each council may vary depending on a number of factors – best to speak directly with your local council for an individual site analysis. 

The majority of contributions will be cash in lieu of land, however a land contribution may be required in certain circumstances

What is the process?

A valuation of your land will be carried out, which will determine how much you will be asked to pay. The contribution will be specified in the planning permit conditions.

Why is it required?

Demand for public open space is growing as the population and consequently development, increases. 

The public open space contribution requirement under the Schedule to Clause 52.01 is used to procure monies and/or land from new development to contribute to the provision and maintenance of open space. In order for Council to meet its future open space needs, an amended contribution rate for open space will be required. 

The contribution of 4% was calculated by estimating the land area likely to be redeveloped due to anticipated population growth in each suburb and multiplying that by the average residential land value in each suburb, to estimate that the total value of land to be developed across the 15-year strategy is almost $700 million, which is $42 million per year and this is based on just Whitehorse alone!!!

Can I avoid paying these fees?

According to clause 52.01 Planning Scheme and Section AND Section 18 of the Subdivision Act 1988:

“A public open space contribution may be made only once for any land to be subdivided”

In some cases when land has been originally subdivided the developer has provided council land to be used for public purposes in lieu of the paying the open space contribution fee. This means that if you are further subdividing you may be exempt from this payment, because the contribution can only be made once. In short, it means that if a developer has already made that contribution, you may not have to. It’s worth investigating!

So the trick then is to check the title and subdivision plan to see whether the developer has provided part of the subdivision for council public open space purposes. In some cases this is not clear and you may need to check the parent title and have a solicitor check this on your behalf. However if you see noted on your plan a recreational space you may just have saved yourself $40,000K!

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