Gold Coast City Plan Update - January 2018

Originally posted 31 January 2018.

Since South 28’s last update, the Council of the City of Gold Coast has proposed some interesting changes to the City Plan  They are expected to commence sometime around May/June 2018.  I will be sure to keep you all informed, and as always, if you have any questions on these or any other town planning policies, please don’t hesitate to write or call.

Small Lot Housing

Notably, minimum lot sizes in select Low Density Residential Neighbourhoods across the city have been decreased from 600 to 400 sqm. This means that in the past where only lots of 1200+ sqm could be subdivided (Code assessable) now lots between 800 and 1200 sqm can be subdivided as well.   

This will certainly lead to quite a few 1-into-2 lot subdivisions happening over the next 2 years, particularly amongst empty nesters and young families looking to supplement their incomes, and marks the city’s willingness to accept State direction to accommodate smaller lot housing types.  Along with this the city has initiated a Small Lot Housing review, whereby we expect clearer direction on planning and building parameters (i.e. setbacks, materials & finish, site cover, etc.)

Party Houses

As expected, Council is bearing down on party houses in the Gold Coast. The City Plan update will include definitions for "party house" use as well as the term "regularly use".  A mapped party house area will be established to identify where party houses are an envisaged use. Anywhere outside of this area, party houses are not envisaged and Impact Assessment is triggered.  

Because Council is now aligning the definitions with the City Plan, Council compliance officers will have greater ability to issue Show Cause Notices and fines to offenders in order to protect the amenity of established residential neighbourhoods.  How this will affect the holiday home investment market is yet to be determined.


Council is updating their Flood mapping to reflect up-to-date data and State Government criteria, with consequential changes to the Flood code to ensure workability.  This will raise minimum floor levels in flood prone areas and may prevent development altogether in heavily prone areas. Generally, this is accepted as a basic health and safety policy update, reflective of the latest data.

Burleigh Heads Village Character

Concerned that demand for property in ‘Burleigh Village’ has begun to change the look and feel, Council has proposed policies that seek to “retain and reinforce the character of the Burleigh Heads Village area”. Generally, they will address the protection of key views and visual settings, maintain cross-block links and laneway activation, and protect the James Street character and function. In my experience, these types of policies effectively limit very large single developments whilst allowing smaller infill projects to proceed at a scale and scope that is more in keeping with the existing neighbourhood character. Not a good one for the big developers.