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What are the best grounds for objecting to neighbours new house plans?


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21 replies to this topic

#1 Lifesgood

Posted 10 June 2013 - 12:36 PM

Privacy?
Shadows/light?
Disruption of views?
Something else?

The neighbours behind us are about to demolish their old house and submit plans for a new house, which we are guessing will be a McMansion. We will be delighted if it is not, but are not expecting to be delighted.

Our main bedroom is at the back of our house on the ground level and would be overlooked, and we currently have city views from our upstairs which are likely to be built out if their new house goes from boundary to boundary, which they all seem to do these days. Again, it will be terrific if this isn't the case.

What do you think will be the most successful grounds for objection to council submissions if we need to go down that path? I don't want to waste time and energy on pointless objections, but I also want to protect our privacy and property value if I can. Hoping some of you have experience with these matters and can share your knowledge.

We are in Sydney's inner north-west, in an older suburb.

#2 FeralZombieMum

Posted 10 June 2013 - 01:03 PM

They should have past minutes online - just go through those and copy and paste the objections that were accepted.

One good one, is neighbourhood character. If there are no other houses similar in the area, then it's more likely to be rejected.

BTW, I would have thought they would have submitted house plans at the same time they applied for a permit to demolish the house?

#3 FeralZombieMum

Posted 10 June 2013 - 01:04 PM

eta.
Another term to look into is solar access.

#4 Bess Marvin

Posted 10 June 2013 - 01:17 PM

Calm and rational ones, based on close examination of the submitted proposal.

Anything slightly speculative or ranty gets glossed over IME.

As PP said, check past submissions online to gauge how responsive your council is - you'll quickly see if they are pro or anti NIMBY.

Good luck!

#5 poss71

Posted 10 June 2013 - 01:30 PM

Privacy can be dealt with by your neighbours putting translucent glass in their upstairs windows. Or by a higher fence on the boundary.

You will have absolutely no chance complaining about a loss of views, however a loss of amenity (i.e. the pleasantness of your outlook) when in the backyard arguably may be impacted by a large structure looming over the yard.

Light/solar access etc will be a consideration also, but overall it really is best to look at the plans once they're available and see what your objections actually are.

NIMBY seems an appropriate term in this instance, since you are already preparing for battle. shrug.gif

#6 ~benita~

Posted 10 June 2013 - 01:31 PM

So they are yet to lodge plans?  Good grief, wait and see what the plans are for and realistically unless they contravene planning laws or they are trying to build something the lad is not already zoned for you cannot say much at all.  Nor should you.  Whining neighbors give me the sh*ts.

#7 SMforshort

Posted 10 June 2013 - 01:34 PM

In NSW, you can knock down and rebuild without council approval providing the new build is a complying development.  This means that if it meets certain criteria, it can be classed a complying development under State legislation and the owners bypass the need for Council approval and just get a private certifying company to certify that the design and build is compliant.  This means no consultation is required with neighbours although I think you still need to notify your neighbours.  I also believe (and I'm not an expert) that neighbours have no right of objection.

In our suburb that meant that two houses, side by side, one was knocked down and a new one built without the neighbours having any chance to comment, and on the other house, the family wanted to add a back deck and had to notify the neighbours of the design and their right to lodge objections with Council.

Sorry for the lack of specifics but just suggest you might want to do a bit of research on complying developments or have a chat with your Council.

#8 Lifesgood

Posted 10 June 2013 - 01:40 PM

QUOTE (ZombieMum @ 10/06/2013, 01:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They should have past minutes online - just go through those and copy and paste the objections that were accepted.

One good one, is neighbourhood character. If there are no other houses similar in the area, then it's more likely to be rejected.

BTW, I would have thought they would have submitted house plans at the same time they applied for a permit to demolish the house?

Thanks ZombieMum, I will do this.

I asked them about the house plans and they said they haven't lodged them yet. I also suspect it may be a complying development. I wonder if I can find out about that by contacting council. Might give them a call tomorrow.

#9 elgood

Posted 10 June 2013 - 01:42 PM

Hi

Most inner city councils are pretty strict when it comes to design and a local architect should know that. We built in the inner west Sydney and were bound by some pretty strong rules - ie the construction not to be seen from the front facade ( federation cottage),  floor : land space ratio ( can't build an oversized house), maintaining neighbours privacy (window positioning), shading etc - so basically applications have to be within reason, there is not much point putting an application in if it's going to be rejected.

As direct neighbours, when application is being considered you may be sent a copy of the plans and that is when you can raise your concerns, we had 5-6 copies sent out and no rejections because we felt, we have great neighbours, a good architect and didn't "over ask" - check with your council they may have the same / similar process.

Good luck

#10 FeralZombieMum

Posted 10 June 2013 - 02:20 PM

Oh, you might also be able to find a map online that breaks the residential zones into smaller sub zones - and there might be a clear definition of what is acceptable for the 'Residential Character'.

For instance, in my area, houses have to be a certain setback from the front boundary, we have no fences along the front boundary (although some neighbours have put these in, but they would have gone in before our area had an official defined 'residential character'), single story built on large allotments etc.

You can use this plan to base some of your objections on. (ours is called a township plan)

They might have already lodged plans - you can also try and google that. My local council has an online register for planning applications, so I can search to see what is happening in my area.

Just be aware, that if you do object, then this information could be put up on the internet. ie there might be a map showing the properties, and your property might have a red X on it, to show you had objected, and they will publish your reasons for the objection.
Well, that's what happens in my local council. I guess if this didn't happen, then it wouldn't be available for others to guide them in their objections. wink.gif


#11 Gumbette

Posted 10 June 2013 - 02:26 PM

QUOTE (SMforshort @ 10/06/2013, 01:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
In NSW, you can knock down and rebuild without council approval providing the new build is a complying development.  This means that if it meets certain criteria, it can be classed a complying development under State legislation and the owners bypass the need for Council approval and just get a private certifying company to certify that the design and build is compliant.  This means no consultation is required with neighbours although I think you still need to notify your neighbours.  I also believe (and I'm not an expert) that neighbours have no right of objection.

You only need to notify neighbours 2 days before the works are due to begin.  They would have to be nuts to knock a house down before they got approval.  I would say they went through CDC, if so, you will have absolutely no chance of objecting to their build.

#12 Gumbette

Posted 10 June 2013 - 02:30 PM

QUOTE (ZombieMum @ 10/06/2013, 02:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They might have already lodged plans - you can also try and google that. My local council has an online register for planning applications, so I can search to see what is happening in my area.

Some councils only list applications that they've personally rejected or approved - this doesn't include those that have gone through a private certifier.  The council don't even really see the plans until the Certifier sends them through.

#13 elizabethany

Posted 10 June 2013 - 02:43 PM

Absolutely NIMBY since you want to complain about the build without even knowing what it is.  Get over yourself, decide on the merits of the plans once they are released, and don't be a jerk for the sake of it.

Angry neighbors are a bigger problem than "loss of views".

#14 Lifesgood

Posted 10 June 2013 - 03:05 PM

QUOTE (TiredbutHappy @ 10/06/2013, 02:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You only need to notify neighbours 2 days before the works are due to begin.  They would have to be nuts to knock a house down before they got approval.  I would say they went through CDC, if so, you will have absolutely no chance of objecting to their build.

Have to say I think this sounds likely sad.gif However, they have given us notification to demolish, so why wouldn't they have given us the notification that they are going to build at the same time?

Anyway, I can only call the council to ask them about it.

Thanks for the helpful replies.

#15 Gumbette

Posted 10 June 2013 - 08:55 PM

They only need to give you 2 days notice before they start building.  Chances are it won't be for a couple of weeks.  FWIW I would let it go -- its their block, as long as their build is legal.  I would rather have a good relationship with my neighbours, McMansions are going up everywhere in the older suburbs, if its not them today, it will be someone else tomorrow.

Edited by TiredbutHappy, 10 June 2013 - 09:01 PM.


#16 poss71

Posted 10 June 2013 - 09:13 PM

QUOTE (LifesGood @ 10/06/2013, 03:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks for the helpful replies.

You're welcome.

#17 Liz75

Posted 10 June 2013 - 09:19 PM

We have just started a renovation and our neighbours have just submitted plans. We had two objections to our plans, one was a a balcony off our bedroom which our neighbours felt impinged on their privacy. This was mainly for aesthetic appeal so we agreed to not do.

The other change was a window also in our bedroom we had increased its size but made it a high window. We thought their views on privacy were invalid since our small current window looks right into their bedroom and incidentally they sleep naked, with blinds open and are in their 70s. The new suggested windows were an improvement for all of us.

Since the house was kept in character of neighborhood the council actually went against the complaints but since we wanted to keep a good relationship with neighbours we changed the balcony.

Our neighbours on our south side are renovating. They did not complain about our renovation but the council put in some conditions to uphold their privacy. We do not see their renovation impacting us so will not put in any complaints but may try and get out some of our privacy conditions. They are higher than us but going up so they should now be the ones to uphold, and pay for, any privacy issues.

Just as a side, the councils generally do not stop a build because of privacy, they may make them change placement, size or look of windows, or make them put in screening. In general, councils will look at shadow impact and then general character of area. Also they will look at pervious vs non pervious ratio which will differ depending in area.

Just some thoughts for you. In our experience it all depends on the councillor you get to review an application. It can really vary in response and decisions so really one size does not fit all. If their are trees on the property then that is one area where you may be able to complain ie the area needs a tree!

Good luck.


#18 FEdeRAL

Posted 10 June 2013 - 09:39 PM

Two issues that will never be considered as valid grounds:
- loss of view (sea, mountains, cityscape etc)
- decrease in property value

As others mentioned unless the proposal contravenes the local planning laws significantly, your objections, no matter how valid, will not stop the project from proceeding. It will mean that the owners will be asked to alter their plans to minimise the detrimental effects on your property (solar access, privacy etc) and there will likely be mediation between you and your neighbours' builders/designers to resolve your objections.



#19 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 11 June 2013 - 01:39 PM

QUOTE (LifesGood @ 10/06/2013, 01:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I asked them about the house plans and they said they haven't lodged them yet. I also suspect it may be a complying development. I wonder if I can find out about that by contacting council. Might give them a call tomorrow.

complying development goes through the state government and they can used a private certifier.  Once approved, they merely inform council I think?

QUOTE (TiredbutHappy @ 10/06/2013, 02:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You only need to notify neighbours 2 days before the works are due to begin.  They would have to be nuts to knock a house down before they got approval.  I would say they went through CDC, if so, you will have absolutely no chance of objecting to their build.

This is my understanding as well (we will be using complying development for our build - it's faster that local council, but only if you tick all the boxes.  If you don't, they throw you back to your local council)

QUOTE (LifesGood @ 10/06/2013, 03:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Have to say I think this sounds likely sad.gif However, they have given us notification to demolish, so why wouldn't they have given us the notification that they are going to build at the same time?

They might not have finalised the building application/plans or finalised a builder yet.  You can demolish whenever you want.  There is no requirement to build immediately after you demolish.

Plus, maybe the builder can't start their job for a few more weeks/months?

#20 ComradeBob

Posted 11 June 2013 - 01:45 PM

QUOTE (Leeloomina @ 10/06/2013, 09:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Two issues that will never be considered as valid grounds:
- loss of view (sea, mountains, cityscape etc)
- decrease in property value

Actually in NSW loss of views is a very valid complaint with the Land & Environment Court having a Planning Principle about it, which sets out 4 steps to ascertaining what is view loss and how severe it is. If view loss is considered to be an issue, most Councils will request that height poles indicting the height of the building at key points are to be erected so that the extent of view loss can be gauged.

#21 premmie

Posted 11 June 2013 - 01:46 PM

We are submitting plans in the eastern suburbs of Sydney currently. Our neighbour objected on loss of privacy, water views, height limitations and noise/construction mess grounds. All of which my mother a local architect rebutted in a counter statement...

If they are building using CDC then there isn't much you can do. Our site wasn't conducive to that unfortunately, we wanted a double garage and the site isn't wide enough to allow that under CDC. Speak to a local architect with knowledge of CDC and Nsw building code...they will able to identify potential problems and construct a proper letter with supporting documentation..

#22 Lifesgood

Posted 11 June 2013 - 01:57 PM

I rang the council today and they confirmed that it is a CDC and they don't have a copy of the plans yet. So it is all a moot point as we won't be able to give feedback at all, but I will get hold of a copy of the plans when they become available so that we can figure out if we need to at least plant some screening trees outside our bedroom window.

I looked up the CDC rules and it seems that as it is a big block of land they are restricted as to how close they can build to the boundaries - more so than if they went with a DA I think. It's all a bit disappointing, but then we have been expecting this for a number of years now.

Oh well, such is life in a big city.




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