The explanation below is in response to questions we continue to receive regarding secondary dwellings.
The Queensland Planning Regulation sets out land use definitions that all Councils need to adopt in their planning schemes. The land use definition of a “dwelling house” allows for ONE dwelling for a single household and any domestic outbuildings associated with the dwelling. However it also allows for a “secondary dwelling” which is a separate self-contained dwelling, whether attached or detached, that is used in conjunction with, and subordinate to the dwelling house on the same lot. The State’s Planning Regulation dictates that this secondary dwelling (e.g. a granny flat) is occupied by members of the same household as those in the main house. So for instance they may be relatives or close friends who have a connection or relationship.
Noosa’s planning scheme allows a secondary dwelling to be up to 65 square metres internal floor area and to have 2 bedrooms. No planning approval is required if it meets the acceptable outcomes of the scheme, unless there are particular constraints to the site.
Beyond the scope of a secondary dwelling, having two homes on one property is defined in legislation as a “dual occupancy”. The planning scheme doesn’t support dual occupancies outside the urban boundaries. Planning schemes use zones to determine the appropriate residential density of blocks and properties zoned for two or more households are typically close to town centres, services and public transport. Increasing residential densities in rural areas is not consistent with best practice planning nor with the South East Queensland Regional Plan. Having said that there are still provisions for farm workers or caretakers.
Transportable dwellings – one tiny house on wheels, which is registered as a vehicle and parked temporarily, is not considered to be a land use and therefore not controlled through the planning scheme. Otherwise a dwelling, regardless of its size, building material or construction method is still a dwelling.
Council has published numerous fact sheets and user guides to help interpret the planning scheme. These can be accessed online at https://www.noosa.qld.gov.au/user-guides-fact-sheets. There is a fact sheet specifically on secondary dwellings and another on living and working in the hinterland. The State also has a useful website that explains the planning framework – https://planning.dsdmip.qld.gov.au
Both our office and Noosa Council continue to explore various avenues to increase housing choice and are investigating potential planning scheme amendments in the coming months in an effort to improve options.