What is a Character Retention Area?

    A Character Retention Area refers to a defined area, whether a suburb, street or groups of lots which has a particular characteristic and cohesiveness worthy of retention or enhancement. A Character Retention Area is only established once it is formally included in Local Planning Policy 7.5.15 Character Retention and Heritage Areas.

    What rules apply in a Character Retention Area?

    It's different for each area depending on which character or architectural elements are significant. There are currently two identified Character Retention Areas under Local Planning Policy 7.5.15 each with their own set of guidelines. The guidelines developed for Character Retention Areas ensure that new development will be sympathetic to the character of the streetscape and provide guidance to landowners on how to adapt character homes to modern living without negatively affecting the character of the area.

    What if I want to subdivide my block or build more than one dwelling on my block in a Character Retention Area?

    Being in a Character Retention Area does not impact on your ability to subdivide or develop your property – this is purely dependant on the zoning and coding of your lot. 

    How has the idea of Character Area in Mount Hawthorn come about?

    The initiative to consider Mount Hawthorn as a Character Area has been led by the community.  The City received nominations from residents to consider 4 streets within the Mount Hawthorn areas as Character Areas. This has prompted the City to conduct wider engagement to gauge the thoughts of a broader area of the Mount Hawthorn community on the issue of character within their street. The City will only consider designating a Character Area where there is significant support from the community and will only proceed with the nomination where it is demonstrated by the nominee that owners of at least 40% of affected properties support proceeding with the nomination.

    How are the character guidelines created?

    After first asking the community what aspects of their streets are most valuable, the City prepared draft guidelines to reflect these views. We're now advertising these draft guidelines to make sure they're aligned with what the community wanted. After we receive comments, we'll present the guidelines to our Design Review Panel and then the Council for a determination to approve, refuse or modify. If there are significant modifications, we'll engage with the community again and let them know what we're planning to do.

    Where can I view the relevant policy for this proposal?

    The current policy for this proposal is LPP 7.5.15 – Character Retention Areas and Heritage Areas and can be found on the City’s website. The proposed policy amendment can be found in the sidebar under 'Document Library'.

    What elements of the area will be guided by the policy?

    The draft guidelines currently include provisions relating to the following issues, which are subject to advertising and Council approval: 

    · Street setbacks;
    · Height;
    · Setbacks of Garages and Carports;
    · Street surveillance; 
    · Street walls and fences; 
    · General building design.

    What if I want to demolish the existing dwelling on my block in a Character Area?

    Being in a Character Area does not prevent you from demolishing your property. New buildings, however, must comply with any approved guidelines.

    What does 40% support of the nomination mean?

    The City requires a Character Area nomination be supported by a minimum of 40% of owners in the nominated area to start the process. This helps the City know there is initial interest from the community before we commence any community engagement.  40% support is not required for final adoption of Character Area guidelines - this will be determined by Council taking into consideration all submissions received during a subsequent formal advertising period.