About the Study

We would like to hear your thoughts about the draft Shellharbour Business Centres and Surrounding Residential Lands Study (the Study). The Study includes information, analysis and direction about business centres and the residential areas near them.

On 17 December 2019, Council adopted the Shellharbour Local Housing Strategy. This strategy considered the housing needs for the City. A key outcome was to develop a further study to facilitate more housing diversity and choice within and around key centres with improved access to employment, shops, businesses and other services.

Over the past few months we have been working with PSA Consulting to develop the draft Shellharbour Business Centres and Surrounding Residential Lands Study (the Study), we have developed some frequently asked questions to help better understand the Study.

Business centres are areas with a concentration of shops, businesses, other services and facilities. Examples of business centres in Shellharbour City include:

  • Shellharbour City Centre’s Stockland Shellharbour and commercial/retail development on surrounding streets.
  • Street strip centres such as those centred around Central Avenue Oak Flats, Addison Street Shellharbour Village and Tongarra Road Albion Park.
  • Areas on the periphery of centres, with larger floor area businesses, such as in Warilla on the west side of Shellharbour Road (north of Lake Entrance Road), where furniture and electronic stores are located.
  • Smaller neighbourhood centres with a collection of shops/businesses

Residential lands surrounding some centres are included in the Study. These areas are sought after for living because of their access to centres’ employment, shops, businesses and other services. The surrounding residential lands are within a 400 metre walking distance to a centre.

The Study responds to the following recommendation of the Shellharbour Local Housing Strategy’s (SLHS) SLHS’s Implementation and Delivery Plan:

Council to review the density provisions of the current Business zones of each centre as part of a future Local Environmental Plan (LEP) amendment process (as well as the residential areas immediately surrounding these zones), to help facilitate the provision of housing diversity and choice within and around key centres that provide access to employment, services and other essential infrastructure and facilities.

Adopted by Council on 17 December 2019, the SLHS provides for the appropriate provision of all forms of housing for Shellharbour City over the next 25 years. It includes an analysis and response to demographic changes, housing preferences and housing supply/demand issues.

Some key findings and recommendations for the SLHS include:

  • The demand for housing in Shellharbour City over the next 25 years can be met by existing residential zoned land through infill and greenfield development.
  • There is a need for greater housing diversity and choice.

The Study aims to identify how centres and residential land nearby can accommodate an appropriate mix and diversity of housing. These areas are sought after for living because of their access to employment, shops, businesses and other services. While the SLHS indicated there is enough potential housing supply, it also said there needs to be more diversity and choice, including more smaller sized housing.

The Study identifies numerous proposals to change Council's Local Environmental Plan's (LEP’s) land use planning rules to accommodate a greater amount, diversity and mix of housing in and around centres.

This includes:

  • the proposed rezoning of numerous parcels of land from R2 Low Density Residential to R3 Medium Density Residential. This change would include increasing site density (floor space ratio) from .5:1 to .7:1. For instance on a 1000m2 site this increases the allowable site floor area from 500m2 to 700m2. Height would remain at 9 metres. Under the LEP, the R2 and R3 zone each allow a range of housing types, for instance dwelling houses, dual occupancy and multi dwelling housing (town houses, villas). The R3 zone allows residential flat buildings (RFBs or apartments) and a minimum 900m2 site area is needed for this type of development. The R2 zone does not permit RFBs.
  • a proposal to allow residential flat buildings on parts of the Warilla Grove site. Currently apartments are only permissible here as part of a shop top housing development.
  • Increasing building height allowances in certain locations at Warilla Grove, Warilla, Lake Illawarra, land adjoining Oak Flats train station and in Shellharbour City Centre.

In association with the Study’s proposals to change the LEP, there are numerous recommendations to improve the surrounding public domain.

These include recommendations:

  • to improve pedestrian connections for various localities;
  • for the Warilla Grove site, to activate street frontages, manage pedestrian and vehicle traffic; and
  • to prepare a separate study on how to improve pedestrian and cycle connectivity for Shellharbour City Centre.

The LEP refers to Shellharbour Local Environmental Plan 2013. This LEP sets out land use planning rules for different locations, including what types of housing and other land uses are permitted, how high development can be and how much floor area a site can have. The LEP is a key document for assessing development applications. Read more about Shellharbour LEP.

The DCP refers to the Shellharbour Development Control Plan. The main purpose of the DCP is to provide guidance on carrying out development that is permissible in an Environmental Planning Instrument such as State Environmental Planning Policies and Council's Local Environmental Plan. The DCP is a key document for assessing development applications. Read more about the Development Control Plan.

The Study is not an approval for any LEP or other changes. The Study acts as a first step towards any changes to the LEP and Development Control Plan.

Any final adopted Study may mean in principle Council support for the Study’s recommended LEP and other changes.

Any formal changes to the LEP would require the preparation of a planning proposal.

Planning proposals can be prepared by Council officers or lodged by an external party with Council. The Study would form an evidence base on which relevant future planning proposals with more detailed information may be strategically justified and prepared.


A planning proposal is the process used to consider changes to land use planning rules within the LEP. The steps required to be undertaken when a planning proposal is prepared and assessed are outlined by the NSW State Government’s Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. There are a number of parts of that process that require Council approval.

The Study has recommendations for Shellharbour City Centre, Albion Park, Oak Flats, Warilla, Warilla Grove and Lake Illawarra. The study does not recommend any changes to other suburbs. Find out more here.

If Council receives no opposing submissions from the public exhibition, then the Study will be adopted by Council.

If Council receives any opposing submissions, then these will be carefully considered and addressed in the report back to Council on the public exhibition outcomes. This may include changes to the Study.

The Study is not an approval for any LEP or other changes. The Study acts as a first step towards any changes to the LEP and Development Control Plan.

Any final adopted Study may mean in principle Council support for the Study’s recommended LEP and other changes.

Any formal changes to the LEP would require the preparation of a planning proposal.

Planning proposals can be prepared by Council officers or lodged by an external party with Council. The Study would form an evidence base on which relevant future planning proposals with more detailed information may be strategically justified and prepared.

Public domain improvements in any final adopted Study will be considered for inclusion in the Development Control Plan.