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Noosa Council map of North Peregian Beach showing a refused application for STA (red) with resorts (yellow) and houses used for Short Term holiday accommodation (blue)

By Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie

New data prompts changes to Short Term Accommodation assessment in Medium/High Density Residential Zones.

The complexities in managing the impacts of Short Term Accommodation (STA) on residential neighbourhoods crossed a tipping point this month with council staff recommending refusal for four STA applications in Medium and High Density Residential Neighbourhoods.

The Noosa Planning Scheme deems STA a Consistent use, Impact assessable in Medium and High Density Residential zones. The intention was to protect the Low Density Residential neighbourhoods from being fragmented by STA’s and help ensure availability of permanent residences and rentals while permitting STAs in areas where traditionally holiday accommodation had existed, such as in MDR and HDR.

The Planning Scheme’s Locality Plan code for Medium and High Density Residential zones also require that “Medium and High Density Residential Neighbourhoods are predominantly home to permanent residents.”

New data this month has shown that these neighbourhoods are in danger of being no longer predominantly preserved for residential use.

In Noosa’s coastal areas including Tewantin and the Eastern Beaches, an average of 23% of all properties are now STAs.

As there are fewer in Tewantin, this means there is a much higher saturation point in residential neighbourhoods closer to the coast such as Sunshine Beach and Peregian, see graphic of Peregian (attached), where the properties marked in Blue are STAs at an estimated saturation rate closer to 50%.

The Regional Migration Index also showed In the March 2021 Noosa had the largest growth in inward migration from capitals among all LGAs in Australia (49%). This was followed by Southern Downs, Port Macquarie-Hastings in New South Wales and Launceston in Tasmania. This unprecedented demand is placing enormous pressure on housing availability and sending property prices skywards.

Staff recommended refusal for the four STAs in Medium/High Density Residential Zones in Sunshine Beach, Noosaville and Peregian.

Councillors refused the Peregian application due to it laying adjacent to a low density residential neighbourhood, number of objections and the existing high number of STA’s in the zone. The three others were approved.

To help better understand, and inform the community, applicants and industry about, the shire’s housing needs and the factors affecting pricing, affordability and future development assessment of STAs, the council passed a motion bringing forward an urgent report on all of the above and outlining short, medium and long-term solutions.

This will be done in addition to the ongoing research being undertaken to inform mid-term planning scheme amendments.

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