Rooftop gardens in Brisbane are about to become more common

Brisbane developers will be able to add rooftop gardens without impacting profitable floorspace if proposed amendments to the city plan go ahead.

The changes will exclude landscaping and green rooftops from the additional storey count in medium to high-density, residential, commercial and mixed-use developments.

This will have an impact on the visual outlines and facilities of rooftops and the skyline, as council continues to push the creation and protection of greenspace across the city, however the changes might be too little too late.

Hickey Oatley principal town planner Mia Hickey said it is yet to be seen if the new standards will create a good rooftop or be applicable to existing designs.

“It’s a step in the right direction but it’s a bit late,” Hickey said. “It has taken its time to get to where we are and developers have been leading the charge with the planning scheme not necessary supporting them”.

For a rooftop garden to not count as a storey, it has to provide communal open space, be at least 15% landscaped and any structures with solid roofs such as pergolas or gazebos must be less than to 30% of the space. Structures built on the roof are limited to 6 metres providing they are set back 3.5 metres from the sides of the building. Developers will also have to ensure the growing environment can maintain its visual outcomes over the long term.

This is one of many proposed citywide amendments in progress by Brisbane City Council.

The council is also proposing zoning changes for Camp Hill to protect its heritage buildings as well as the protections of a number of traditional homes and trees in Kangaroo Point.

The rooftop garden amendments are currently in the public consultation phase and will be reviewed next year by the Queensland government, if successful they will come into effect in late 2021.

Hickey said developers who have already incorporated rooftop gardens are seeing improved vacancy rates in their buildings.

“It’s becoming very important for apartment buildings to be delivering such an offering, especially in the inner city, that is what people crave,” Hickey said.

“Hopefully this planning scheme will facilitate and encourage them, it’s just whether the prescriptive nation of it is a good or a bad thing, that is yet to be tested.”

What do you think – are these planning changes too little, too late? Or are they a step in the right direction? Let us know in the comments below!

Written: 12 December 2020, Updated: 8 December 2020

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