General Codes

4.19 Design And Siting General Code

4.19.1 Application

This code applies to works within the following precincts and areas:

  • The Parliamentary Zone
  • Deakin/Forrest
  • Barton
  • Australian National Botanic Gardens
  • CSIRO Black Mountain
  • Australian National University
  • Australian Defence Force Academy and Royal Military College Duntroon
  • Inner Hills
  • Yarralumla, Deakin, Red Hill and O’Malley Diplomatic Precincts.

4.19.2 Background

The broad aim that will be applied by the National Capital Authority in the exercise of its obligations under the Act may be derived from the paragraphs which follow.

The National Capital Authority subscribes to the belief that an individual should, in the ordering of his own affairs, suffer the minimum restrictions and inconveniences imposed by administrative controls. On the other hand, Canberra is a unique city. As a National Capital it has special purpose and character and this imposes responsibilities on persons planning the city and obligations on those carrying out development in it. This is particularly the case within Designated Areas.

In exercising control over development within Designated Areas, the National Capital Authority is guided by a desire to have quality, character and permanence consistent with the concept of a National Capital in all construction. It seeks to develop an atmosphere of civil dignity and domestic amenity. Its aim is to ensure that development in all forms will not take away from but rather add to the value of the total investment in Canberra. That is to say, development must complement and enrich its surroundings.

4.19.3 Detailed conditions of planning, design and development

Conditions for detached houses

Introduction

In relation to a detached house, the objectives of the policies are to provide for the residential amenity of the occupants of the house and the maintenance of amenity of adjoining houses and to ensure that an acceptable environmental quality is obtained in the neighbourhood.

The National Capital Authority expects the builders and owners of houses in Designated Areas to take advantage of opportunities provided by the conditions for achieving a harmonious and satisfying environment for living.

General conditions

Performance and quantitative standards

The quantitative standards contained in these conditions are objective guides to the performance standards adopted by the National Capital Authority.

Compliance with the quantitative standards will therefore not necessarily result in works approval unless the performance standards have, in the opinion of the National Capital Authority, also been achieved.

On the other hand, works approval may be given under special circumstances when the performance standards can be achieved without complete compliance with the quantitative standards.

Group schemes

One objective of offering leases in a group is to encourage a high standard of compatibility and amenity in the design and siting of buildings erected on the leases. Buildings should be related by careful siting and choice of materials, colour and roof lines. Amenity will be served by siting buildings to enable privacy and quietness and to limit the adverse effects of climate and maximise its advantages.

When buildings to be erected on leases, however offered, are planned as a group, the general conditions may be varied to the extent required to give effect to a proposal acceptable to the National Capital Authority.

For the purpose of these conditions, two adjoining leases may be considered as a group on the application of the lessees.

Conditions established prior to the offer or grant of lease

Any special design and siting requirements contained in the conditions of lease, or in the conditions of building approval, or in any plan or document that is exhibited or otherwise made available for public inspection prior to the offer or grant of a lease, will constitute the National Capital Authority’s conditions in respect of the development of a lease and will over-ride any other condition stated herein with which it may conflict. If considered by the National Capital Authority to be relevant such requirements will apply to any subsequent alteration, extension or rebuilding. The general conditions will also apply with the exception of those that are modified by any special design and siting requirements notified prior to the offer or grant of a lease.

Rebuilding

The National Capital Authority will consider a proposal for rebuilding or any major alteration of an existing building which materially alters the bulk or appearance of the building, only if it is accompanied by a plan indicating a scheme of comprehensive development of the block in accordance with the policies for the area in which the block is located.

Garages and carports

If it is not intended to erect a garage or carport at the time of lodging a plan for a new detached house, the plan should show by means of a dotted line the place where a garage or carport could be erected.

Buildings in relation to front boundaries

Preamble

Since Canberra’s inception the garden city concept has been an integral part of the residential environment. This has been achieved by an emphasis on the landscaping of streets and front gardens and upon the avoidance of structures in front of dwellings discordant with the suburban streetscape. These principles underlie the performance and quantitative standards which follow.

Performance standards

The planning objectives in requiring buildings to be set back given distances from front property boundaries are:

  1. to enable a building to be sited so that its occupants can, as far as possible, be assured of an outlook that will not be obstructed by neighbouring buildings that might otherwise be erected closer to the front property boundary
  2. to provide an area adjacent to the street or open space for landscape treatment so that the garden character which is a major environmental feature of suburban Canberra can be preserved and maintained
  3. in certain circumstances, to protect the sight lines of drivers of motor vehicles.

Quantitative standards

The building line of a one storey building may be more than but not less than 6 metres from the front property boundary.

Buildings of more than one storey

The building line of buildings of more than one storey may be more than but not less than 7.5 metres from the front property boundary.

Each corner block will have two building lines. The building line in respect to the major frontage must be in accordance with one storey buildings and Buildings of more than one storey above. The building line in respect to the minor frontage must be not less than 4.5 metres in the case of a one storey building and not less than 6 metres in the case of a two storey building.

  1. Except where provided for below, no structure, including fences, car shelters or clothes hoists, but excluding lighting posts, letter boxes and retaining walls of a reasonable height will be permitted between a minimum building line and a front property boundary.
  2. Where a pedestrian walkway abuts a block along the side boundary, a fence or wall not exceeding 1.2 metres in height may be permitted.
  3. Walls and/or fences not exceeding 1.2 metres in height may be erected along frontage boundaries abutting pedestrian walkways.
  4. Walls and/or fences not exceeding 1.2 metres in height may be permitted between the building line and a frontage boundary abutting a designated open space, where in the National Capital Authority’s opinion the proposed fence or wall will create no adverse affect on the landscape character of the open space.
  5. Walls, including gates, may be erected to enclose or partly enclose a courtyard in front of the minimum building line provided that:
    • The courtyard so formed must not at any point traverse more than one half of the width of the block measured at the same point and must be a minimum distance of 3.0 metres from the front property boundary.
    • The walls and gates must not exceed a height of 1.8 metres above natural ground level
    • Materials must be the same as or similar to those of the main building
    • The walls and gates must be at least partially screened and softened in appearance by landscape planting to the satisfaction of the National Capital Authority
    • For corner blocks a courtyard may be provided in respect of each property frontage.
  6. Gates may be permitted abutting front property boundaries, provided they are incorporated in existing hedges. Gates in hedges must not exceed 1.8 metres in height or such lesser height as the National Capital Authority may determine in a particular case having consideration for the nature of the hedge. For the purpose of this condition a hedge must be well established and vigorous at the time of lodgement of an application for a gate.
Buildings in relation to side boundaries

Performance standard

Requirements for side distances are intended to achieve the following objectives:

  1. to allow adequate light and ventilation and to preserve the privacy of neighbours
  2. in some cases to provide a space wide enough for vehicles to pass by the house on one side at least
  3. to provide access for fire control and to inhibit the easy escape of fire
  4. to create a spatial separation between detached buildings for reasons of civic design.

Quantitative standards

The minimum distance between the side walls of a one storey building and the side boundary of a block will be a combined distance of 4.5 metres with a minimum distance on any one side of 1.8 metres.

The minimum distance between the side wall of a building of more than one storey and the side boundary will be H/2 for an effective frontage of up to 23 metres, plus an additional 0.5 metres for every 3 metres of effective frontage over 23 metres, provided that the distance between the side wall and the boundary is at least 3 metres.

H = Height of building

‘Height of building’ means the difference between the mean natural ground level of that length of the side boundary which is adjacent to the building and the highest point or points of the parapet, eaves or fascia in the case of flat roofs or roofs pitched at less than 45 degrees. Where the roof is pitched at more than 45 degrees the highest point will be measured to a line midway between the top of the eaves or fascia and the ridge.

Buildings in relation to rear boundaries

Performance standard

Requirements for rear distances are intended to allow adequate light and ventilation to preserve the privacy of neighbours and to ensure the provision of a service yard.

Quantitative standards

The minimum distance between the rear wall of a single storey building and the rear property boundary must be 4 metres and the corresponding distance for a 2 storey building must be 7.5 metres.

Plot Ratio

The application of a plot ratio is intended to place an upper limit on the amount of floor space in a building development on a site.

The plot ratio must not be greater than 0.35 for a block larger than 550 square metres or 0.4 for a block smaller than 450 square metres provided that a building or buildings with floor space of up to 192 square metres may be erected on a block larger than 450 square metres.

Garages, carports and outbuildings

Performance standard

Exceptions to the above policies with respect to setbacks and building lines of garages, carports and outbuildings are permitted in certain circumstances to achieve greater opportunities for use of the lessee’s block, without adversely affecting the neighbouring blocks.

Quantitative standards

Building to side or rear boundaries behind rear wall of main buildings

A garage, carport or outbuilding may be erected behind the rear wall of the main building on or adjacent to the side or rear boundary if the walls on or adjacent to that boundary have no perforations and are of an approved material. The wall should not exceed a mean of 2.5 metres in height measured from the natural ground level and must not exceed 24 square metres in area.

  1. A carport may be erected beside a building on or adjacent to a side boundary and may be enclosed on the side by a wall constructed of brick, masonry or other similar material approved by the National Capital Authority provided that the wall does not exceed a mean of 2.5 metres in height measured from the natural ground level, nor 18 square metres in area.
  2. A garage may be erected on or adjacent to a side boundary provided that there is not less than 1.8 metres between the garage and the main building erected on the block and provided that the wall on or adjacent to the boundary has no perforations and is constructed of brick or masonry or other similar material approved by the National Capital Authority and does not exceed a mean of 2.5 metres in height measured from the natural ground level nor 18 square metres in area.

In special circumstances, for example, where a block has a gradient of more than 1 in 10, the National Capital Authority may approve the erection of a garage in front of the building line.

Walls and fences may be erected on or adjacent to the side or rear boundaries (but behind the front building line) to a height of 1.8 metres above natural ground level. Proposals for walls or fences in excess of that height will be subject to special consideration.

Height

Quantitative standards

Detached houses must not be more than two storeys in height. Although certain sites enable the inclusion of basement and/or attic storeys, designs should not be adapted to take advantage of any allowance for basement and attic in circumstances where the design is unsuitable both in relation to the site and the neighbouring buildings.

External appearance of buildings

Performance standard

The external treatment of buildings including materials, colours and general standard of finish, must ensure that the buildings, walls, etc. are appropriate to and not discordant with the general development and amenity of the locality.

Quantitative standards

Permanently highly reflective metal roofs will not be approved. Tiled roofs having a strong pattern or marked colour contrast will not be approved.

  1. Except as provided for below, structures above roofs are not permitted.
  2. Structures necessary under the ACT building regulations, and solar energy devices, may be permitted. Proposals may be subject to conditions in respect of type, position, size, height or appearance.
  3. External television antennae affixed at the rear of the main building in the least conspicuous position when viewed from public areas, may be permitted to extend no more than 1.5 m above the highest point of the roof.
  4. External television antennae not meeting the requirements of (c) above may be permitted where the need for the proposal for reasonable reception of Canberra channels is established by a report from an appropriately qualified technician.
  5. A radio transmitter mast or aerial should be on a freestanding structure at the rear of the main building in the least conspicuous position when viewed from public areas.

Conditions for buildings other than detached houses

General conditions

Conditions established prior to the offer or grant of lease

Any special design and siting requirements contained in the conditions of lease, or in the conditions of building approval, or in any plan or document that is exhibited or otherwise made available for public inspection prior to the offer or grant of a lease, will constitute the National Capital Authority’s conditions in respect of the development of a lease and will over-ride any other condition stated herein with which it may conflict. If considered by the National Capital Authority to be relevant such requirements will apply to any subsequent alteration, extension or rebuilding. The general conditions will also apply with the exception of those that are modified by any special design and siting requirements notified prior to the offer or grant of a lease.

Re-building

The National Capital Authority will consider a proposal for re-building or any major alterations of an existing building which materially alters the bulk or appearance of the building, only if it is accompanied by a plan indicating a scheme of comprehensive development of the block in accordance with announced policies for the area in which the block is located.

Relationship between neighbouring buildings

The height, bulk, form, siting and character of building proposals in relation to neighbouring buildings, roads and landscape must not be conducive to congestion of parking and road facilities in the locality, and must ensure a harmonious relationship with adjoining buildings. To implement this general policy, it is necessary for the following design and siting controls to be exercised. In special circumstances, it may be necessary for the National Capital Authority to determine additional conditions to those set out hereunder.

Coverage

Unless otherwise specifically provided for, the area occupied by buildings including any out-buildings on a block should not exceed one-half of the total area of the block.

Height

Generally, the height of any building should not exceed two storeys.

Plot ratio

The Plot Ratio must not be greater than 0.40 for residential buildings other than detached houses, and 1.00 for commercial and industrial buildings, unless otherwise specifically provided for.

Building line and setbacks

The design and siting conditions for detached houses with respect to set backs from the front, side and rear boundaries will apply to residential buildings other than detached houses.

The building lines and set backs for commercial and industrial buildings will be such distances as may be approved in particular circumstances.

External appearance of buildings

The external treatment of buildings, including materials, colours and general standards of finish must ensure that the buildings, walls, fences and other ancillary structures are appropriate to and not discordant with the general development and amenity of the locality.

To implement this general condition it is necessary for the following design and siting conditions to be exercised. In special circumstances, it may be necessary for the National Capital Authority to determine additional design and siting conditions to those set out hereunder.

Roofs

Permanently highly reflective metal roofs will not be approved.

Generally, tiled roofs having a strong pattern or marked colour contrast will not be approved.

Structures above roofs

The design and siting conditions for detached houses with respect to structures above roofs will apply to buildings other than detached houses.

Façades

All façades of commercial and industrial buildings and returns should be of durable and low maintenance material and be subject to approval in respect of proportions, fenestrations, materials and colours having regard to the building itself and its relationship to adjoining buildings.

Screening walls

Generally, where service areas are visible from the road or a public reserve a screening wall or fence will be required. Where a commercial or industrial building is not constructed along the full frontage of the block, a screen wall with gates may be required between the building and the front and/or side boundaries of the block.

Structures in front of buildings

Generally no structures are to be erected between the building line and the front property boundary.

Landscaping and other matters

In order to satisfy the objectives contained in the general conditions it may be necessary for the National Capital Authority to require the submission of acceptable landscape proposals as a condition of approval.

Siting of buildings

The siting of buildings on blocks must ensure adequate space for access, internal circulations, parking, off-street loading, light, air and landscaping. To implement this general condition it is necessary for the following design and siting conditions to be exercised. In special circumstances, it may be necessary for the National Capital Authority to determine additional design and siting conditions to those set out hereunder.

Access

Vehicular entrances and exits for all blocks must be of sufficient width having regard to their probable use and be located in a position which, in the opinion of the National Capital Authority, is not hazardous to traffic safety and not likely to create traffic congestion.

Internal circulation

Where appropriate, adequate provision must be made for internal vehicular circulation on sites leased for residential buildings other than detached houses and for commercial and industrial buildings.

Parking

Off-street parking spaces, open or enclosed, must be provided for all new buildings and enlargements or conversions of existing buildings in accordance with the following provisions where relevant or other agreed standards:

Type of Building Minimum parking space requirement
Residential Building

Two spaces per dwelling unit if such unit is designed for family accommodation and one space per dwelling unit plus adequate space for visitor parking if such unit is designed for single accommodation.

Motels, Hotels Guest Houses,

One space per bedroom and/or rooming unit.

Commercial and Industrial Building

One space per two employees except in areas where the parking requirement is varied by policy instrument.

Institutional

To be determined for each building proposal depending on use, building floorspace, employees, visitors and location.

Off-street loading

In order to satisfy the objectives contained within the general conditions, it may be necessary for the National Capital Authority to require that facilities for loading and unloading of goods be provided wholly within the boundaries of the block.

4.20 Signs General Code

4.20.1 Application

This code applies to proposals for signage within Designated Areas.

For the purposes of this code, signs are defined as:

any writing (including letter, word or numeral); pictorial representation (including illustration or decoration); emblem (including device, symbol or trademark); flag (including banner or pennant); or any other figure of similar character; which:

  1. is a structure or any part thereof, or is attached to, painted on, or in any other manner represented on a building or other structure
  2. is used to announce, direct attention to, or advertise
  3. is visible from outside a building. A sign must include writing, representation or other figure of similar character within a building only when illuminated and located in a window.

but for the purposes of these conditions does not include:

  1. traffic or similar regulatory devices, legal notices, or warnings at railway crossings
  2. temporary signs announcing a campaign, drive or event of political, civic, philanthropic, educational or religious organisations
  3. memorial signs or tablets
  4. signs denoting architect, engineer or contractor when placed on construction sites and not exceeding 0.5m2 in area or combined signs denoting architect, engineer and contractor not exceeding 2.5m2 in area
  5. signs required to be maintained by law or governmental order or regulation, with a total surface area not exceeding 1.0m2 on any block
  6. temporary signs displayed for the purpose only of advertising premises for sale or lease, providing such signs have a total surface area not exceeding 0.5 m2
  7. small signs displayed for the direction or convenience of the public, including signs which identify rest rooms, freight entrances, or the like, with a total surface area not exceeding 0.5m2 on any block
  8. temporary signs displayed for the purpose only of advertising a group development provided such signs have a total surface area not exceeding 2.5 m2.

4.20.2 Background

Carefully designed and positioned signs, in addition to fulfilling their roles of informing, directing and advertising, may positively enhance and enliven Canberra’s major commercial and tourist areas and aid in giving imageability and form to the city. Conversely, insensitive or poorly designed and constructed signs may detract from the architectural appearance of buildings and adversely affect the pleasantness and general amenity of an area to a marked degree.

Emphasis should be placed on constructive dialogue between the National Capital Authority and applicants to achieve standards of design and construction commensurate with the amenity and sensitivity of the locality of a particular application. Residential development is regarded as being vulnerable to the impact of signage and prescribed standards are considered appropriate to ensure that there is no diminution of residential amenity.

4.20.3 Detailed conditions of planning, design and development

General conditions

  1. The type, position, size, appearance, illumination, animation, content or other characteristics of any proposed sign must ensure a quality and character of appearance both by day and night which, in the opinion of the National Capital Authority, befits the National Capital.
  2. The National Capital Authority will refuse to approve any sign where it is of the opinion that the type, position, size, appearance, illumination, animation, content or other characteristics of the sign may adversely affect:
    1. the amenity of the locality or neighbourhood with particular regard to nearby residential development
    2. the architectural character or appearance of a building
    3. traffic safety
    4. a ‘place’ within the meaning of and subject to the provisions of the relevant Commonwealth heritage legislation.
  3. The National Capital Authority will refuse to approve any sign which it considers offensive.
  4. The National Capital Authority will not grant approval of an application with the respect to the external design and siting of any structure or sign unless such structure or sign would comply with all other relevant policies or conditions of this Plan.
  5. The National Capital Authority may, either unconditionally or subject to such terms and conditions as it deems necessary, modify or waive the provisions of the sections that follow, where it is of the opinion that the application of the same to or in respect of any particular sign would be impracticable or unreasonable and provided that the requirements of the ‘General conditions’ herein are satisfied.
  6. Any application for the use, construction or erection on or above the roof or top of any building of any device, advertisement, sky sign, sign, signal or structure of the nature of a sign or signal, excepting flags and flag poles, will not be approved where the proposal would alter any silhouette of the building by extension beyond or above the walls, parapet or roof of the building, lift tower or plant room.
  7. Animated or flashing signs and signs illuminated by exposed lamps or neon tubes as distinct from backlighting or floodlighting, will generally not be approved.

Signs in residential areas

  1. Signs on blocks used for:
    • residential purposes, including approved home businesses
    • purposes approved following lease variation procedures
    • institutional or recreation purposes within residential areas
  2. may be approved if such signs:
    1. are not animated or flashing
    2. are not illuminated by exposed lamps or neon tubes as distinct from backlighting or floodlighting
    3. are restricted in content to the name and nature of the permitted occupation or institution
  3. do not exceed aggregate surface areas of 0.2m2 per residential unit and 0.8m2 per site. Signs depicting block layouts are exempted from this standard and will be considered separately
  4. in respect of residential blocks, are affixed to the building façade at ground storey level only and are not located on fascias, awnings or free standing on the site.

Signs on commercial and industrial buildings and on institutional and other buildings not located within residential areas

  1. Signs above first storey level, signs facing residential development nearby or on the opposite side of the street within residential neighbourhoods which may be visible from residential buildings nearby, must not be animated or flashing or be illuminated by exposed lamps or neon tubes as distinct from backlighting or floodlighting.
  2. Subject to (1) above, signs located at ground level and first storey levels including signs projecting from buildings at these levels and signs on or under awnings, will not be restricted provided that:
    1. they are consistent with the ‘General conditions’ of this code
    2. the clearance between the pavement level and any sign projecting from a building or affixed to an awning, must not be less than 2.5 metres.
  3. Signs above above first storey level will be restricted in content to the name of the building and the name, insignia and type of activity of the principal occupant. Such signs must not project from the building and must constitute only separate characters and/or symbols individually affixed to or represented on the building façade. Generally there will not be more than one sign on each face of the building above first storey level.

Freestanding signs

  1. Freestanding signs may be approved on business leases provided that:
    1. unnecessary repetition or multiplicity is avoided
    2. sign content is restricted to the name, insignia and type of business activity combined with the advertising of the principal product or services being offered on the site
    3. the height of freestanding signs must not exceed four metres within residential neighbourhoods and six metres in other locations
    4. the surface area of freestanding signs must not exceed 3m2 within residential neighbourhoods and 6m2 in other locations except that the maximum surface area of a sign identifying a shopping centre must be determined having regard to the particular circumstances and merits of a proposal.
  2. Freestanding signs may be approved on sites used for recreational, institutional, educational or other similar purposes provided that:
    1. sign content is restricted to the name, insignia and type of activity
    2. within residential neighbourhoods there must not be more than one freestanding sign per site
    3. unnecessary repetition or multiplicity is avoided
    4. subject to Freestanding signs (1(iv)) above, the surface area of a freestanding sign must not exceed 3m2 and the height must not exceed 4 metres.
  3. Freestanding signs must not be animated or flashing or be illuminated by exposed lamps or neon tubes as distinct from backlighting or floodlighting.

Signs on unleased land

Real estate road sign

Real estate signs which direct the public to sites currently for sale or lease may be placed on the verge of roadways subject to the removal of the signs at the end of each day. Such signs should generally:

  • be of an A-frame structure
  • be located further than 20 metres from a road intersection
  • not be located on Main Avenues adjacent to the Parliamentary Zone, on Anzac Parade or on the approaches to the Prime Minister’s Lodge or the Governor-General’s residence
  • have a surface dimension not greater than 900 mm width and 1200 mm height and a maximum height above ground level of 1500 mm
  • be firmly secured to the ground while on display
  • not be animated
  • display direction to the property for sale or lease and the agent’s name with the agent’s name/logo occupying an area of not greater than 50 per cent of the sign
  • not have a highly reflective surface.
Hawkers’ signs

Hawkers’ signs in Designated Areas may only be displayed where they:

  • are not within the National Triangle or on Main Avenues or Approach Routes (except in relation to events or otherwise approved by the National Capital Authority or on or near construction sites)
  • are not less than one kilometre from other hawkers
  • include one sign of moderate scale at the site of standing and not more than one additional sign on each side of the road approaching the site
  • are approved by a relevant agency of the ACT Government as being safe from a traffic point of view
  • have a surface dimension not greater than 900 mm width and 1200 mm height and a maximum height above ground level of 1500 mm
  • do not have highly reflective surfaces
  • are removable and only displayed on site during hours of operation.
Community roadside signs

Community roadside signs, which advertise local events not subject to an entry or site fee, may be placed on the verge of roadways or other unleased lands, subject to their removal at the end of the advertised event. Each community organisation may only display a maximum of six movable signs for one week prior to the advertised event. Such signs should generally:

  • be of an A-frame structure
  • be located further than 20 metres from a road intersection
  • not be located on Main Avenues adjacent to the Parliamentary Zone, Anzac Parade and the approaches to the Prime Minister’s lodge and the Governor-General’s residence
  • have a surface dimension not greater than 900 mm width and 1200 mm height and a maximum height above ground level of 1500 mm
  • be firmly secured to the ground while on display
  • not be animated
  • only contain the name of the organisation and information related to the forthcoming event
  • not impede maintenance activities such as mowing of grass
  • not be offensive
  • not have a highly reflective surface or be iridescent in colour.
Flags and banners

Subject to traffic safety assessment by the relevant ACT Government agency flags and banners may be displayed within road reserves. Such signs should generally comply with the following:

  • approval may be granted by the National Capital Authority for the display of event banners and flags where these are of a standard which is consistent with the values of the National Capital and are not in the form of a commercial advertising sign
  • banners may be suspended across Northbourne Avenue and London Circuit from vertical supports
  • banners on light poles are not permitted in Anzac Parade
  • the use of light poles for the flying of banners is to meet the requirements of the ACT Government’s policy in respect of the use of its assets
  • when erected on Territory Land flags and banners may only be installed by direct arrangement with an agency or contractor of the ACT Government
  • the erection of flags in any location is not to be in conflict with the flag protocols administered by the Australian Government
  • flags and banners identifying the ACT Visitor Information Centre are permitted in the road verge adjacent to the centre, but not in the median
  • banners on light poles should not compromise existing landscapes
  • the use of commercial wording or sponsorship acknowledgment is limited to no more than 20 per cent of the banner
  • all costs associated with the design, manufacture, installation and removal of banners or flags are to be met by the applicant
  • materials used in flags and banners must be able to withstand the effects of rain, sun and wind without colours running or fading or fabrics tearing due to wind loads
  • materials used in flags and banners are not to be highly reflective
  • flags and banners may be displayed for up to two weeks before an event, during an event and for no more than 48 hours after the event.

Major events signs

Changing events signs

Signs promoting or describing an event at an institution may be erected and displayed on approved structures, or in an approved manner, without further approval subject to the following criteria being met:

  • the signs are erected and displayed for specific periods during the display, program or event
  • the content of the sign is not offensive and relates to its context
  • commercial wording or sponsorship acknowledgment occupies no greater than 20 per cent of the sign.
Groups of signs for events

Groups of signs, promoting a major event conducted for more than two days, may be displayed where such signs are of a similar type to an approved sign without the need for separate approval of each sign where:

  • they seek to promote an event or program of special significance and broad community interest
  • they are not displayed in Anzac Parade or adjacent to the Prime Minister’s Lodge or the Governor-General’s residence
  • they are not displayed in the median of road reserves
  • the contents of the signs are not offensive and harmonise with the landscape
  • they are not garish or iridescent
  • they are not highly reflective
  • commercial wording or sponsorship acknowledgment occupies no greater than 20 per cent of the sign
  • promotional signs are displayed for no longer than two weeks prior to the event
  • directional signs are only displayed during the days of the event
  • they are removed within 48 hours of the conclusion of the event.

Services and commercial directional signs

Services signs

Signs that provide direction to service outlets such as emergency services, food, accommodation, service stations, pharmacies, religious centres, and the like should meet the following conditions:

  • signs for services located away from Main Avenues and Approach Routes, should be generally in the form of internationally recognised symbols and not include business names
  • service signs on sites fronting Main Avenues and Approach Routes should only be located on the site on which the service is provided
  • service venues are to be shown in a list of places and on a services location map agreed to by the National Capital Authority.
Commercial directional signs

Signs to provide direction to business centres may only include the name of the relevant Town Centre, Group Centre or Local Centre.

Signs to business activities outside of commercial centres may be erected in the form of finger boards and should comply with the following:

  • there are to be no more than five commercial directional signs as finger boards attached to poles at any one location
  • the signs are to be erected by, and remain the property of, the ACT Government
  • the display of the signs is to be managed so as to be kept in an orderly fashion and in good repair
  • the signs should conform to Section 3 of the Australian Standard 1742.5 – 1997: Street name and community facility name signs.

Site identification signs

Signs erected in public places to identify the name of the places such as parks, squares, walks, historic sites, open spaces and the like should comply with the following:

  • signs in the National Capital Open Space System should be consistent in design in terms of style, size and materials used and should be part of a hierarchy of signs which reinforces the significance of the Open Space System. The hierarchy of such signs should be for primary signs at the site entry and secondary signs comprising:
    • directional signs
    • destination indicators
    • place name signs
    • interpretive signs
  • sponsorship signs or sponsorship names on signs are not permitted on Main Avenues or Approach Routes, in the National Capital Open Space System, in the Parliamentary Zone (except where such signs comply with a comprehensive Project or Precinct Signage Plan approved by the National Capital Authority), near the Prime Minister’s Lodge or the Governor General’s residence
  • markers or signs identifying places may include dedication information or historic information about the place on or near where the sign is located
  • site identification signs are to be erected by, and remain the property of, the Australian Government (on National Land) or the ACT Government on (Territory Land).

Tourist destination signs

Signs, which direct the public to major tourist sites and places, should generally comply with the following:

  • tourist drives may be identified by a system of numbers and colours on standard signs placed along the drives with detailed information of attractions along the route available for visitors in published form at visitor information centres
  • tourist drive numbers should be incorporated in new tourist destination signs or may be fixed as a separate sign beneath destination signs or traffic signs
  • groups of attractions, located at a single destination, may be identified by displaying the group destination name on a series of signs which lead up to that destination
  • tourist destination signs, other than tourist route signs, are to be at the last major turn-off to the venue
  • individual attractions may be identified as features of this centre on a single sign on arrival at the centre
  • sponsorship will not be permitted on tourist destination signs other than those which have naming rights for the destination
  • the signs should conform to the Australian Standard 1742.6 – 1990: Service and tourist signs for motorists
  • the main entry points to the Parliamentary Zone may be signalled by distinctive signs such as banners or place signs located in the verges of the Main Avenues
  • the signs are to be erected by, and remain the property of, the ACT Government
  • excessive repetition of tourist destination signs should be avoided
  • signs are to be painted metal and all single-sided signs are to be painted on the visible reverse side
  • a system of standard symbols, lettering and colour schemes should be followed in directing the travelling public to tourist venues.

Advertising signs on street furniture

Advertising signs may be displayed on bus shelters subject to the following:

  • only one advertising sign will be permitted on each bus shelter
  • the sign is to be of a dimension not exceeding 1.5 metres by 1 metre
  • the sign may be side illuminated
  • the sign structure is to be an integral part of the design of the shelter on which it is displayed
  • such signs are not permitted in Anzac Parade or on bus shelters in Commonwealth, Kings and Constitution Avenues or the area bounded by these Avenues.

Tourist and radio identification signs

Tourist and visitor information radio identification signs will be considered where they comply with the following:

  • a single radio station notice may be displayed on a single pole
  • for multiple station identification in one location the design is to be in the form of a combined notice board which may display up to five radio station frequencies
  • the signs may be located in the Visitor Information Centre at Regatta Point and within car parks of major institutions which function as tourist attractions
  • tourist radio identification signs displaying only the frequency of a station may be permitted in the information lay-bys on Approach Routes but not elsewhere on the Main Avenues and Approach Routes
  • the signs are to be painted metal structures with white lettering on a blue background showing only the frequency and the broadcaster identification letters or numbers.

Billboards

Billboards are not permitted on unleased land in Designated Areas.

Tourist information signs

Tourist information signs on Approach Routes, other than tourist directional signs, are to comply with the following:

The hierarchy of signs on Approach Routes is to include:

  • a border marker sign which is a single purpose sign to mark the border between the ACT and NSW. Such markers may be on either side of the road at the border
  • a City of Canberra identification sign, of a scale less than that of the border sign, may placed in the road verge away from and following the border sign
  • tourist information lay-bys may contain a number of pedestrian scale sign boards displaying:
    • a guide map of the Territory
    • welcoming messages in different languages
    • changeable signs advertising major events in Canberra
    • signs directing visitors to the Visitor Information Centre at Regatta Point
  • Visitor Information Centre signs which identify the distances to the Centre and use the internationally recognised information symbol.

4.21 Telecommunications General Code

4.21.1 Background

These policies apply to the installation and erection of telecommunications facilities, being facilities subject to the Telecommunications Act 1997. The policies for telecommunications facilities consist of General Policies and Specific Policies.

General Policies are broadly based and define the key objectives and general policies for the design and siting of telecommunications infrastructure throughout the ACT. Carriers, service providers and individuals will need to take account of the General Policies when installing facilities within the ACT.

Specific Policies define the conditions and standards for the siting of telecommunications infrastructure within Designated Areas.

4.21.2 Facilities subject to these policies

The following are subject to the Telecommunications General Code requirements:

  • ground based towers, antenna masts and headframes
  • underground and aerial cabling
  • rooftop antennas, headframes and associated structures
  • microwave or satellite antennas or dishes (this includes both ground and rooftop mounted installations)
  • any equipment structures (buildings and fenced enclosures) associated with the above.

4.21.3 Objectives

The objectives of the Telecommunications General Code are to:

  1. ensure that the operation of a functional telecommunications service meets community expectations and does not adversely affect the character of Canberra as the National Capital, including the landscape setting of the city and the national significance of land specified in this Plan as Designated Areas.
  2. minimise environmental and visual impacts arising from the construction, operation, maintenance, decommissioning and removal, and site rehabilitation of telecommunications infrastructure.

4.21.4 Detailed conditions of planning, design and development

General

Erection of Telecommunications Structures
  1. Site Selection – Sites where a tower, mast or antenna will be visually incongruous should be avoided wherever possible. Where a choice of site exists, low rise, small scale residential areas should be avoided and commercial, industrial or transport related land with existing utility structures such as lighting columns or other vertical structures should be selected. Where practicable, sites having environmental, nature conservation or heritage significance, and sites of community concern such as schools, childcare centres or where a facility may interfere with existing emergency or safety equipment, should be avoided.
  2. Choice of antenna location and mast sharing – The mounting of antennas on a building or an existing mast is the preferred way of accommodating a new facility. Where there are several antenna mounting and locational options, care is to be taken to choose the most appropriate option that has the least visual impact on the community and surrounds.
  3. Electromagnetic Energy (EME) Standard – all telecommunication facilities must comply with current industry standards in respect to EME emissions and their impact on surrounding land uses.
  4. Ameliorative Actions – Wherever possible, sites should be either screened from the most prominent views or have a backdrop of trees, buildings or high ground. Ideally sites should have both a well-screened foreground and background keeping to a minimum the height of mast and antenna exposed to view. Where parts of an antenna or mast are exposed, they are to be finished in a colour that is not highly reflective and that minimises their intrusiveness.
  5. Decommissioning and Restoration – When a facility is no longer required, or is to be superseded by a replacement facility, the facility is to be removed from a site within a period of three months and the site is to be left in a condition satisfactory to the National Capital Authority. A site remediation plan may be required to ensure that the site is restored appropriately.
Rollout of Cable
  1. Method of rollout dependent on site sensitivity – For any proposal to rollout telecommunications cable, the method of rollout should be considered in relation to the sensitivity of the site. Underground cabling is the preferred method given the importance of Designated Areas.
  2. Co-location to minimise impacts – For any proposal to rollout telecommunications cables in areas where an existing public utility is in place, the method of rollout should be considered in relation to the existing utility infrastructure. In new subdivisions, or areas where underground infrastructure already exists, the rollout of telecommunications cable should be co-located with existing cable or undertaken in a similar manner.
  3. Avoiding duplication – As far as practicable and where the technology permits, cable rollout should be carried out in a coordinated fashion to avoid duplication. A proliferation of overhead telecommunications cables should be avoided in situations where a single cable is capable of delivering the proposed telecommunications service. In cases where more than one cable is proposed, carriers should demonstrate that the use of a single cable is not practical for technical, environmental or economic reasons.

Specific

Large scale facilities
  1. Large-scale facilities, such as towers and masts will only be approved where no other alternative exists and where the proposal does not create any significant disruption to the visual environment.
  2. No additional towers and masts will be approved on Red Hill, Mount Mugga, Black Mountain, Isaacs Ridge, Mount Pleasant or Mount Ainslie which:
    • break the natural skyline
    • significantly impact on the side slopes.

(This does not preclude the use of existing masts and towers subject to a detailed assessment of the impact of any additional antennas.)

Ground level facilities

Ground level facilities such as equipment shelters and electrical equipment boxes are to be located in the least conspicuous position and are to be screened from public view. Such facilities will generally not be permitted in front of buildings.

Satellite and Microwave Dishes

Roof top mounted dishes will be considered only where it can be demonstrated that a ground level location is not available or is technically unsuitable. In considering roof mounted facilities, any impact on the following must be avoided:

  • active pedestrian streets and urban spaces
  • key public spaces
  • building frontages
  • heritage buildings.
Roof mounted facilities

Roof mounted facilities should, as far as practical, be incorporated within, or integrated with, structures on the roof in a purpose designed roofscape. Where no other structure exists above the roof line, and it is practical to do so, the proposed facility should be set back from the parapet line of the building or integrated into the building design to minimise the visual impact.

Cable Rollout

Approval for overhead cable rollout will only be given where overhead services already exist and where the National Capital Authority is of the opinion that the proposed cable will not impact adversely on the locality.

Procedure

The National Capital Authority may withhold approval in any particular case where it is of the opinion that the proposed facility would impact adversely on the appearance of the building and locality to an unacceptable degree.

The current Australian industry standard for Electromagnetic Energy (EME) will be used as the basis for determining acceptable EME emissions. All proposals must meet the current Australian industry standard for EME.

Applicants should seek any required clearances for access and development prior to an application being submitted to the National Capital Authority. It should be noted that the Conservator of Flora and Fauna is responsible for approving licences over land identified in the Territory Plan as Public Land.

Community consultation

Public notification may be required by the National Capital Authority where it is of the opinion that facilities will create a high visual impact. Facilities defined as Low-impact facilities in the Telecommunications Act 1997 are not subject to notification.

Where public notification of a proposal is required by the National Capital Authority, the applicant will advertise the proposal in the principal newspaper circulating in the locality. The advertisement (the content of which must be agreed to by the National Capital Authority) will invite interested parties to submit written comments to the National Capital Authority. The period within which submissions may be lodged will be specified and will be not less than 14 days from the date of the advertisement. Any comments received by the National Capital Authority will be provided to carriers for their response and will be used in the final assessment of the proposal.

Information Requirements for Applications to the National Capital Authority

The detail and level of information required should reflect the specific nature of each proposal, its context and its likely impact. Accordingly, the emphasis and detail will be much less for Low-impact Facilities. Applicants are encouraged to consult with the National Capital Authority before a proposal is submitted to better determine the extent of detail required for each proposal. The following information will be required for applications to the National Capital Authority:

  • A description of the proposal and location of the proposed activity, including the purpose and need for the facility, design drawings (plan and elevation) of the facility including antenna(s), towers and ground installation, and the description of material and finishes
  • A description of any visual impacts from the proposal, including design and siting factors, the extent and nature of visual impact, and the scale of the impact
  • Details of any electromagnetic emission levels
  • A description of any environmental impacts arising from the construction and maintenance of the facility, including any impacts concerning flora and fauna, noise, health, electronic interference on community infrastructure such as emergency and safety equipment, erosion and run-off control, construction of access and power supply, and heritage and archaeological aspects
  • Evidence that a range of sites has been investigated and that the site and type of installation is the least visually obtrusive within technical operational requirements. Separate evidence from an independent source, may be required where the National Capital Authority is concerned about the visual or environmental impact of a proposal
  • A description of any mitigation measures (safeguards and contingency plans where relevant) to be undertaken to help prevent or reduce the actual or potential impacts
  • An indication that the land lessee has been advised of the proposed activity.
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