A PLAN to encourage high-density housing and increase parking turnover is hoped to take Charlestown CBD growth to the next level.
Lake Macquarie City Council (LMCC) wants to increase maximum building heights in the strategic centre - aimed to boost opportunities for residential and commercial growth.
The proposal would see the council introduce new high-density residential zones along part of the eastern side of Dickinson Street and the south-eastern end of Smith Street.
LMCC integrated planning manager Wes Hain said the plan will pave the way for the next three decades of projected growth.
"Historically, we've seen different building heights and land uses across central Charlestown - sometimes even on the same street, which has generated some confusion," he said.
"The changes we're proposing seek to unlock development capacity and apply consistent land use zones and development standards within each street block."
The council will offer development incentives on the existing Hilltop Plaza site and in some parts of the proposed high-density and mixed-use zones.
Mr Hain said LMCC plans to extend maximum height limits in specific locations in return for future development that provides a positive public benefit.
"At Hilltop Plaza, they would be required to provide an open-air public laneway connecting Pearson Street with Charlestown Road, providing a better outcome than the existing access," he said.
"In the R4 [high-density] and B4 [mixed-use] zones, we'd consider moderately higher development if sites are consolidated and meet a minimum size and frontage width," he said.
"We believe this would provide better quality development overall."
Changes to the Charlestown Town Centre Area Plan and Local Environment Plan are now on public exhibition.
The council also wants to make changes to timed parking zones in Charlestown - eliminating the 'piecemeal' system that's currently in place.
It would see one-hour parking introduced across a precinct inside Frederick Street, Charlestown Road, Smith Street and Pearson Street - with 15-minute zones in two small, busier spots.
Further east, two-hour parking would be put in place from Smith Street to Dickinson Street, bounded by Ida Street to the north and Charles Street to the south.
Mr Hain said there are no plans to introduce paid parking.
"However, one of the key actions of the Charlestown Transport Management Plan is to simplify timed parking restrictions by moving to an area-based approach," he said.
"These changes will achieve that."
If the parking changes are given the green light, the council will monitor any impacts around Charlestown Square.
The proposal is open for public submissions until April 3 at shape.lakemac.com.au.
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