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Perth, Australia

The City of Perth lies at the far southwestern corner of Australia. As the capitol of Western Australia, Perth has a residential population of 6,400 people but experiences a daytime population of 100,000.

Perth’s transfer of plot ratio mechanism can be used to conserve significant landmarks throughout the City, such as this downtown building.

With the help of convict labor, Perth grew rapidly in the 1850s and experienced another growth spurt in the 1890s when gold was discovered nearby. Some opulent buildings from this period remain to this day. To recognize its rich cultural past, the City has established six heritage precincts.

Perth offers bonus plot ratio to developments that provide amenities such as public open space, public art, a monetary contribution for off site works for the improvement of the public domain or the conservation of heritage places. (Plot ratio is the same concept as floor area ratio in the United States: the amount of building floor area allowed per lot area.) The maximum bonus plot ratio is 20 percent and the bonus is only available in the Central Area of the City unless the development conserves a significant building, in which case the bonus can be applied throughout the City.

In May 2004, the City adopted a Transfer Plot Ratio Policy to further clarify how bonus plot ratio can be used to conserve heritage places. Donor sites must be formally listed, or in the process of being listed, on the Register of Places of Cultural Heritage Significance. The square meters of developable space that can be transferred from a donor site is 75 percent of the difference in square meters between the plot ratio of the site established by the City code and the existing plot ratio of the listed heritage building. At least 250 square meters is required to qualify for transfer.

The applicant must propose a conservation plan for the landmark that is acceptable to the City Council. Recipient sites cannot be registered as Places of Cultural Heritage. The City Council must approve all transfers after consideration of the impact of the transfer on other development standards and whether or not the applicant is seeking discretion to vary any other standards.

The transfer of plot ratio provisions had not yet been used as of August 2004.