A Wagga resident has said her loss of light and privacy is a warning on the drawbacks of denser living as the government makes it easier to build two-storey houses.
As of July 1, all NSW council areas are covered by the new 'Low Rise Housing Diversity Code' from the NSW government.
The new code makes it faster and easier to build "dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces" in some residential and village zones.
Forsyth Street resident Margaret Whalan said she and her husband Bill "wish they had a crystal ball" 18 years ago when they moved into the street that previously had few two-storey homes.
Under the previous planning code, the 80-year-old home next to theirs was legally replaced by a two-storey multi-dwelling building.
"A big thing is privacy as we now close the curtains at certain times," she said.
"We have problems with light on the eastern side in the morning.
"I used to be able to see the tree tops in Collins Park from my bedroom but now it's just a wall."
The NSW Department of Planning has stated that two-storey housing will now be allowed as a 'complying development' in R1, R2, R3 and RU5 zones "where this type of housing is already permitted under a council's Local Environmental Plan".
Those kinds of zones can be found across central Wagga as well as Ashmont, Glenfield Park, Tolland, Lloyd, Forest Hill, Estella and Boorooma as well as parts of Lake Albert and Gobbagombalin.
Wagga City Council did not respond before publication to a request to detail what proportion of those zones are covered by the new code.
'Complying development' allows a property owner's proposed building to be "determined through a fast-track assessment" instead of a development application, saving up to $15,000 off the cost of a new house and go through in as little as 20 days.
Central Wagga Action Group spokesman Chris Roche said he was concerned for the heritage of central Wagga's conservation areas.
"The conservation areas are vital to preserving the character of where people live," he said.
Mr Roche said reduced notice periods under the new code did not allow "getting the community's feedback on what they want".
Mrs Whalan did object to the development application back in 2017 but she said it did not change anything.
"I think the council should consider the neighbourhood rather than just the developer," she said.
A Department of Planning spokesperson said the new code had been operating in Wagga since 2018.
"By allowing for faster housing approvals the code is encouraging more housing diversity, helping improve housing affordability and creating much-needed construction jobs across NSW throughout the COVID-19 pandemic," the spokesperson said.
"The code allows for well-designed dual occupancies and terraces to be developed under a fast track complying development approval in areas where council zoning already permits these types of housing."