If you live on a residential block anywhere in the Illawarra, a duplex, terrace or manor home - which can house up to four families - could now be built next door without your neighbours needing to tell you about it first.
Under a blanket rule, which has been forcibly brought in from July 1 to all four Illawarra local government areas despite long-standing opposition from councils, developers no longer need to lodge a development application for medium density homes - even in streets zoned as low density.
After years of delays, the NSW Government introduced its Low Rise Housing Diversity code to all councils across the state, allowing multi-occupancy dwellings to be fast-tracked through the use of "complying development" rules.
Designed to increase housing options, and provide smaller - and hopefully more affordable - homes especially in suburban Sydney, the code has been described by many councils as overdevelopment by stealth.
Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said he held grave concerns about the State Environmental Planning Policy, and was worried about how it would affect Wollongong suburbs already struggling with traffic, congestion and overdevelopment.
"We already have an issue, especially in the northern suburbs, with traffic and congestion along Lawrence Hargrave Drive and in areas like Keiraville and Gywnneville it's really concerning, because people are already experiencing problems with parking overcrowding," he said.
"This makes it quite easy to build some of those medium density houses, it's just a matter of ticking boxes and if it's compliant there isn't going to be any way for people have their say about it."
Wollongong council had hoped to seek an exemption for the state's blanket rule and only allow fast-tracked medium density homes in town centres with good access to services and public transport.
"The council has been of the opinion that medium density housing is okay, but it needs to go into the right places," Cr Bradbery said.
"We have land that has possible escarpment slipping or the need to have an asset protection zone for bushfire protection, for instance.
"When people experience how this is going to work, there will be lots of concern, and no doubt they will blame the council. But this is not the council.
"We've basically been deprived on the opportunity to reflect the needs of the community, and the constraints of the geography in our city.
"What works in the northern suburbs and beaches of Sydney, but I think the horse has bolted. This will cause grief in our neighbourhoods, and there will be those who see this as the opportunity to maximise development in low density zones."
NSW Labor has demanded the government scrap or heavily amend the code. In particular, Labor wants the Government to permanently exclude local government areas which are bushfire prone and have already made provision for medium density in local planning rules, and ensure the code does not remove community input.
Labor's planning spokesman Adam Searle said the new rules would deprive residents of the chance to "get the social and physical infrastructure they need" to deal with increased development.
"The first time residents will know about these kinds of developments occurring next door will be when construction starts," he said.
"Even local Councils will not know ahead of time.
"Labor has consistently campaigned against the code in its current form and will continue to fight for it to be scrapped or at the least heavily amended."