The paper reviews the impact of one particular amenity control on urban design outcomes in the local New South Wales compliance regime, in particular relating to multiunit residential construction. Assuring solar access amenity as required by the Residential Flat Design Code is understandably a relatively high priority. But most planners and architects would agree that it is but one of a number of competing considerations in determining desirable urban form. Because solar access is a uniquely reductive, geometric determinant of building form, responding to numerical controls, it has the deceptive appearance of being objective — while most other building variables that contribute to urban conditions appear in comparison to be almost subjective. The paper argues that as a consequence, accounting for minimum standards of solar access has come to dominate overall site planning and massing strategies, and the detailed design of multi-residential buildings which fall under SEPP65.