Real Estate Land Zoning & City Regulations

by Jamison Worst
(Colm Dillon)

Who makes sure the project is approved by the local goverments and municipalities? Is that the developers task, or does somebody on the legal team do this?

Hi Jamison,

The first point I want to make is that it is always better to have bought land that is correctly zonied for what you want to build. That means residential zone for any form of housing and commercial for any form of office building and so on.

So by definition you need to study the zoning rules and regulations yourself, which is what I teach my students. Go to the local authority's Town Planning Department and get a copy of the zone and associated regulations you are interested in.

These will tell you exactly what you can develop on certain size land. However you do not have to know these to the point of calculating the land capacity yourself.

This is work carried out for you by engaging an architect. He/she will be able to calculate exactly what you can put on the land in relation to boundary set backs and numbers of units.

To ensure I cover the subject you raise fully I should say that if you buy land that is not zoned correctly.

Say you look to the outer suburbs and find some Future Urban zoned land and in your mind it appears as though that is where the city's residential population is moving towards.

If you believe that is a correct assumption you would engage a professional Town Planner working in private practice. He/she would know the Authority's current thinking and so be able to tell you if a Rezoning Application has any chance of being approved.

If the town planner thinks you would be successful then they are the people to handle this for you and give an idea of the total costs you would face.

Rezoning land to a long term process, so don't think in terms of a few months ... in Australia for example think in terms of several years. One last point ... don't assume you will be successful in your application.

If you are however, then you will have increased the land value considerably.

Hope this answers your question.


Colm Dillon

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