By Phillip Leaman

12 August 2013

On 1 July 2013, Victoria’s planning zones were reformed to reflect new zones which impact on when and where a planning permit is now required.

Residential Zones – So what has changed?

The existing Residential 1 Zone, Residential 2 Zone and Residential 3 Zone are to be replaced by three new residential zones. A summary of some of the features of the zones is below:

The Residential Growth Zone:

  • a planning permit threshold to construct or extend one dwelling on a lot of 300 square metres
  • a discretionary height limit of 13.5 metres
  • allowing small scale commercial uses such as food and drink premises, office and shop within 100 metres of a commercial area or a Mixed Use Zone.

The General Residential Zone:

  • is the default zone for all residential areas not zoned by the Council by 30 June 2014
  • a discretionary height limit of 9 metres
  • a planning permit threshold to construct one dwelling on a lot of 300 square metres (or 500 square metres if specified by Council)
  • allowing small scale commercial uses such as a shop and food and drink premises subject to a permit.

The Neighbourhood Residential Zone:

  • allowing a minimum lot size for subdivision to be specified
  • allowing a maximum of two dwellings on a lot, subject to Council amending the schedule to the zone
  • a planning permit threshold to construct or extend one dwelling on a lot of 300 square metres but allowing a Council to specify a different threshold
  • a maximum building height limit of eight metres that cannot be exceeded by a permit, subject to Council amending the schedule to the zone

Each of the residential zones allow local application requirements and decision guidelines to be specified and a local maximum building height that can be specified in a schedule to the zone that cannot be exceeded.

Business Zones – So what has changed?

The five existing business zones will be replaced by 2 commercial Zones.

The new Commercial 1 Zone broadens the range of activities that land can be used for without the need for a planning permit and removes floor area restrictions.

The new Commercial 2 Zone provides more opportunities for office, commercial businesses, restricted retail premises, trade supplies and some limited retail activity. Floor area restrictions for some office and retail uses will be removed.

How are the changes being implemented?

Councils have until 30 June 2014 to change residential zoning in their municipality whilst commercial and industrial zoning changes took effect from 1 July 2013. The City of Glen Eira is one of the first Councils to implement the new residential zones.

How do the changes affect future Developments?

The City of Glen Eira has already set their residential zones which provides that apartment developments will be restricted to certain areas (such as shopping centre areas). This will impact on developers who have acquired land for the purpose of apartment developments but have not yet obtained a permit.

Supermarkets

  • Permits are no longer required for supermarkets (of any size) in Commercial 1 Zones and for supermarkets up to 1800 square metres (“small supermarkets”) in Commercial 2 Zones (in Melbourne)
  • A permit will still be required for small supermarkets in rural areas
  • Supermarkets and associated shops adjoining will need to have access to a main road in the Commercial 2 Zone
  • Small supermarkets with associated shops totaling 500 square metres may be allowed in Industrial 3 Zone
  • Convenience shops are allowed in Industrial 3 Zone in Melbourne without a permit
  • Restrictions on floor space caps in the majority of commercial Zones are now removed
  • Floor space caps can be specified in rural and regional Victoria in Commercial 1 Zones
  • Accommodation is prohibited in Commercial 2 Zone (other than caretaker’s house, residential motel and hotel) and allowed in Commercial 1 Zone without a permit
  • A 30 metre buffer from industry and warehouses that do not require a permit is now included to protect sensitive uses
  • The default floor space area restriction for an office in Industrial 1 Zone, Industrial 2 Zone and Industrial 3 Zone has been removed and Councils can set local floor area caps. Whilst Councils can place floor space caps through the schedule to the zone, until such caps are included, there is no cap on uses (such as offices in Industrial 1 Zone.

Shops and offices

  • Restrictions on floor space caps in the majority of commercial Zones are now removed
  • Floor space caps can be specified in rural and regional Victoria in Commercial 1 Zones
  • Accommodation is prohibited in Commercial 2 Zone (other than caretaker’s house, residential motel and hotel) and allowed in Commercial 1 Zone without a permit

Industrial Zones

  • A 30 metre buffer from industry and warehouses that do not require a permit is now included to protect sensitive uses
  • The default floor space area restriction for an office in Industrial 1 Zone, Industrial 2 Zone and Industrial 3 Zone has been removed and Councils can set local floor area caps. Whilst Councils can place floor space caps through the schedule to the zone, until such caps are included, there is no cap on uses (such as offices in Industrial 1 Zone.

What about other Zones?

The existing Low Density Residential, Mixed Use and Township Zones have been amended to align with the features of the new residential zones and were gazetted on 15 July 2013.

What to do now?

Check planning zone changes and consider the impact on current and future developments, particularly current developments where you plan to seek amendments to the existing planning permit.

Related Articles

View All
Australia-Israel Legal Advice / Charities & Not-for-Profit / Technology and Start Ups

TLFC – Award Finalist for Law Firm of the Year (Medium Category)

Tisher Liner FC are proud to be nominated as an award finalist in the 14th annual Victorian Legal Awards Medium Law...
Read More
Planning / Property & Development

Case Law Update: Developers Watch Out – No Cost Land Grabs by Councils Can be Legal

In an early Christmas present from the Tribunal on 22 December 2017, the Tribunal in Tarneit Projects Pty Ltd v Wyndham...
Read More
Adverse Possession / Planning / Covenants & Easements

Roads – What are they and how do you get rid of them

What are Roads Roads can include streets, rights of way, passages, bridges, footpaths, kerbing and public highways...
Read More
Planning / Developments

Planning Minister puts a limit on CBD apartment tower heights for now

The Controls have been introduced pending the larger review called the Central City Built Form Review which is being...
Read More
Planning / Developments

What to do if your Planning Permit Expires.

Usually, construction will need to: commence 2 years after the permit is issued; be completed 4 years after the permit...
Read More