Basic Elements of Site-Development Plans

Site-development plans are documents that detail the plans for specific sites or an assembly of sites. They are submitted to the city council to approve prior to the submission of building plans and prior to the development of a parcel of land. A site development plan provides a holistic illustration of what development or redevelopment is envisaged without the technical detail of a building plan. The city council evaluates the site-development plans to determine whether they are in line with zone regulations. They must therefore be detailed and include information on its use, structure type, location, size, accessibility, parking, materials used, and more.

In order to obtain the required building permits (approved building plans), developers must submit the relevant site-development plans. They are, however, not needed for improvements or changes to single-family homes, so a homeowner does not have to submit one to get permission for the addition of a granny flat or a swimming pool, for example. Elements of a particular site range from its vegetation and topography to its culture and infrastructure. Site-development plans must thus indicate the current conditions of sites, as well as the proposed changes. Some of the essential elements of such plans are briefly outlined below, giving you an indication of their comprehensiveness.

Boundaries and Building Lines

The property boundaries indicate the configuration, locality, and extent of the property. The property boundaries are important cadastral lines, since the developer cannot build over these lines. As such, land surveying must be done to provide accurate property boundaries to be included on the site-development plan. While these lines indicate the boundary of the property, development cannot always be done right up to the edge of the property. The building lines indicate where the limit of infrastructure development is. The building lines affect the size and height of the infrastructure, as well as the use of the property.

The Property’s Entrance

The siting of the entrance driveway, as well as its elevation, its distance from traffic lights and road signs, and its dimensions must be indicated. The requirements for the design of driveways for particular types of properties must be met. Site-development plans for fuel-station forecourts, for instance, must show heavy-vehicle access, the location of the fuel pumps, and the distance from traffic lights, amongst others. This will differ from one land use category to the next.

Current and Future Conditions of the Property

The city council’s officials need the site development plans to understand how a property’s current conditions will change according to developers’ proposals. The submitted plan must therefore provide a clear picture of the conditions of the property in its current state and its proposed conditions after having been developed.

Parking and Surroundings

These are important elements when it comes to high-density residential and commercial properties. The parking area must be indicated, its entrance and exit, the number of vehicles it can accommodate, and its dimensions, signage, and traffic flow. In terms of the property’s surroundings, the plans must indicate the traffic flow around the sites. The context for the infrastructure must be clear, so the plans must include details such as type of streets in the area, including arterial routes, freeways, dead-ends, walkways, and bicycle lanes, etc. Street names must also be included.

Traffic and Road Signs and Fire Hydrants

The traffic-regulating features must be included in the plans. Traffic lights, stop signs, traffic circles, and more must therefore be included in the drawings of the area surrounding proposed developments. The plans must also indicate where the fire hydrants are located in relation to the proposed development.

Landscaping and Servitudes

Site-development plans must show what the existing landscapes of proposed areas of development look like and what the buildings and proposed landscaping will look like in future. This is important to determine the environmental impact and sustainability of developments. The plans must include information such as servitudes for utilities and rights of way. Such information is graphically depicted to show exact locations.

Site-development plans must be comprehensive, relevant, and clear. On their own, they do not constitute the final set of mandatory plans prior to construction commencing. Instead, they are submitted prior to the more detailed building plans and prior to construction commencing. Reviews can be technical or entail public participation. The plans are especially important when it comes to large developments such as residential estates, recreational facilities, mixed-use developments, resorts, industrial nodes, and golf courses. Professional assistance from urban planners is important to ensure accurate and comprehensive plans.

We work with various professionals in assessing sites and drafting the site-development plans to be used for building permits, zoning applications, and the development’s proposal applications. View our full range of services and get in touch for more information on our service offerings.