How Town and City Planning Consultants Assist with Town Planning Scheme Changes

Town and city planning consultants assist developers in the development planning process through the offering of due diligence services regarding the particular properties to be developed. Aspects such as maximum number of structures, coverage of the land by structures, limitations regarding water usage, and the specific land use rights on the properties are investigated.

The town and city planning consultants also assist with applications for township establishment, consent usage rights applications, rezoning of properties, sub-division, and land consolidation applications. Developers thus benefit from such expertise in avoiding costly property purchasing or development pitfalls in South Africa. We thus take a brief look at town planning schemes and aspects with which town and city planning consultants can be of assistance.

Every municipality has the right, according to the Municipal System Act, to draft and implement legislation regarding its demarcated area. The town planning scheme is one such to manage the properties within the municipality’s borders. The municipality must ensure compliance with the particular town planning scheme and can have one or more such town planning schemes which are relevant to a particular area within its jurisdiction.

The town planning scheme governs the land use rights on the various properties within the municipality’s borders. It provides details regarding the particular usage rights on a piece of property, usage rights for which one can apply regarding the property and the rights which the property does not have.

It is important to review the town planning scheme regarding any piece of property which the developer wants to purchase or develop. In this regard, the town and city planning consultants review all relevant town planning schemes regarding a said property and advice the client on which rights the developer must apply for or for which rezoning will be needed.

If a piece of property does not have a specific usage right and the developer wants the particular right to apply to the property, the developer must apply for the particular right. This entails changing the town planning scheme relevant to the property. An amendment is made which is relevant to the particular property.

The owner of the property must bring the application or a person such as town planner can handle the application for amendment of the town planning scheme regarding the property on behalf of the owner. The town planning division of the municipality must review the application and decide whether to approve or deny it. Note that an application can be granted in full or just in part, and can be subject to meeting particular conditions such as the payment of engineering costs.

If the applicant is not satisfied with the outcome of the application, the applicant has the right to appeal the decision. If the applicant is satisfied with the decision, certain documents must be submitted to indicate how the amendment will look regarding the particular property. This depiction will then form the draft amendment.

The relevant division of the municipality will review the draft amendment scheme and if all requirements are met, a notice is published in the government gazette. This notice advertises the amendments to the said property. Only once this has been done does the amendment come into effect and are the additional or new land use rights applicable to the property. The developer cannot use the property for any other purpose than originally stated in the town planning scheme until the promulgation has been done.

Depending on the particular land use rights on the property and the rights that the developer seeks, an application must be brought for consent usage where allowed in the town planning scheme or rezoning if the town planning scheme does not allow for application for consent use rights that the developer seeks.

Here also the expertise of experienced town and city planners such as The Practice Group proves to be of exceptional value. The process can take anything from three months to four years, depending on documents available, objections received, compliance with requirements, payments of fees, and the particular application such as consent use or rezoning.

Developers, who want to establish residential estates, holiday resorts, retail parks, fuel stations, educational facilities or office parks, are invited to call on the expertise of The Practice Group in doing property due diligence, applications for consent use, rezoning, sub-division and land consolidation.