Land Use Management – Applying for Changes and Permissions

Land use management entails a set of legal regulations related to land with the aim of achieving organised and desirable use of the built area. Every plot and developed property in an urban area is, therefore, subject to various regulations regarding development.

These land use management regulations relate to the zoning of the area and the particular property. Such zoning is stipulated in the particular town-planning scheme. It stipulates allowable land uses, coverage, servitudes, building lines, maximum floor space, etc.

Each city has its own town-planning scheme in line with the land use management policies of the larger municipality, province, and national land use management policies. A specific city can have various town-planning schemes, relevant to various areas in the urban area. It is thus essential to study the land use management policies related to a specific area before attempting to develop properties, sub-divide such, or consolidate land.

The land use management policies are important regardless of whether you want to develop a guest farm, holiday resort, shopping centre, or residential estate. However, you also need to study the title deed of a particular property to be developed. The title deed may have various restrictions related to the development of the property.

Once done, you need to look at related legislation, such as the National Building Regulations, various municipal bylaws, and public health and safety regulations. Regardless of the overall land use management policies relevant to the particular area, if the development does not comply with any of the regulations, then it is illegal and prosecution may follow according to the relevant legislation.

The zoning regulations, property size, description, and orientation details are available from the city council for the particular urban area. Title deed restrictions for a particular property can be examined by reviewing the property’s title deed as available from the Deeds Office or the mortgage holder.

Information about building regulations is usually available from the Building Control Division of the relevant municipality. The bylaws that are relevant to the particular urban area can be obtained from the local city council. It is best to make use of the services of town planners who understand land use management policies, in order to minimise effort and mistakes in getting accurate information in a timely manner.

The Removal of Restrictive Conditions or Changing of Zoning Regulations

It is not to say that a property cannot be developed according to your intention if the land use management regulations stipulate certain limitations on the use of the property. It is, indeed, possible to have zoning regulations changed. You can also have title deed restrictions removed. However, it is a complex process that is best handled by town planners, as they understand the limits, regulations, and workings of land use management policies.

Not all development proposals require the removal of restrictive conditions or changes to the zoning regulations. Such developments, however, must still be approved by the city council. This is consent to use. This process is less complex, yet, not to be attempted without the assistance of town planners. Failure to get the required permission can put your development plans on hold for a long time. Rather ensure that the development is in line with the land use management policies by making use of town planners to assist with the consent applications.

The Development of Agricultural Land

Land use management policies regarding agricultural land may be rather restrictive in terms of development. In addition to zoning and title deed changes, you may need to apply for township establishment. This can be a rather complex process. Various types of applications can be obtained from the city council’s Registration Section of Land Use Management. Knowing which application forms are relevant is essential to ensure that your application is correctly processed. To this end, we recommend making use of the expertise and assistance offered by our town planners.

The Timeframe for Processing Land Use Management Applications

Permission for going forward with a specific type of development is subject to many factors, including supportive documents, motivation, public participation, and the particular area of the development. It can take up to a year before a decision is made regarding a particular application.

Once the application is submitted, various agencies and departments will get the opportunity to comment. Only once this process is complete does a planning officer process it, and then recommends approval or rejection. If the planning officer opposes the development, you will have a chance to lodge your objection. For this, a Tribunal Hearing is held and stakeholders will get the opportunity to be heard. The Tribunal will make a decision, but the parties can appeal if they do not accept the decision.

What Next?

Make use of our town planners to help with applications related to land use management.