Zoning and Approval Factors to Consider in Resort Planning

We recommended that you make use of our expertise regarding resort planning in South Africa. As well-established and experienced town and urban planners, we understand the laws and ordinances regarding land use management, zoning, township establishment, and compliance with environmental and related laws. In many instances, developers consider establishment of resorts in rural areas, especially near the coast. A developer may have bought a large piece of agricultural land with the aim of developing a holiday resort. However, because the land use allowed on the piece of land is only for agricultural purposes, the developer must apply for rezoning of the land to allow for recreational activities and accommodation. If the area, even though rural and mainly used for agricultural purposes, is already zoned to allow for tourism, accommodation and recreational activities, then the developer will have an easier task.

That being said, the impact of the resort on the environment and the surrounding community must still be considered. Depending on the particular size of the planned resort, the accommodation and activities to be offered, in addition to structures and water usage, it may be necessary to apply for township establishment. In this regard, our help regarding resort planning and application for township planning will be especially beneficial. Land use rights and zoning laws differ from province to province. It is thus necessary to view the legislation in the particular province and the land use scheme of the particular area where you want to establish a resort.

Look at factors such as the planning policies in place, the availability of various resources, such as water, and environmental limitations. Factors that must be taken into consideration include the topography of the land, the vegetation, conservation regulations, flood plains, the current usage of the land, soil factors, and the surrounding community. It will be necessary to carry out an environmental impact assessment for which you will need professional assistance. You also need to consider the provincial and local authority planning policies specifically relevant to resort planning and development. These include, but are not limited to, the spatial policies related to the particular area, such as the coast, and non-spatial policies and sectoral plans, municipal spatial development frameworks, and the environmental planning of the particular province.

Applications for resort development must be accompanied by spatial plans, EIA reports, and other documentation, best discussed with our professional town planners. Resort planning for resorts in urban nodes also entails zoning applications and land use consent applications, but with fewer unique resources to protect, the process may be less complicated than for a resort planned in an ecologically sensitive area or an area mainly used for agricultural purposes. Urban resorts within the urban edge, which include overnight or holiday accommodation, have fewer restrictions, and in some instances, the urban development zoning may already allow for the development of various types of resorts.

Resorts in rural settlements providing bed-and-breakfast-type accommodation and tourist-related activities may be allowed. Spoiling the unique historical character of a rural node will normally not be permitted. It is essential to consider the historical setting and character of the node when applying for the right to establish a holiday resort. Resort applications outside the rural node or urban edge are considered in terms of a distinct resource in the area that permits recreational activities, such as a natural feature allowing for rock climbing, mountain biking, canoeing, fishing, and beach activities, which give the resort a favourable element.

A man-made feature is not sufficient to motivate the establishment of a resort in a rural area. The feature, such as a golf course, can be replicated or found elsewhere, but a man-made dam that has been there for a long time is a unique feature that will facilitate recreational activities and can therefore be used as motivation for why the resort must be established at the particular spot. Creation of a man-made feature for motivation to establish a resort is thus not sufficient.

From the above information, it becomes clear that resort planning should be done with specific elements and factors in mind. Working with town planners right from the start will help to avoid costly mistakes and ensure the success of the application to establish a resort.