How Can a Town Planner Help You with Property Use Applications?

As a property owner, you have the option of subdividing your property to sell one of the sections if the property is large enough and the layout allows for a sub-division. You will need the help of a town planner with the application for a subdivision. Likewise, you can decide to consolidate two or more properties in order to build a residential estate, resort or use the property for an office park. In this instance, you will also need the expertise of a town planner for the consolidation of land application and the rezoning of the property to allow for the new land use, if it is not already zoned for the intended use.

Perhaps you only want the right to operate a business from the premises while you still stay on the property. This is a consent of use application with which the town planner can assist. So, why the need to apply for the consent of use or rezoning of a property if you want to change the land use and why do you need the help of a town planner with the process? We’ll briefly answer these questions below, helping you to understand the role of the town planner in the process.


Zoning and Your Property

The municipality governs over a particular district. They have specific regulations for buildings and land use within the larger national framework for land-use management. Every property in the particular district is zoned for allowable land use within one of three basic categories:

• residential;
• business; and
• industrial.

Within each of the categories, there are more categories, called sub-categories. For residential, the zoning can, for instance, be Residential 1, 2, or 3. The number indicates the density allowed per stand. On a Residential 1 property, you can only have one dwelling whereas on a Residential 2 you are allowed to have as many as 10-20 dwellings per hectare. Residential 3 and 4 dwellings allow for higher density. In order to use the stand for a purpose for which it has not been classified, you must apply for rezoning of the property. This is done with the help of a town planner who submits the application request to the municipality. This must be done before you can use the piece of property for the new intended purpose.


Do You Always Have to Apply for Rezoning?

With many property owners running businesses from their homes, you may wonder why they are permitted to do so if their properties are not zoned for business. If you are operating a business from home with a limited number of employees and don’t have many customers coming to the premises, you don’t have to apply for rezoning of the property even if it is a Residential 1 classified property. However, if you have to erect signs on the property to indicate the business name or have suppliers and customer dropping in on a regular basis and thus have an increase of traffic to the area, you may have to apply for rezoning. You can apply for consent use if the property is still to be used as residential as well. This is the case with a day care centre where you still stay on the property but use it partly for another type of activity.

Keep in mind that the consent of use is a temporary right. It is in place to allow for secondary use of the property. The primary use is for residential housing, but you add another use for which you get permission. If you don’t use the property during the time for which permission has been given, the consent use right lapses. This type of right is in place to allow your business to grow. If it has to expand at one or other stage and attracts more and more traffic, you will eventually have to move it to a business classified property.

For the purpose of the rezoning, the town planner submits the application, which involves a site plan and various processes, including public participation. The neighbours may oppose the rezoning application because they feel that the new development will cause an increase in traffic, crime or perhaps change in the character of the neighbourhood. The town planner addresses concerns through a public participation process.

To this end, it is also good to remember that purchasing a residential property with the intention to have it rezoned should not be done without due diligence of the property. With such, the town planner assesses the property to determine if it will be suited for the intended purpose. Factors such as servitudes registered on the property, access routes, distance from intersections, geographical characteristics, vegetation, and more are determined. The town planner can guide you on the process of rezoning, how long it will take and what the potential for success is regarding rezoning and use of the property for the intended purpose.

If you want to consolidate land, sub-divide property, or apply for consent use or rezoning, make use of our team of town planners to help you through the process.