Property for Development: Why You Need the Help of a Town Planning Consultant

Though town planning consultants are often associated with larger projects such as township establishment, advisory services regarding land-use management, and the likes. Such consultants also provide advisory services to property owners who need help with rezoning residential properties. To help you understand how town planning consultants help residential property owners to have their properties rezoned, we briefly discuss some of the aspects related to a possible rezoning of a residential property that you may want to buy for development purposes.


Steps Involved in Rezoning a Property for Profit-Generating Purposes

Before you may commence with a development project on a residential property, you must ensure that the property is zoned to allow the activities or development you have in mind. To this end, a town planning consultant can help you with the steps to get it rezoned. Some of these steps include:

• Consultation with the municipality to determine which specifications must be met.
• Preparing and Submitting the rezoning application in compliance with the municipal by-law.
• Notifying the public about the intention to rezone the property.
• Encouraging public participation and responding to any objections.
• Performing a technical analysis of the requirements.
• Analysing the changes that must be made to ensure approval.
• Liaising with the municipality in its reviewing the application and giving its decision.
• Notifying the public of the decision or attending at a Municipal Planning Tribunal on behalf of the owner.
• Being allowed the chance to appeal the decision if not in your favour.
• Allowing the public the opportunity to appeal the decision if in your favour.

Although municipalities are objective in their assessment of applications, it is imperative to ensure that the plans submitted meet the specific requirements for the zoning relevant to the area. A Town planning consultant works with zoning applications daily and thus has the expertise to ensure that the municipal requirements are met. It is best to buy a property that you intend to use for industrial or business activities in an area already zoned for mixed development use. However, if not possible, work closely with a town planning consultant and do a due diligence investigation on properties of interest to ensure that you buy one that has the potential for rezoning to allow for the intended development or use.


Understand Zoning Types for the Purpose of Developing a Residential Estate

Although various zoning categories exist, the main development categories may be described as residential, business, and industrial. Each of these has sub-categories which should also be kept in mind.

With properties zoned residential, density restrictions apply. The restrictions relates primarily to density, floor area, and ratio (FAR) and coverage”, being the area of the property that may be covered by buildings. Bulk refers to the floor area that is allowed under the roof while density entails the maximum number of dwellings allowed. With a property zoned as Residential 1, only one house or dwelling is typically allowed per erf.

If the property is zoned as Residential 2, it allows for a higher density. By example, 10 or 20 dwellings per hectare (10 000m²) of land may be permitted. If you thus want to develop the property as a townhouse complex, it is best to purchase property zoned as Residential 2. With a property zoned Residential 3 a higher density may apply (say 40 units per hectare or more). This is the perfect property if you plan to develop a townhouse estate with smaller units and thus a higher density.

Town planning consultants understand the maximum coverage and density aspects of each residential zoning. The town planners can thus help you to determine which properties are best suited for your development intentions. From the information supplied, you can see how town planning companies can help you to avoid financial losses related to properties that cannot be used for the intended development purposes. They can also assist with rezoning applications apart from the due-diligence steps.

We have just considered Residential zoned properties, but other factors must be taken into consideration for business and industrial zoned properties. These factors are best discussed with the experts from a town planning consultancy such as The Practice Group. Get in touch for more information and help in due diligence on properties, as well as rezoning applications.