How Town Planners Can Help with Zoning Applications

Entrepreneurs often desire to convert residential, agricultural or industrial properties into entertainment, business office, or retail spaces. However, before doing so they need to apply for rezoning of the properties to allow for the desired use. If a property is located in an appropriately zoned district it is easier.

Town planning consultancies work with rezoning applications on a regular basis and are thus able to advice prospective property buyers on the zoning applicable to a particular property, and the process to follow to get the property rezoned for the applicable purpose.

If the developer, for instance, purchases a small holding located in an area zoned for agricultural, entertainment, and tourism land usages then it will be easier to get the required permission and licenses to erect a guest farm, lodge, accommodation establishment or even a resort as opposed to a property located in an area zoned agricultural with permitted consent usage for applications only related to agriculture.

We thus recommend seeking expert guidance from town planning consultancies, such as The Practice Group, before purchasing property for the usage thereof for a purpose other than what the zoning allows for. The due diligence process entails investigation regarding aspects such as access routes, requirements for upgrading of existing road infrastructure to handle the additional traffic and to ensure safe exits and entrances to the property, land usage in the immediate vicinity, whether the resources on the land are sufficient for the particular usage purpose, and more.

We take a brief look at some of the aspects related to zoning below, giving you an indication of how our town planning consultants can be of assistance.

Basics of the Zoning Process

Zoning relates to what can be done with the property. In essence, it determines what the parcel of land can be used for, such as industrial, agricultural or residential, etc. The town planners can handle the entire zoning application process. It entails the submission of a detailed motivation report for the zoning application together with relevant plans to the local council. Following such, the town planning consultancy also advertises the zoning application in the government gazette and a local newspaper. This serves to notify community members and interested parties of the intended rezoning, giving them the opportunity to object.

The town planning department at the local council then reviews the application with consideration of the objections, the plans submitted and the motivation for the application. Next, the council committee and the provisional committee consider the application and make the final decision on whether to decline or approve it

Basics of Subdivision and Land Consolidation

It may be necessary to consolidate two adjacent parcels of land in order to get a large enough parcel of land for the particular usage purpose. The resources for a resort, for example, may be on the one parcel of land, while the space for all the accommodation is located on the other piece of property. The developer, in order to use the land as a unit, may then want to apply for consolidation of land.

In another instance, the developer may wish to sub-divide land to have full title properties, which can be sold or developed separately. In this instance, an application for sub-division of the land is brought by the town planning consultancy on behalf of the developer.

The process entails discussion of the sub-division with the town planning consultancy and the architect. They draw up the relevant plans together with a detailed report for submission to the town council on behalf of the client. Notices regarding the intended sub-division are placed in the local newspaper and the neighbours are notified via registered mail. A notice regarding the planned rezoning is placed on the property. The relevant parties then have time to object to the proposed sub-division. Once the neighbours have approved and all objections have been addressed, the plans are submitted to the town council. The same process is followed for an application to consolidate land.

It is important to understand that the above processes take time. As such, it is better to purchase property already zoned for the applicable usage, already consolidated or subdivided, and which already has the relevant resources for the intended use. However, such land may not be available or affordable in the area where the developer or business owner requires. In this instance, it is best to make use of one of the town planning consultancies, like The Practice Group, with years of experience in matters such as zoning applications, consolidation and sub-division to help with the zoning application process.