How Town Planning Schemes Affect Development Potential of Properties
Town planning schemes consist of a range of plans, maps, and controls to designate, administrate, and manage the land uses within the jurisdiction of particular municipalities. The planning schemes stipulate the zoning applicable to specific land areas and the activities that are allowed on the respective land areas.
Property owners and developers benefit from the services offered by town planners regarding applications for the consent of use and rezoning applications. The applications are needed when developers, for instance, want to use a piece of land for another purpose than for which the land has been zoned in the town planning scheme. An example is where a developer intends to use a property zoned as Residential 2 for an office complex development. In such an instance, the town planners help the developer in assessing whether the particular property can be rezoned to allow for the erection of an office building.
The town planning schemes thus have the necessary information regarding restrictions and allowable use. As such, a good starting place is to look at the zoning maps to determine the current zoning for the property and area. Town planners have the know-how and experience in dealing with applications for rezoning or the consent of use. Apart from following exact procedures in preparing and submitting applications with the correct supporting documentation to the relevant division in the municipality, they also help with the public participation process.
How It Applies to You As a Prospective Developer or Property Owner
If you are interested in a particular piece of land and want to purchase it for development purposes, you will benefit from the expertise of town planners. For one, they assist in obtaining a zoning certificate for the particular property from the local municipality. Such information, as discussed earlier, is part of the planning schemes. The certificate is important as it provides essential information regarding the parameters of the piece of land. Even if you simply want to use a vacant piece of land to build your home and a second dwelling such as a separate garden flat, you will still need to consult the planning scheme to determine how many outbuildings are allowed, whether you can build a second dwelling on the property, and more. The zoning in planning schemes indicates whether the land can be used for residential, commercial, industrial, or mixed-use. It also indicates the density allowed for the particular area.
Keep in mind that town planning schemes differ according to the particular municipality and province. If you have seen one or more such planning schemes from other towns, you cannot assume that the zoning regulations of the town where you want to use the property for a specific purpose will be the same as with other planning schemes.
The first step should be to consult with town planners for help in getting a zoning certificate. They may also upon your request perform due diligence on the property to determine the vegetation, accessibility, and other important factors that influence the property’s suitability for the particular land use you have in mind.
If the property is not zoned for the intended land use, you will need the help of town planners to apply for rezoning. They can also help you determine what the floor area ratio (FAR) is for the particular property.
The FAR relates to the maximum size that a dwelling can be in proportion to the size of the site. One scheme may exclude the patios and garages in the calculation of the FAR while another may include it. The town planners will help you determine how the FAR is calculated by the particular municipality. Only when the property is rezoned can the FAR change.
The mentioned aspects as forming part of planning schemes affect the changes you can make to a particular property and for what you can at the end of the day, use the piece of land. Property is expensive, and if you hope to get a return on your investment through the development of the particular piece of land, the first step should be to get in touch with our town planners to help with the due diligence process.