Today we are talking all things town planning, zoning and property development. Why is this relevant? Essentially, if you are wanting to buy a house you definitely want to consider what area you should buy in, what potential development could occur and what the council has restricted to that area. So, to teach us all about this we visited Scott Nind, the General Manager of RPS Gold Coast (Talking Cents went on tour).
What is Zoning and Why does the zoning matter?
Zones are one of the fundamental principles of town planning in that they separate different land uses (e.g. an industrial use should be separated from a residential use as you don’t want to be living in an industrial area). The city is basically broken up into different zones so that the uses are grouped together, separating incompatible land uses.
How do you find out about zones?
Most councils have a great web base for their city plan. You can type in your street address or lot number and see where it is situated in the existing zone, how close it is to other zones as well.
How often does the zoning change?
Planning schemes turn over every 7 years approximately, but there are a lot of changes constantly as well. That’s why it’s great the plans are web based so you can always access the most recent plan.
Zoning has a significant impact on what you can and can’t do with land, why does it matter for a first home buyer?
If you are buying in a new estate, its often fairly safe - the area has likely been designated recently and minimal changes would occur. However, if you are buying an older house, you might think your neighbourhood will stay relatively the same, but what can occur a lot is pretty soon there might be duplexes and unit blocks getting built around you. So, it’s really important to check the website or call council to know what can happen with the land around you. You also want to know what the future potential of your land is (for example if in 3 years you wanted to knock it down and build a duplex).
Zones also influence the market, because if there is a population increase in an area and only a finite amount of land that can be used for residential, the demand forces will put the prices up (This happens right across Australia).
What is a Neighbourhood plan and how does it differ to zoning?
Zoning goes right across a city, where as a neighbourhood plan is essentially a detailed look at the planning and land use of a particular area if there is a lot of pressure on that place.
How about Overlays?
Overlays is another control over what happens on a property. For example, building height, density, whether there is a bush fire hazard, a sip hazard.