If you’re looking to understand residential zones for property development you’re in the right place.

In this article, I break down the three zones that best lend themselves to small to medium residential property development projects. As residential property developers, we work within these zones on the daily.

It’s important to note that areas of land are divided by appropriate authorities into zones. Within which various uses are permitted.

When trying to identify the perfect site to develop it is critical that you understand the different residential zones. As well as the specific requirements and limitations of each.

residential zones development

The number of zones is going to depend on your local area.

For the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on the three most relevant residential zones for property development.

These are zones that we at Little Fish are working within for the lion share of our townhouse development projects.

These three specific zones are areas where higher density living is encouraged by the governing authorities. Essentially meaning attaining a planning permit should be smooth sailing.

Providing you work within the guidelines specified within the particular zone.

Before we sink our teeth into the first zone if you are looking for some help with your development project check out either our development management or our consultant’s services. We would love to help if there was an opportunity too.

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1. General Residential Zone (GRZ)

In this residential zone, if you are wanting to build two or more dwellings, you’ll need a planning permit. 

GRZ is the ideal zone to develop in as it gives you the most freedom and opportunity. It’s a residential zone where small to medium developments are encouraged.

Before we get too far into it. It’s important to note that the residential zones have different levels or schedules depending on the municipality. These schedules sit below specific planning zones which still need to comply with the res code.

All municipalities are different and have slightly different objectives. These schedules allow them the freedom to achieve their desired planning outcomes.

The information I’m sharing is general in nature. It’s to get you heading in the right direction.

You need to do your own research and understand the specific requirements of your local municipalities planning scheme.

The purpose of the General Residential Zone is to encourage development that respects the neighbourhood character of the area.

It’s also about encouraging a diversity of housing types and housing growth. Particularly in locations offering good access to services and transport.

GRZ Considerations

The image below is a list of things that need to be considered in this zone (but not limited to).

grz developers zone

You also need to be aware of the maximum building height requirements.

Maximum Building Height Requirements

  • The building height must not exceed 11 metres; and
  • The building must contain no more than 3 storeys at any point.

And lastly, there are the minimum garden area requirements you’ll need to consider when trying to figure out what can be achieved on a site.

Minimum Garden Area Requirements

garden open space requirement

The second zone we are going to look at is …

Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ)

Although NRZ doesn’t have as favourable conditions and requirements as GRZ it still offers plenty of opportunities if you can find the right site.

It’s just a matter of being more diligent about the sites you select and ensuring you understand the expected requirements.

The purpose of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone is too recognise areas of predominantly single and double-storey residential developments.

It is also to manage and ensure that developments respect the identified neighbourhood character, heritage, environmental or landscape characteristics.

Again, a permit is required to subdivide your land and construct two or more dwellings on a lot within NRZ.

NRZ Considerations

Some of the things you’ll need to consider in this residential zone are very similar to GRZ.

nrz developer zone

You’ll also need to abide by the same minimum garden area requirements as in the GRZ.

Residential Growth Zone (RGZ)

The Residential Growth Zone isn’t a zone we here at Little Fish work within too often as it lends itself to larger-scale developments.

Acquiring land in an RGZ zone can be expensive given what you can achieve with the land. It offers the potential to construct higher-density developments.

The purpose of this zone is to provide housing at increased densities in buildings up to and including four-storey buildings.

It’s also to encourage a diversity of housing types in locations offering good access to services and transport including activity centres and town centres.

It’s to encourage a scale of development that provides a transition between areas of more intensive use and development and other residential areas.

As mentioned in the beginning of the article there are countless planning zones. The ones we’ve tackled are the most relevant residential zones for development.

In particular for property developers looking to do small to medium development projects.

Remember my goal is to simply get you heading in the right direction. Ultimately you need to find a qualified and highly experienced town planner that works within the municipality that you are looking to develop.

All municipalities can have different interpretations of some of the subjective requirements with a zone.

As a multi-unit developer, it’s important you have a level of understanding.

You don’t want to be relying on third-party recommendations or advice. You need to be able to take the recommendation or advice and challenge it based on your own understanding.

The stakes are way too high to be flying blind.

Got questions? Or need a property development project manager, don’t hesitate to reach out we’d love to hear from you.

Until next time happy developing.