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Impact of rezoning

As our population grows, our governments need to accommodate for more housing and infrastructure. To maintain and modernise our cities, this means rezoning areas close to the cities and existing infrastructure as well as releasing large areas of land for development.

 1.  What is rezoning?

Zoning is dividing areas of land into categories. These categories determine what sorts of activities and development are permitted on the areas of land. Zoning is guided by State Government planning laws. These are usually set out in either a Planning Scheme Ordinance (PSO) or Local Environmental Plan (LEP). Zoning applies to both public and private land.

The Standard Instrument LEP contains 34 different zoning categories. These zones are grouped under 8 broad headings:

  • Rural zones,
  • Residential zones,
  • Business zones,
  • Industrial zones,
  • Special Purpose zones,
  • Recreation zones,
  • Environment Protection zones, and
  • Waterway zones.

A rezoning or an Amendment to the PSO or LEP is a process which legally alters:

  • The Development controls applicable to a specific area of land; or
  • The range of uses permissible on specific areas of land.

2.  Why is land rezoned?

As our population grows, it is important for our government to ensure there is adequate housing and infrastructure to support our lifestyles.

In order for our community to live in a functioning society, town planners go to a lot of effort to create a physical environment that encourages convenience, efficiency, healthy lifestyles and aesthetically pleasing places to work, live and play.

Each area presents a different set of issues that need to be overcome. Coastal suburbs need to take into account erosion, environmental impact on waterways and seasonal increase of population when the sun is shining.

Cities require affordable housing within close proximity to the hub of business and such areas need to be easily accessible by public transport.

Outer suburbs need to have schools, hospitals, train stations, airports and shopping centres to service the population’s needs.

Young workers like to live close to the city and close to their place of work. With the majority of universities in Sydney dotted around the Eastern Suburbs and inner west this means Student accommodation in those areas is a great investment. .

3.  How long does it take for rezoning to be approved?

It will depend entirely upon the complexity of the development proposed.

Before you can lodge an Application you will need to prepare all the relevant reports and information Council will require prior to making any decision.

Then, it will take between six (6) to twelve (12) months after lodgement for a draft LEP to be processed and be gazetted, if it is supported by Council.

The time can be longer if the LEP involves complex issues or large development proposals.

4.  What can I do if Council refuses to re-zone my land?

There are two options:

  1. Amend the Application to comply with Council’s requirements; or
  2. Make an Application for Spot re-zoning through the Gateway review system.

Spot rezoning is when an Applicant puts forward a proposal to the local council to change the zoning of a particular area. Spot rezoning does not require that all zones be changed, only a specific area. In order for a zone to be changed, the LEP needs to be amended. Developers who want to undertake work that is not allowed in the zone need to lodge a Gateway Application for spot rezoning, along with their Development Application. If the spot rezoning is approved, the Development Application can be approved at the same time. If it is refused you can take the matter to the State Government for approval.

5.  What is the impact of my land being rezoned if I am not the Applicant?

Individuals are able to challenge an LEP in the Land and Environment Court. However, it is only under very specific circumstances that an appeal will be allowed. Appeals must be made within three (3) months of an LEP being published on the NSW legislation website.

Recently the paths of proposed infrastructure such as the light rail, Metro system, new hospitals and new schools have had surrounding properties rezoned to promote more housing along the transportation paths into the city and around new schools and hospitals.

Not only new developments, but also upgrades to existing stations, schools and medical facilities will drive prices up in surrounding areas.

Recently rezoned residential blocks in the north of Sydney sold for three (3) times their value prior to rezoning when sold collectively with their neighbouring property to a developer.

If your property is re-zoned, contact KREISSON for advice on how to best capitalise on your sale.