Important Changes to Land Zoning within Victoria


A significant number of our clients have been purchasing property in Victoria — despite them living all around Australia. If you have already (or are about to) purchase within the State — then read on, to find out if the recent land zoning changes could affect you.

REFORMS TO THE VICTORIAN residential, commercial and industrial planning zones have come into operation in recent months.

The changes have resulted in the replacement of the business zones, introduction of the new commercial and residential zones, and amendments to the industrial zones.

Changes to the Business Zones

The new Commercial Zones will delete the existing business zones (Business 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Zones) and replace them with new Commercial 1 and 2 zones, specifically:

  • Commercial 1 Zone (C1Z) will replace Business 1, 2 and 5 zones.
  • Commercial 2 Zone (C2Z) will replace Business 3 and 4 zones.

Commercial 1 Zone (C1Z)

The C1Z zone broadens the ‘as of right’ uses for the land, eliminating your need for a planning permit to facilitate its use.

The zone allows you a combination of the following uses:

  • Office
  • Retail
  • Business
  • Community
  • Entertainment

As a side note — C1Z also removes floor area restrictions.

In metropolitan areas, C1Z does not include a schedule of uses … as there is no need to set out differing performance criteria.

In rural and regional areas you will require a schedule. And local Councils will have the ability to specify floor areas for offices and shops.

Commercial 2 Zone (C2Z)

The C2Z allows you the following uses as of right:

  • Office
  • Light industry and manufacturing
  • Restricted retail premises
  • Trade supplies
  • Some limited retail activity

You are prohibited to use the land for all forms of accommodation (excluding caretaker’s houses, residential hotels and motels).

If you want to build or carrying out works on the land … then you require a planning permit. In addition, there are no height restrictions to the development of buildings in this zone.

Changes to the Industrial Zones

The Industrial Zones remain in operation, however they have been amended as follows:

  • Office floor area limits are removed in the Industrial 1 and 2 Zones.
  • Office floor area caps are now specified in the Industrial 3 Zone.
  • Convenience shops, small scale supermarkets (up to 1800m2) and associated specialty shops (500m2) will be permitted in the Industrial 3 Zone — within the Melbourne Growth Boundary.

Changes to the Residential Zones

The existing Residential 1 Zone, Residential 2 Zone and Residential 3 Zone are progressively being replaced by these three new residential zones over the next year (by July 2014):

  • Residential Growth Zone (RGZ)
  • General Residential Zone (GRZ)
  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ)

In addition, further changes apply to the Mixed Use Zone (MUZ), Township Zone (TZ) and Low Density Residential Zone (LRDZ).

Key modifications to the residential zones include:

  • The intensity of development is restricted in the NRZ.
  • ‘Neighbourhood character’ is included for the NRZ and GRZ.
  • Office use is restricted to RGZ (as a permit required use).
  • Maximum residential building heights of 8 metres in NRZ (9 metres for sloping sites).
  • Maximum residential building heights of 13.5 metres in RGZ.

The three new zones provide for varying intensities of development … with NRZ being the most restrictive.

The application of the new residential zones will occur at different times throughout the next year in numerous municipalities. The timing will vary depending on when the Council has completed the necessary strategic work.

Bottom Line: The changes have been made to allow for greater flexibility in the use and development of land throughout Victoria — in some situations the requirements may result in additional obligations you (the landowner). As such, it is best to seek professional advice.

For more information you can visit the Department of Planning and Community Development website.

Disclaimer: If you think your property may be affected by these recent changes, then you should contact us for detailed legal advice relating to the particular facts and circumstances of your property. This article is not intended to provide such detailed and specific advice and you should not act on the basis of any matter contained in this article without first obtaining more comprehensive professional advice.


Speak Your Mind