Property Development and Investment Melbourne – Understanding Property ‘Zones’


property development melbourne - planning zones v2

Similar to other states in Australia, Melbourne property development is governed by what can be a fairly complex planning system with certain controls placed at all levels of government.

Melbourne has experienced some change in its planning system over more recent years. The introduction of the Growth Areas Authority a few years ago, and the recent announcement of the ‘Plan Melbourne’ strategy for example, are all aimed at improving our planning system and mapping out future growth.

The whole planning system is complex, takes a lot of time and involves many stakeholders, including local councils and other service authorities (eg Melbourne Water). You could write a book about it to be honest, so I’d like to just focus on what is most relevant to someone who is interested in property development and property investment in Melbourne.

One of the main objectives of this planning process is to establish which governing uses (or planning zones) will be applied to which areas, as this will dictate what development outcome you need to achieve on your property, and what particular permits you may need to seek.

If you already own a developable property, it is highly likely that your property will be in a particular zone. If you are looking for a site, then understanding zoning can be very helpful to your decision making process. If I want to develop a residential dwelling, it would be pretty safe to assume that a site with an existing house surrounded by residential housing is in a residential zone, but a vacant piece of land can be trickier, especially out in the urban fringes.

The current zoning (or property development) types which are more likely to be relevant to you could be generally summarised as follows:

Industrial Property Development is generally intended for use by manufacturing (eg factories) within an Industrial Zone.

Commercial Property Development is generally intended for use by wholesale business and services (eg offices) within a Business (or Commercial) Zone.

Retail Property Development is generally intended for selling retail goods and services (eg shops, supermarkets) within a Business (or Commercial) Zone.

Residential Property Development is generally intended for use and occupation by people and not to conduct business, located within a Residential Zone.

There are also mixed use zones, which generally combine retail or commercial with residential property development, and a list of other special zones to control development outcomes such as activity centres, parks, floodways etc.

Zoning though, is only the ‘first layer’ which governs outcomes. There are other layers that need to be considered such as ‘overlays’ and ‘local structure/development plans’ for example, which are more specific to local areas.  Should they exist over your property then yes, they will need to be considered and addressed, but no need to worry as we have dealt with it many times before. We can help you do this ‘homework’ and be better informed as part of our pre-planning work.

Should you have any further questions or need assistance on a particular site, please email me or give me a call.