Town and city planning regulations pertain to the laws that govern the way we set out our buildings, heritage sites, nature reserves, and infrastructure. State government and local councils collaborate to create and implement these laws. Planning regulations are in place to ensure that land is used effectively to build an inviting, efficient home to residents and their businesses while taking dozens of other factors into account.

What Factors Influence Land Planning Regulations?

From a broader perspective, state and territory governments will have priorities that they will consider when planning land use. These priorities will vary from one town or city to the next to meet the individual needs of their occupants.

Land planning regulations are influenced by:

  • The preservation of natural and human-made resources
  • Economic and environmental sustainability
  • The conservation of historical and cultural sites
  • The layout of public utilities such as water and sewerage pipes, and communication and electricity lines
  • The changing housing needs of residents
  • Economic growth and the provisions of jobs
  • The compatibility of differing zones
  • The road and public transport needs of a town

What Kind of Laws Apply?

Each state or territory will have their own zone allocations, but they are broken down roughly into industrial, residential, commercial, agricultural, public-use, and mixed-use. The local councils will regulate the density and exact use of each zone from there. For instance, you can expect to find a piece of commercial land which can be used to house a retail facility, but it may not be used for service stations. The exact use of land is regulated legally.

There is a vast number of planning regulations, just some apply to the following:

  • Exact land use
  • Size and height and types of buildings
  • Types of parking which is allowed
  • Environmental and heritage site development restrictions
  • Environmental impact
  • Strategic conservation
  • Property subdivision
  • Rezoning procedures
  • Dispute settlement procedures
  • Penalties and infringements
  • Australian building regulations
  • Building safety
  • Bushfire regulations
  • Building renovations
  • Advertising and signage
  • Aboriginal land use planning
  • Night-time economy
  • Hazard mitigation
  • Coastal management
  • Educational facilities
  • Health facilities
  • Infrastructure requirements
  • Renewable energy
  • Health and safety
  • Retail planning
  • Public space planning

What Regulations Do You Need To Know?

To narrow down the list of regulations you need to be familiar with, look at your state and local zoning maps. You will see which zone your preferred site falls under; then you will be able to identify what can and cannot be done with the property. Further to this, you will need to assess flood and fire areas, contours, and heritage overlays. This will already cut down the list of planning regulations you need to consider.

The primary land planning regulations a property developer needs to be aware of are:

Use-class – more specific than zoning, defines what kinds of businesses and residential developments are allowed.

Building size – defined as the maximum amount of construction allowed on the land and how much of the land is available for building.

Building height – there will be a maximum building height which will be calculated in meters or storeys.

Parking allowance – how much parking is needed per square meter or per dwelling.

For a more detailed assessment of a site, it’s best to use property development software such as Archistar, a platform that gives you detailed sitemaps and access to planning controls that simplify the planning phase of your property development project.