If you are looking to rezone your property for business use or subdivide to sell a portion of your land, it may take longer than you initially expected.

Whether applying to rezone or subdivide a property, the application will need to follow a series of procedures before it is considered, which takes time. The application will need to be submitted to the relevant local authority and can anywhere from two months to two years to be either approved or denied. Apart from being time-consuming, the process is also a very arduous and complicated affair. The documentation required by the local authority is complex, and the fees can be expensive. Because of the complexity of the matter, most people use the services of an attorney or town planner to assist them through the process. The advantage is that the application is handled by a specialist who understands all the aspects of the procedure, which will expedite the process to some degree.

Property zoning is divided into levels of residential, business and industrial, each with its specific set of rules and restrictions. When would rezoning be necessary?  If you are running a small business from home with only two or three staff members and the occasional client visit, there is no need to look into rezoning. However, if the home business grows to the extent that the traffic from clients and the activities on the property begin to impact the lives of the neighbours, you will need to apply for rezoning.

Subdivision and rezoning often go hand in hand because of the restrictions that come into play. For example, if the owner of a large property of 2000m2 decides to divide his land into four separate plots, he will be required to convert from a Residential 1 zoned property with only dwelling per stand, to property zoned for one dwelling per 500m2. 

What does the process involve? The first thing you will need to do if you wish to rezone your property is submit a detailed report to local council motivating your reasons for wanting to rezone.  Once the motivational report has been submitted, you will be required to advertise the application in the provisional Gazette, giving members of the public the opportunity to submit their objections. The local town planning department will consider the consider the information submitted, along with any objections that they receive. The town planning department will then refer the matter to the council committee and the provisional committee for the final decision.

Regarding subdividing the property, you as the homeowner, along with your architect will be required to meet with a town planner. Plans will need to be drawn up and submitted to the city council, along with a detailed report. You are then required to inform your neighbours of their intention to subdivide via register letter, and will also need to advertise it calling for objections. Once the neighbours have given their approval, the plans will need to be approved by the council.