Town Planning Reforms – Business Sector

October 25, 2012

The Victorian Government intends to change the planning controls for the commercial and industrial sector by introducing new planning zones into all council planning schemes, including the City of Melbourne Planning Scheme.  The Minister for Planning, the Hon Matthew Guy MLC states the purpose of the changes is to make Victoria more commercially competitive by introducing two new “Commercial Zones” to replace the old “Business Zones”.

Specific improvements to the planning scheme will be made by removing limitations on the permissible floor area for office and retail development, as some Business Zones presently place a cap on the allowable floor area where a planning permit is not required.  Additionally, the requirement for industrial development to have a capped floor area of 500m2 for an office as part of that development will be removed.

The new Commercial Zones will permit a greater mix of retail, commercial and high density residential development, which is good news.  Concurrent changes also include three new Residential Zones to replace the existing residential zones throughout the state:

  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone – will restrict certain development and urban growth, preserving the existing urban amenity
  • Residential Growth Zone – provides for growth and greater density housing by facilitating further subdivision
  • General Residential Zone –  provides that a dwelling can be constructed on a lot of 200m2 (currently 300m2) and permits some commercial development

An advisory committee is currently reviewing community and industry submissions on the proposal, with advice to be provided back to the government by 30 November 2012. The changes are currently exhibited on the Department of Planning and Community Development website at

For further advice on how these changes may affect your development potential, contact us on 9870 9870.

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