Rezoning and Subdividing Property

Steps to subdividing and rezoning property in South Africa

Property owners who want to rezone or subdivide a portion of their land in any part of South Africa may do so, as guided by the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act.

Subdivision and rezoning

Zoning refers to the rights of the property, regarding what you can do with that property. Property zoning is divided into levels of residential, business and industrial, each with its own set of rules and restrictions. A subdivision is a parcel of land divided from a larger area. Its purpose is to split a large tract of land into smaller ones that are easier to develop and can be developed independently of one another to increase growth and maximize the use of space.

Rezoning or Subdivision application

The application will need to be submitted to the relevant local authority and can take anywhere from two months to two years to be either approved or denied. Aside from the fact that the process is time-consuming, it is also a very arduous and complicated affair.
The documentation required by the local authority is complex, and the fees that need to be paid can be expensive. Because of the complexity of the matter, most people that decide to go ahead use the services of town planner to assist them through the process. The advantage here is that the application is handled by a specialist who understands all the aspects of the procedure, and this will expedite the process to some degree.

When would rezoning be necessary?

If a homeowner is running a small business from their property with only two or three staff members and the occasional client visit, there is no need for them to look into rezoning their home, however a consent use application should be made. 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 neighbors, they 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 residential property of 6000sqm decides to use a portion of the stand for business purposes or wish to sell half the stand, he will be required to subdivide and rezone one portion from a Residential, to a property zoned for business.

What does the process involve?

The first thing to do is to submit a detailed report to local council motivating their reasons for wanting to rezone. Once the motivational report has been submitted, the second thing will be to advertise the application for two consecutive weeks on a local newspaper and provisional Gazette, giving members of the public the opportunity to submit their objections.
The local town planning department will consider the information that has been 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.

With regards to subdividing a property, the appointed town planner will work with a land surveyor and a conveyance attorney. Subdivision and site development plans will need to be drawn up and submitted to the city council, along with a detailed report. The town planner is then required to inform the neighbours of the intention to subdivide via a register letter, and they also need to advertise it calling for objections. Once the neighbors have given their approval, the plans will need to be approved by the council.