How Does Zoning Affect Property In The Inner City?

February 1st, 2019 - by Brad Gillespie

When was the last time you thought about zoning?

For a lot of homeowners, I’d bet it was a long time ago, even though zoning affects property and lifestyle in every part of Australia. For those who need a refresher, here’s what zoning is, how it affects your property and what’s happening with zoning in Erskineville and Alexandria now.

What is zoning, how does it affect residents and who manages it?

Zoning controls the type of buildings that can legally be built on specific sections of land and what activities can take place on that land. Zoning is in place to help local governments control an area’s development, by putting restrictions on how many types of each building can be present and wherein the suburb they can be constructed. For example, a property developer wanting to build a high-rise apartment building can only do so in certain parts of a suburb, in the same way that a retailer or a recreational club can only operate in other parts.

In NSW, zoning is managed at both the local and state government levels. Local councils are in charge of their area’s zoning, working in conjunction with the Department of Planning and Environment. Together, the governments create a regulatory plan for each area and allocate appropriate zoning, which can change over time as the area’s needs change.

But zoning doesn’t just affect larger-scale developments or commercial enterprises. Homeowners wanting to add an extension to their home or split it into a dual occupancy or townhouses might find that it isn’t possible based on their residential zoning. And if you’re in a quiet residential street that’s been rezoned for mixed commercial use, you might suddenly find yourself in a much busier environment.

What are the zones in NSW?

In NSW, there are eight types of zones:

  • Residential, which controls housing, apartment buildings etc
  • Business, including city centres, mixed-use developments, shopping strips, business parks and enterprise corridors
  • Industrial, such as warehouses or manufacturing facilities
  • Recreation, for both public and private use
  • Environment protection, like national parks and conservation areas
  • Special purpose, for tourism, infrastructure and special activities
  • Waterway, for working and recreational bodies of water
  • Rural, including forestry, farming and rural landscapes

Click here to see a full list of zones.

These broader zoning categories are then broken down into sub-categories that control the development’s density. For example, residential zoning can be classed as general (R1), low density (R2), medium density (R3), high density (R4) and large lot (R5). These categories are really important in the inner city because they make sure there’s enough housing to meet the growing demand, while also stopping the suburbs from being completely filled with high-density towers. This usually means there’s a mix of the sub-categories, or at least two or three types.

So what’s changing in Alexandria and Erskineville and how does the zoning affect residents?

Over the past five to 10 years, the zoning in the inner city has been changing to accommodate Sydney’s booming population. Alexandria, in particular, has long been known for its large industrial and commercial pockets, but there’s ongoing rezoning happening to allow for more residential and mixed-use applications.

At the moment, the area is predominantly residential, with the main zoning being R1, or General Residential. There’s also a lot of mixed-use zoning, allowing for residential buildings that also have retail and commercial applications, as well as sections of commercial, industrial and recreation.

The effects of this changing landscape in the inner city can include:

  • Changes to who your neighbours are. If your area is rezoned, you might have more apartment blocks appearing on your street or warehouses and factories that are replaced with residential buildings.
  • More opportunities to sell to developers, if your home is rezoned for higher density living.
  • Revitalised areas, as more mixed-use and business developments, provide new amenities and employment opportunities.
  • More opportunity to buy in the inner city, as well as opportunities to sell to buyers who are attracted to the growing area.

Whether you’re thinking of selling or buying, understanding zoning is essential in knowing how your lifestyle will be affected and how your property’s value might change over time.

Unsure of how zoning affects you in Alexandria or Erskineville?

Contact me today for a chat.