New implications: Know the zoning of your property

BY BARDINE HALL (BA LLB) - JUNE 29, 2016

The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, 2013 (Act 16 of 2013), (the Act), came into operation on 1 July 2015. In order to give effect to the Act, municipalities must adopt land use schemes and by-laws to regulate zoning of land and procedures for land use management in their municipal areas.

It is important for property developers, business owners and property owners to take note of the imminent changes in land use management and the implications thereof.

These implications and changes include the following:

1. New procedures will apply in respect of applications for the rezoning of property, consent uses or departures from the existing zoning scheme or, once adopted, a new land use scheme. New appeal procedures will also apply in respect of appeals. 

2. Municipalities must embark on public participation processes in the development of their new land use schemes before they replace existing zoning schemes. It will be important for property and business owners to take note when draft land use schemes are published for comment, as it may propose changes to zoning of land that may affect property rights. It will be important for property owners to submit comments, if their rights will be affected. 

3. A land use scheme must allocate a zoning or zoning category to each property in the municipal area. The zoning of a property determines the primary use and other ancillary uses that the property may be utilised for. The zoning also determines the restrictions or parameters within which the applicable use rights may be exercised or if the consent of the municipality is required for the use.

4. It is an offence to utilise land in a manner other than prescribed by an applicable zoning scheme or land use scheme.

It is therefore important for property owners, business owners and prospective property purchasers to understand what their property may lawfully be utilised for, and the restrictions and parameters within which the applicable use rights may be exercised.

We recommend that prospective purchasers consult an attorney, who specialises in Property Law, to advise them regarding the zoning, restrictions in terms of the zoning or land use scheme, restrictive title conditions and servitudes applicable to the relevant property.

At Goldberg & de Villiers Inc, the Directors in our Property Law Department, namely Adri Ludorf, Tracey Watson-Gill and Nicolas Mitchell, assisted by Bardine Hall and a team of highly-qualified paralegals, will gladly assist you with any of your Property Law-related needs or, if assistance is required, to prepare comments for submission to a municipality on a draft land use scheme that may affect the zoning of your property.