Planning Scheme - Zones and Overlays

Did you know, 2 properties on the same street can have vastly different values, even if they are on adjacent blocks?  One factor which affects their property valuation is the individual planning schemes and overlays that affects them.

It is very common to see overlays affecting one property, but not the other, even if they are right next to each other.  Which is why, good due diligence is critical, and such planning schemes and overlays should be reviewed and compared against your plans for the property. 

While most overlays are straight forward, some are rather cryptic. 

Over 90% of the property buyers wasn't aware of the planning zones and overlays.  Not many conveyancer cares about your intent, and no one will highlight them to you.

Here are some of the commonly found Planning Zones and Overlays in Victoria.

Vic Plan

More information can be found  at Planning Scheme Online

GRZ vs RGZ vs NRZ - What are the differences?

It is important to note that the local council manages the definitions and applications of the residential zones.  So, each council may have slightly different definitions and rules around its applications.

These are general guidelines:

NRZ - low density - up to 2 storeys or 9 metres

GRZ - mid-density - up to 3 storeys or 11 metres.

RGZ - high density - 4 storeys and above

Do note that councils have the power to vary the minimum block size, green area, types of fence, and they usually do have their variations.  Each zone appeals to different types of buyers.

Details

GRZx - R1Zx, R2Zx or R3Zx General Residential Zone

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.

  • To encourage development that respects the neighbourhood character of the area.

  • To encourage a diversity of housing types and housing growth particularly in locations offering good access to services and transport.

  • To allow educational, recreational, religious, community and a limited range of other non-residential uses to serve local community needs in appropriate locations.

Refer to individual council for guidelines.

RGZ - Residential Growth Zone

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.

  • To provide housing at increased densities in buildings up to and including four storey buildings.

  • To encourage a diversity of housing types in locations offering good access to services and transport including activity centres and town centres.

  • To encourage a scale of development that provides a transition between areas of more intensive use and development and other residential areas.

  • To ensure residential development achieves design objectives specified in a schedule to this zone.

  • To allow educational, recreational, religious, community and a limited range of other non-residential uses to serve local community needs in appropriate locations.


Refer to individual council for guidelines.

NRZ - Neighbourhood Residential Zone

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.

  • To recognise areas of predominantly single and double storey residential development. To manage and ensure that development respects the identified neighbourhood character, heritage, environmental or landscape characteristics.

  • To allow educational, recreational, religious, community and a limited range of other non-residential uses to serve local community needs in appropriate locations.


Refer to individual council for guidelines.

RDZ - RDZ1, RDZ2 Road Development Zone

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.

  • To identify significant existing roads.

  • To identify land which has been acquired for a significant proposed road.

Refer to individual council for guidelines.

LDRZ - Low Density Residential Zone

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.

  • To provide for low-density residential development on lots which, in the absence of reticulated sewerage, can treat and retain all wastewater.


Refer to individual council for guidelines.

SUZ - SUZx Special Use Zone

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.

  • To recognise or provide for the use and development of land for specific purposes as identified in a schedule to this zone.


Refer to individual council for guidelines.

TZ - Township Zone

  • To provide for residential development and a range of commercial, industrial and other uses in small towns.

  • To provide for residential development and a range of commercial, industrial and other uses in small towns.

  • To encourage development that respects the neighbourhood character of the area.

  • To allow educational, recreational, religious, community and a limited range of other non-residential uses to serve local community needs in appropriate locations.

Refer to individual council for guidelines.

UFZ - Urban Floodway Zone

Unlike the overlays, the UFZ controls land use as well as development, with land use being restricted to low intensity uses such as recreation and agriculture. Development is generally not encouraged in the UFZ.

BMO - BMO1, BMO2, BMO3, BMOx Bush fire Management Overlay

The Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) applies to land that may be significantly affected by a bushfire.

DCPO - Development Contributions Plan Overlay

To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.
To identify areas which require the preparation of a development contributions plan for the purpose of levying contributions for the provision of works, services and facilities before development can commence.

DPO - Development Plan Overlay

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.

  • To identify areas which require the form and conditions of future use and development to be shown on a development plan before a permit can be granted to use or develop the land.

  • To exempt an application from notice and review if a development plan has been prepared to the satisfaction of the responsible authority

LSIO - Land Subject to Inundation Overlay

These are planning scheme controls that apply to land affected by flooding associated with waterways and open drainage systems. Such areas are commonly known as floodplains. These overlays require a planning permit for buildings and works.

EAO - Environmental Audit Overlay

  • To implement the State Planning Policy Framework and the Local Planning Policy Framework, including the Municipal Strategic Statement and local planning policies.

  • To ensure that potentially contaminated land is suitable for a use which could be significantly adversely affected by any contamination.

Usually means the land is contaminated.

ESO - Environmental Significance Overlay

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.

  • To identify areas where the development of land may be affected by environmental constraints.

  • To ensure that development is compatible with identified environmental values

FO - Floodway Overlay

These apply to land that's identified as carrying active flood flows associated with waterways and open drainage systems. This overlay is categorised by depths in excess of one metre.

HO - Heritage Overlay

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.

  • To conserve and enhance heritage places of natural or cultural significance.

  • To conserve and enhance those elements which contribute to the significance of heritage places.

  • To ensure that development does not adversely affect the significance of heritage places.

  • To conserve specified heritage places by allowing a use that would otherwise be prohibited if this will demonstrably assist with the conservation of the significance of the heritage place.

PAO - Public Acquisition Overlay

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.

  • To identify land which is proposed to be acquired by a Minister, public authority or municipal council.

  • To reserve land for a public purpose and to ensure that changes to the use or development of the land do not prejudice the purpose for which the land is to be acquired.

  • To designate a Minister, public authority or municipal council as an acquiring authority for land reserved for a public purpose.

SBO - SBO1, SBO2, SBOx Special Building Overlay

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.

  • To identify land in urban areas liable to inundation by overland flows from the urban drainage system as determined by, or in consultation with, the floodplain management authority.

  • To ensure that development maintains the free passage and temporary storage of floodwaters, minimises flood damage, is compatible with the flood hazard and local drainage conditions and will not cause any significant rise in flood level or flow velocity.

  • To protect water quality in accordance with the provisions of relevant State Environment Protection Policies, particularly in accordance with Clauses 33 and 35 of the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria).


Usually means the land is subject to flooding/water overruns.

SLO - Significant Landcape Overlay

Purpose To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.

  • To identify significant landscapes.

  • To conserve and enhance the character of significant landscapes.

VPO - Vegetation Protection Overlay

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.

  • To protect areas of significant vegetation.

  • To ensure that development minimises loss of vegetation.

  • To preserve existing trees and other vegetation.

  • To recognise vegetation protection areas as locations of special significance, natural beauty, interest and importance.

  • To maintain and enhance habitat and habitat corridors for indigenous fauna.

  • To encourage the regeneration of native vegetation.