• Swarup Dutta

Subdivision Potential: the Ten Signposts


Friends and clients often ask me one common question.

"Does this property have any subdivision potential?"

The simple answer is yes- most properties can be subdivided. But the real issue is "at what cost!"

If the land is not a vacant site, does it have a large enough backyard to build one or more additional houses on the block to create a new subdivision.

Or is is it not large enough for further development?

If that is the case, then the existing house may require demolition!

The question then rises- is the existing house in sound condition and rentable or sellable? If so, why demolish only to replace with another house? The property owner would lose the improved capital value of the land- and most probably the basis on which a financial lender agreed to finance the purchase of the land. However, there are properties where the existing house is in a state of poor repair and it makes commercial sense to demolish it. And this applies more so in neighbourhoods where property prices are escalating rapidly.

This is where good design and planning knowledge comes into play. Can one build one or more additional homes in the backyard or if one demolishes the existing house can one then achieve three(as a minimum) new subdivision lots from that block of land.

The Subdivision Potential Signpost :

These are just some of the criteria a developer should look for in a block capable of subdivision:

  1. Zoning

  2. Planning overlays

  3. Location

  4. Precedence

  5. Neighbourhood

  6. The local Council

  7. Land size

  8. Street frontage setback

  9. Vegetation

  10. Services

We gladly provide a desktop assessment of your subdivision property on an absolutely complimentary basis. Ask for the subdivision potential today!

1. Zoning.

A Neighbourhood Residential Zone can create problems. Check the Schedule for maximum number of dwellings allowed. In mid to outer ring suburbs you might be restricted to a maximum two lot subdivision. A Low Density zone could have a minimum lot size- usually very large. A General Residential Zone usually allows for a multi lot subdivision- subject to satisfying other planning regulations. However verify if a minimum lot size applies.

2. Planning Overlays

Planning overlays could restrict removal of trees, control building height, reduce amount of excavation, control demolition, restrict building construction type to name a few burdens an overlay could enforce, if your subdivision land is burdened by an overlay.

3. Location.

Developing a multi lot subdivision on land well served by infrastructure, schools, parks, shops, employment corridors will always presents itself as an attractive proposition to future residents and purchasers of the subdivided lots as well as the local Council.

4. Precedence.

Having other multi lot subdivisions on the street always reinforces the planning submission to your local council.

5. Neighbourhood

An established neighbourhood with little or no subdivisions will always create a high number of objectors to your Application to subdivide or to develop. And even if you get Council to support your planning application, the residents could appeal the Council's decision at VCAT!


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AuArchitecture Melbourne

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