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The Land Rezoning Process in NSW

Land rezoning offers potentially very lucrative returns to a landowner, and many people wish their property had a higher and better use. Rezonings are not a walk in the park and usually are quite a costly endeavour. Many clients want to know if we can assist them with rezoning their property; however, there are a few questions to answer first.

What is rezoning land?

The first question to answer is “What is rezoning?” A land rezoning is where the legislation is modified to change the permissible use in an area to allow a different kind of activity or a different level of density. 
Most often, landowners want to rezone their rural property or low-density residential property to a higher level of residential density. Depending on the goals and aims of the local area, and your town planner’s ability to articulate the benefits of a higher density, this may or may not be possible.

What is the process to get a property rezoned?

One of the most frequent questions we receive is “How do you rezone property?” There are five principle steps in the rezoning process; they are:

  1. Preparing a Planning Proposal – a proponent on behalf of the planning proposal authority must produce a planning proposal. This document is a detailed argument outlining the importance and benefit of amending the legislation and, importantly, how the proposed rezoning fits in with the strategic vision for the locality. The planning proposal authority in most circumstances in the local council; however, there are a variety of other authorities which may have input into your situation.
  2. Gateway Review – assuming the local consent authority resolves to support the planning proposal, it is then forwarded to the Department of Planning Industry and Environment (DPIE) seeking a “Gateway Determination”. The Minister’s delegate (or in some cases the Minister themselves) will decide whether your rezoning may proceed. Occasionally, DPIE will require a variation, or conditionally allow the planning proposal to continue (may be subject to further studies, public or agency consultation/hearings, and timing). The final consideration is a decision on whether the relevant council can finalise particular types of Local Environment Plans (LEPs) at the stage.
  3. Community Consultation – the proposal will become publicly available on exhibition as required by the Minister. The public has the right to make a submission regarding your rezoning. Furthermore, they may also request a public hearing. It is essential to understand how the community responds to your rezoning.
  4. Assessment – whoever is your relevant planning proposal authority will review the submissions made during the public exhibition. If the planning proposal authority is comfortable to proceed, Parliamentary Counsel (or the local consent authority in some cases) will prepare a draft Local Environmental Plan (LEP).
  5. LEP Finalisation – the Minister or their delegate will grant approval for the publishing of the new Local Environmental Plan on the NSW legislation website, and the plan becomes law.

How much does it cost to rezone a property?

There are several costs involved with preparing a rezoning. You must engage relevant experts to write studies, you must engage with the community, and you need to develop a planning proposal. 
It is not a simple process and requires a town planner with experience in rezonings. Useful town planners do not just write the planning proposal; instead, they manage the whole process and advocate for you to the relevant agencies and authorities. 


Ultimately, the end cost is specific to individual projects and requires a thorough review to determine costs.
If you are interested in rezoning your land and want to talk to an expert town planner with rezoning experience, click here to get in contact.

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