Could changes to the planning zones cause developers to have another look at the NRZ?

The proposed changes to the residential zone controls put forward by the Victorian State Government via Amendment VC110 were gazetted on Tuesday.

While the amendments effect the General Residential Zone (GRZ), Residential Growth Zone (RGZ), and Mixed Use Zone (MUZ) it’s the removal of the two-lot subdivision restriction in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ) that is perhaps most notable, effectively increasing development potential in the NRZ.

Data provided by shows that in select suburbs across inner and middle Melbourne where the NRZ has been implemented by councils, quite a substantial amount of these properties have large block sizes.

Suburbs in the inner east and south-east of Melbourne that are covered by NRZ

Until now, the two-lot subdivision restriction has forced developers who are looking for sites to accommodate multiple dwellings to focus outside the NRZ and more towards the GRZ, RGZ and MUZ. 

Ed Farquharson from Moda Corp believes the changes will ensure developers will take another look at NRZ properties.  "These changes will result in developers targeting areas that were previously restrictive."

"It's now possible for developers to consider design responses which incorporate multiple dwellings in quieter neighbourhoods with larger blocks of land" says Farquharson.

Ratio consultants have provided a summary of changes on their website.

The key changes to the Neighbourhood Residential Zone are as follows:

  • Removal of the previous restriction on the maximum number of dwellings per lot.
  • Amendment to the purpose of the zone to remove the previous references to limiting opportunities for increased residential development and the implementation of character policy/adopted guidelines. 
  • Requiring that the schedule to the zone must contain the neighbourhood, heritage, environment or landscape character objective for the area to be achieved.
  • The introduction of a mandatory minimum garden area requirement for lots greater than 400 square metres and above ranging from between 25 and 35 per cent of lot area (irrespective of whether a planning permit is required).
  • A mandatory maximum height of 9 metres and 2 storeys with potential to exceed this height only in particular circumstances including on sloping sites, land subject to flooding and existing/adjoining building heights.
  • Revised transitional provisions which amongst other things seeks to exempt planning permit applications for the construction or extension of a dwelling lodged before the VC110 approval date.
They're here! The residential zone amendments have been gazetted - Ratio Consultants

In analysing the plethora of NRZ properties in Melbourne, have chosen to highlight how many 1000+ m2 NRZ properties there are in select suburbs.

Suburb Total Properties No. of Properties in NRZ % of Properties in NRZ No. of Properties in NRZ > 1000m2 % of Properties in NRZ > 1000m2
Brighton 14539 10204 70.18 2985 20.53
Kooyong 566 399 70.49 160 28.27
Hawthorn 17531 7886 44.98 2922 16.67
Caulfield 3332 2672 80.19 614 18.43
Balwyn 7746 5068 65.43 1066 13.76
Elsternwick 6790 5022 73.96 1719 25.32
Beaumaris 6517 6231 95.61 672 10.31
Fitzroy North 7820 6253 79.96 1327 16.97
Brunswick East 7735 5205 67.29 1763 22.79
Princes Hill 1189 1183 99.50 351 29.52

Data supplied by

Lead image credit: Colliers


mike In Brunswick West's picture

Changing the focus from number of dwellings to protection of garden space / private green spaces is highly logical, especially as the south eastern suburbs locked up too much in the restricted residential zone.

Back to top
Rohan Storey's picture

I find this very hard to follow - if there's no restriction on no of dwelling per lot in the NRZ, does this mean you can do flats (albeit 2 storeys, and 25% of the whole lot is garden if the lot is 400-500 msq) ? (or does lot mean a flat as well?) If not, minimum lot size doesn't matter as to how many units you can have. In fact if you have a 1000 sqm lot, you can do loads of flats as long as you have the large garden area, but not small subdivided townhouses (without a soecial permit) as long as two storeys. But the info sheet talks about dual occ/townhouse pairs, and the gazetted control says the minimum lot size without a permit is 400msq, so is it really just about allowing dual occ or terrace pair, with the 25% garden ? If the latter, okay, not hugely diff from existing except min lot smaller and garden requirement bigger (assuming narrow side gardens not 'counted'.) That's an improvement since so many dual occs (and houses! ) have minimal gardens. Hope that applies to new fringe houses too which have tiny courtyard gardens.


Back to top

Development & Planning

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 07:00
The changing built form landscape within City of Yarra may well be nudged once more down the commercial path as plans are assessed for a sizebale development of the Kia/Patersons site at 198-242 Burnley Street, Richmond. Council is deliberating over a plan which would create four separate office buildings that would hold an accumulated GFA of approximately 40,000sqm and support 800-1000 full time jobs.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - 12:00
Carolyn Whitzman , University of Melbourne Liveability is an increasingly important goal of Australian planning policy. And creating cities where residents can get to most of the services they need within 20 to 30 minutes has been proposed, at both federal and state level, as a key liveability-related mechanism.

Visual Melbourne

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 12:00
Part Three follows on from the Part One: Yarra's Edge and Part Two: Victoria Harbour. The focus of today's piece will be NewQuay and Harbour Town, the northern most precincts within Docklands. NewQuay NewQuay was the first precinct to open way back in 2003 and has probably evolved the most.


Transport & Design

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 12:00
Michael Buxton , RMIT University In Sydney and Melbourne, the squeeze is on. Population is booming; house prices are still rising; roads and trains are congested. Australian governments generally have ignored the benefits of relating metropolitan and regional planning. However, some state governments are now investigating more integrated sectoral and spatial planning strategies, initially through shifting public sector jobs to regional centres.

Sustainability & Environment

Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 12:00
The greening of Southbank is a step closer to reality following the endorsement of the draft concept plan for Southbank Boulevard and Dodds Street by the Future Melbourne Committee on Tuesday, 18 July, 2017.