Common Residential Zones in Melbourne

Common Residential Zones in Melbourne

Exploring three common residential zones in Melbourne

Within Melbourne suburbs the three most common residential zones that you are likely to encounter are: Neighbourhood Residential Zone, General Residential Zone, Residential Growth Zone.

These new residential zones were created by the State Government in 2017 to replace the Residential 1, Residential 2 and Residential 3 Zones.

Each of these zones are similar in that their main priority is for residential uses to continue and be prioritised. However they each serve a different function, particularly with regards to managing housing development and growth. A summary of each of these zones is below:

Neighbourhood Residential Zone

This zone is applied to areas where little change from the current built form and density are anticipated. It may be used in areas that have specific heritage, environmental, landscape or neighbourhood character values that are distinct from surrounding areas and are valued to be preserved. Depending on whether there are special values or constraints to the area the degree of housing change may be considered to be minimal or incremental.

General Residential Zone

This zone is used in areas where housing development of up to 3 storeys is anticipated. There is good access to services and transport within these areas. Depending on the access to facilities and the characteristics of the area the anticipated level of housing change will either be incremental or substantial.

Residential Growth Zone

This zone is used in areas with excellent access to a range of facilities, jobs and public transport options. It indicates that an area is suitable for increased housing density. It is also used to provide a transition from a more intensive use such as an activity centre to the another residential area. Housing change is typically expected to be substantial, however in some areas the rate of growth may be more incremental.

Features of Zones

There are a number of features of each zone. The table below details the differences between the 3 zones.

Features of Neighbourhood Residential Zone, General Residential Zone and Residential Growth Zone

You will see in this table that the schedule to the zone can specify a mandatory height and that it can’t be less than the maximum height allowed under the zone. The exception to this is where there was a lower maximum building height specified in a schedule to the residential zone prior to the introduction of these residential zones. For example Kingston Council currently have a General Residential Zone with a maximum height of 9m. As part of their review of housing and neighbourhood character that is being undertaken now they will need to apply the Neighbourhood Residential Zone in areas where a 9m/2storey maximum height is to be mandatory in the future.

What Does This Mean For Guiding Development?

Firstly, you can align the residential zone with the housing change proposed to guide you for what type of development will be encouraged:

Type of housing change by residential zone type

Once you determine what type of development you want to do you can focus on the zones that are best suited to this.

Once a site is identified all of planning controls associated with the site including the schedule to the zone and any planning overlays should be reviewed. This will ensure you identify any special constraints that may affect your proposal. From there you can start to identify if the site is feasible for development and then explore further with a designer on potential designs and yield.