Town Planning and Town Planners in SA

Town planning & planners

Town Planning and Town Planners in SA

Table of Contents

TOWN PLANNING & TOWN PLANNERS

 

What is town planning?

 

✅ Town Planning is a dynamic profession that strives to improve the well-being of people and their related communities by creating comfortable, equal, healthy, effective and attractive living environments for current and future generations.

✅ Town and Regional Planning deals with the planning, design, implementation, and management of all facets of development and land use from local to national level.

 

What is a town planner?

 

🏠 Town and regional planners mostly work for the government. However, developers and private planning firms also hire town planners.

🏠 Town Planners’ tasks include the development of long- and short-term plans for land use, growth, maintenance and renewal. They also monitor relevant legislation and ensure that all projects comply with the regulations and rules.

🏠 Town planners will also make recommendations regarding the allocation of funds for programs and transport projects. They will develop, design, and implement studies on transport, air quality, housing, and population, and then analyse these studies to present the results.

🏠 They will also make recommendations regarding zoning regulations to address social, economic, and environmental and health problems.

🏠 Town Planners are creative and dynamic individuals who are excellent at problem-solving. The ideal Town and Regional Planner is a creative person who can come up with innovative solutions to solve complex problems.

🏠 This is a creative person who is able to come up with innovative solutions for complex problems, a mediator who can reconcile different points of view, a strategic thinker, and a good manager.

🏠 Given the enormous backlogs in the field of housing and other social services and the misery in which many South Africans currently find themselves.

🏠 A Town Planner helps a community to decide how to use its land and resources the best with a view to future growth and revival. He or she usually works for a local government.

🏠 A town planner or regional planner recommends places for roads, schools, and other infrastructure in order to help local officials solve social, economic, and environmental problems.

 

What does a town planner do?

 

On a typical day, a town planner or regional planner may do the following:

  • Design, promotion, and administration of government plans and policies regarding land use, zoning, public services, community facilities, housing, and transport.
  • Hold public meetings and provide government, social scientists, lawyers, developers, the public, and special interest groups with advice to formulate and develop land use or community plans.
  • Recommend approval, denial or conditional approval of proposals.
  • Determining the effects of regulatory constraints on projects.
  • Assessing the feasibility of proposals and the identification of necessary changes.

 

How do you become a town planner?

 

✅ The qualification for Town and Regional Planning is a four-year degree that offers both theoretical and practical training.

✅ It is a professional SACPLAN accredited undergraduate qualification and students can then also apply for postgraduate study (MSc or Ph.D.) in Town Planning.

 

Where do town planners work?

 

Examples of organizations where Planners can work include the following:

  • Government agencies: National and Provincial Departments, Local municipalities, development agencies
  • Private Sector: Corporate Environment ( e.g. Vodacom, MTN, ABSA, AngloGold, etc.), Private Consultants (Town Planners), Architects, Land Surveyors, Engineering Companies, Estate Agents, Developers and other relevant building environmental professions,
  • Research Institutions and Universities

 

How to submit a land use application?

 

✅ When a land use application is necessary for a certain activity or proposed development an individual wants to carry out, the local municipality must be approached for application forms, etc. in order to compile and submit an application.

✅ It is important to appoint a professional town planner in this regard to draft and lodge the application. Once an individual submitted an application and paid the Council fees, an official at the department will scrutinise the application to check if the application is complete. A reference number will be issued for the application.

 

How long does it take for a land-use application to be approved?

 

✅ Approval of a land-use application can take up to a year, depending on the type of application that was lodged. When an application is submitted to Council, the application is circulated to relevant internal departments of the Council for their comments.

✅ Once all comments are positive from the relevant internal departments, the application can be evaluated by the relevant Municipal planning official who recommends the application for approval or refusal.

 

What happens if objections are received?

 

✅ Depending on the By-Laws of a Municipality, some applications have to be advertised to the general public. The general public will have the opportunity to object to a land-use application.

✅ Objections may result in a major delay in the application process at the Municipality. 

✅ If objectors refuse to withdraw their respective objections, a hearing has to be scheduled by the Municipality in order to decide whether the application will be recommended for approval or not.

 

Will bulk service contributions be payable?

 

Depending on the type of land use application and the impact of which the proposed land use will have on the engineering services on the area (water, sewer, roads, stormwater, electricity), bulk contributions may be applicable to be paid by the client/property owner.

The availability of services in the area may also be a deciding factor on whether bulk contributions will be payable or not.

 

Why do I need a town planner?

 

Town planners are appointed by property owners to compile and submit land use applications and to obtain municipal approval thereof for certain land uses/activities that they want to acquire for their properties.

Land use applications need to be in line with different legislations and may be very complex to be dealt with.

The need to appoint a professional town planner in this regard is vital in order to avoid wasted time and money with municipal procedures.

 

What is town planning approval?

 

Town planning approval means that the land use application that was submitted to the Council has been approved. It is important to inspect the approval letter for any post-approval conditions to be complied with before the rights can come into operation.

If there are no post-approval conditions in the approval letter to be complied with, the proposed rights may be exercised on the subject property. As soon as the proposed land use rights are in place, architects can draught and submit building plans accordingly.

 

What is floor area ratio (FAR/FSR)?

 

FAR (Floor Area Ratio) or FSR (Floor Space Ratio) is a ratio/ factor that may be multiplied with the size/area of a property, the product of which will define the gross floor area (GFA) that may be developed on the property (also commonly referred to as “bulk or bulk factor”).

 

What is coverage?

 

Coverage is known as the footprint of a building structure on a property or percentage of a property that is covered, as seen from directly above a property (i.e. 60% coverage on a site of 1000m² will be 600m² of area covered by buildings).

 

What is a zoning certificate?

 

A zoning certificate of a property typically confirms the land use zoning category of a subject property and also indicates certain development restrictions such as coverage, height, floor area ratio, density, parking requirements, etc.

 

What is my property’s zoning?

 

A property’s zoning can be determined by obtaining a zoning certificate from the local municipality of that specific area. Town planners can assist property owners in order to obtain a zoning certificate from the Council.

 

What are bulk services contributions?

 

Bulk services contributions or “Engineering Services” may be applicable to be paid by the client/property owner, depending on the availability of services (water, sewer, roads, stormwater, electricity) in a specific area.

Subject to the type of land use application and the impact of which the proposed land use will have on the engineering services in the area, bulk contributions may be applicable.

 

What are my obligations as a property owner in terms of planning law?

 

A property owner should ensure that the zoning of his/her property is in line with the type of land use being exercised on the subject property.

If the zoning of the property is not in line with the land use being exercised, the land use is regarded as being “illegal” and the Municipality may serve a contravention notice to the owner of the property.

Certain Municipalities may increase your property’s rates and taxes levy due to an illegal activity being exercised.

A town planner can be appointed in this regard to lodge an appropriate land use application to Council in order to rectify the property’s zoning according to the relevant Municipal Planning By-Laws and/or Town Planning Scheme.

 

How do I acquire new or additional land use development rights?

 

A town planner needs to be appointed to lodge an appropriate application to the relevant Municipality in order to acquire new or additional land use development rights for a property.

 

How do I apply for a zoning scheme departure?

 

A town planner needs to be appointed to lodge an appropriate application to the relevant Municipality in order to apply for a new zoning or zoning scheme departure for a property.

 

How do I convert/develop a farm or piece of land into a residential township or business units?

 

In order to obtain land use rights for a residential township or business units on farmland/agricultural zoned land, a town planner needs to be appointed to lodge an application to Council.

A township establishment application is usually required to obtain such land uses on farm/agricultural land, but it depends on the Municipal Planning By-Laws of the subject Municipality.

 

I own two or more adjacent properties. Is it possible to consolidate then and create one big portion?

 

Yes, two or more adjacent properties can be consolidated to create one single portion/erf. It is important to ensure that all properties belong to the same owner in order to consolidate the subject properties.

 

Is it possible to use a site for uses other than stipulated by the zoning scheme e.g. operating a business within a residential land use zone?

 

It depends on the current zoning and development controls of a property and what the town planning scheme of the relevant municipality allows for the current zoning. A zoning certificate of the property should be obtained in this regard.

 

Who has to submit building plans?

 

Building plans are usually submitted by qualified Architects or Draughtspersons. The zoning of a property should, however, be right, before building plans can be submitted.

 

What is town and regional planning?

 

Town and Regional Planning is a thrilling profession that that promotes equality and stimulates sustainable development and mainly has to do with the planning, design, implementation and management of public interventions in the development and use of land.

The driving force behind the profession is the generation of viable alternatives to current settlement types.

In South Africa’s history, town and regional planning has been a key profession in equalizing spatial and other imbalances in both urban and rural areas, as well as improving ineffective and underperforming living environments.

 

How can I find out the zone of my land?

 

A property’s zoning can be determined by obtaining a zoning certificate from the local municipality of that specific area. Town planners can assist property owners in order to obtain a zoning certificate from the Council.

 

Where can I get advice about planning and subdivision requirements?

 

Town planners can assist property owners with advice about planning and subdivision requirements.

 

Where do I lodge my application?

 

A land-use application is lodged to the Municipality (Town Planning Department) governing the area of where the subject property is located.

 

How much do I need to pay with my application?

 

Land use application fees are different for each Municipality and can be obtained from a town planner or from the town planning department of the Municipality.

 

Where do I obtain a copy of my title deed/surveyor general diagram?

 

A town planner can obtain a copy of a property’s title deed/surveyor general diagram.

 

Why is it necessary to obtain town planning authorisation prior to making a building plan application?

 

A property’s zoning should be in line with the proposed land uses to be exercised/developed on the property. Building plans will not be approved if a property’s zoning is not in place for the proposed new land use/development.

Town planning authorisation will determine if a property’s zoning is in place or not.

 

Why should I use a town planning consultant?

 

Town planning consultants (town planners) provide various planning services to their clients, such as individuals, companies, NPC’s and local governments.

Town planners review development proposals to ensure compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements.

By appointing professional town planning consultants, costly pitfalls can certainly be avoided in the development process.

 

How to appeal against a planning decision?

 

An appeal against a municipal planning tribunal decision can be made within a certain period, depending on the Municipal By-Laws of that specific area.

The appointment of a legal representative is of utmost importance for lodging an appeal on behalf of an individual/entity.

 

What are town planning services?

 

Town planning services are usually land use -and development applications that include:

 

What is a town planning scheme?

 

A Town planning scheme (also known as a land use scheme) is a Municipal guideline document that sets out regulatory development controls for properties in the area to which it applies.

Town planning schemes vary from one Municipality to the next Municipality.

The scheme provides certain guidelines and development controls for different types of properties, such as: Zoning, Land uses, FAR, Coverage, Building lines, Height, etc.

 

What is the town planning process?

 

Town planning processes differs from one Municipality to another. The following town planning process is typically applicable:

  1. The client approaches/appoints a town planner to obtain advice or submit an application for his/her property;
  2. The town planner provides the client with professional advice on the way forward, depending on the type of request;
  3. The town planner motivates and compiles the applicable application (Rezoning/permission etc.);
  4. The town planner submits the application to the relevant official at City Council, whereafter it is assessed for completeness.
  5. When the application is found to be complete, the advertisement process can commence (if applicable).
  6. The application then needs to be advertised as prescribed (usually in the Provincial Gazette, Beeld, Citizen, on-site and the adjoining owners need to be notified by registered post). An objection period is applicable in this regard.
  7. The application is then circulated to various internal departments for their respective inputs and comments, and the town planner takes it upon himself/herself to expedite this aspect of the application.
  8. As soon as all the comments from the various departments are positive, the application is handed to the relevant town planner of the Council to evaluate the application for a decision.
  9. The application takes several months for approval should no objections be lodged against the application.
  10. Should objections be received, the Council will arrange for a town planning hearing.
  11. As soon as the application is approved, the owner of the property should comply with the post-approval conditions as set out in the approval letter, if any. A town planner can also assist the client in this regard.
  12. When the post-approval conditions have been complied with, the new/additional land-use rights comes into operation, where after building plans can be submitted for approval.

 

Town planning consultant fees

 

Town planning consultant fees differ from one town planning firm to the next.

The consultancy fees depend on the type of application to be prepared, as well as the difficulty level and complexity of the subject application to be motivated and lodged to the Council.

 

Where to get a zoning certificate?

 

A zoning certificate can be obtained from the Municipality that governs the area in which the subject property is located. A town planner can also assist in this regard.

 

Where to find the zoning of a property?

 

The zoning of a property can be seen in the zoning certificate of the subject property.

A town planner can be appointed to provide clarity on the zoning certificate and the applicable development controls.

 

Where to find zoning laws?

 

Zoning laws can be obtained from the Municipality that governs the area in which the subject property is located. A town planner can also assist in this regard.

 

Where to get zoning information?

 

Zoning information of a property can be seen in the zoning certificate of the subject property.

A town planner can be appointed to provide clarity on the zoning certificate and the applicable development controls.

 

Where to check zoning?

 

Zoning information of a property can be seen in the zoning certificate of the subject property.

A town planner can be appointed to provide clarity on the zoning certificate and the applicable development controls.

 

Where to get a zoning certificate in Tshwane/Pretoria?

 

A zoning certificate can be obtained from the Municipality. A town planner can also assist in this regard.

 

Where to find zoning maps?

 

Zoning maps can be obtained from the Municipality that governs the area in which the subject property is located. A town planner can also assist in this regard.

 

Where to find zoning restrictions?

 

Zoning restrictions of a property can be seen in the zoning certificate of the subject property.

A town planner can be appointed to provide clarity on the zoning certificate and the applicable development controls.

 

What zoning is my house?

 

Zoning information of a house can be seen in the zoning certificate of the subject property. A town planner can be appointed to provide clarity on the zoning certificate and the applicable development controls.

 

What zoning is my property?

 

Zoning information of a property can be seen in the zoning certificate of the subject property. A town planner can be appointed to provide clarity on the zoning certificate and the applicable development controls.

 

What does zoning mean?

 

Zoning is the process of separating properties in a municipality into certain zones where particular land uses are permitted or prohibited. The zoning may also regulate property sizes, bulk, and placement of buildings.

 

What zoning is my land?

 

Zoning information on land can be seen in the zoning certificate of the subject property. A town planner can be appointed to provide clarity on the zoning certificate and the applicable development controls.

 

What zoning is necessary for a home business?

 

Zoning for a home business or home enterprise can be obtained by means of submitting an application to the relevant Municipality that governs the area in which the subject property is located.

The specific zoning of such a land-use differs from one Municipality to another, but it is important to appoint a town planner to submit a correct application that is also in line with the prescribed laws of the Municipality.

 

How to get a certain zoning?

 

In order to obtain a certain zoning for certain proposed land use can be obtained by means of submitting an application to the relevant Municipality that governs the area in which the subject property is located.

The specific zoning of such a land-use differs from one Municipality to another, but it is important to appoint a town planner to submit a correct application that is also in line with the prescribed laws of the Municipality.

 

How to find a zoning certificate for a property?

 

A zoning certificate can be obtained from the Municipality that governs the area in which the subject property is located. A town planner can also assist in this regard.

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