Minimum subdivision size in Victoria

In an earlier article, Subdividing land in Victoria: The 5 tests your property must pass, we described the “300 m2 per lot rule of thumb” that Town Planners generally like to use for subdivision.

What if you wanted to fit more dwellings on your block than the “300 m2 per lot rule of thumb” would allow?

Is it possible to break this rule of thumb?

What is the minimum size of land to subdivide in Victoria?

In 2010, we were approached by a client who wished to subdivide and develop their 930 m2 block, located in Melbourne’s South East, into three double storey luxury townhouses.

With the project clearly within the “300 m2 per lot rule of thumb”, we immediately approached Council with a high level Land Use Plan, confident that the three townhouse proposal would gain Council support.

Not only did the Council Town Planners like what we had proposed, they strongly suggested that we increase the development density to four dwellings on the site.

Why was the “300 m2 per lot rule of thumb” able to be broken?

The primary reason was that the site fell within the Local Council’s residential housing diversity policy that defined targeted areas for Council Town Planners to permit higher density developments.

The secondary reason was that the Land Use Plan was open ended enough that our Town Planner felt that they could significantly contribute to the direction of the development – and have their feedback incorporated.

As an aside: imagine for a moment that you’re the Town Planner involved. If someone came to you after spending thousands of dollars and months of work on a beautiful, finished set of compliant plans for three townhouses and now requires a Planning Permit ASAP, would you have the heart to suggest to them that they could, in fact, repeat the entire process and fit four townhouses? Or would you simply grant their desire, approve the three and move on?

By using Land Use Plans, we were able to pass on the good news to the client at the start of the process before they had spent any money on a full set of Town Planning plans.

Conclusion

Generally speaking, Town Planners like to use the “300 m2 per lot rule of thumb” to determine the minimum size of land to subdivide in Victoria.

However depending on State & Local planning policy, a site’s acceptable development density can fall over or under this rule.

To find out, approach Council Town Planners as early as possible with your proposal.

Come well researched with high level Town Planning compliant plans but don’t wait until your plans are perfect and final.

Go in with an open mind and be prepared to collaborate with council on an outcome that is mutually beneficial.

You never know – you just might be surprised.