Rural Zones explained
Rural land and planning zones
You may require a permit in the below zones for a farm dwelling or a change in agricultural enterprise (eg a feedlot) and it should not adversely affect the land or surrounding area.
Land in rural Victoria can be zoned as any of the following:
- Farming Zone (FZ)
- Green Wedge Zone (GRZ)
- Green Wedge A Zone (GRAZ)
- Rural Activity Zone (RAZ)
- Rural Conservation Zone (RCZ)
- Rural Living Zone (RLZ)
Some councils may request a Farm Plan to assist with permit applications in these zones.
The Rural Living Zone (RLZ)
RLZ provides for residential use in rural areas and is typically applied on the outskirts of settlements or township areas. The RLZ provides for agricultural activities however emphasis is given to the protection of residential amenity. Approval is not required to construct a single dwelling in the RLZ where a lot is greater than 8 hectares in size. As many RLZ lots are below this size a permit is often required for a dwelling in the RLZ.
Most agricultural uses in the RLZ require a planning permit. Uses that require approval include agriculture (other than animal keeping, apiculture, intensive animal husbandry and timber production) intensive animal husbandry is prohibited in the RLZ.
The Rural Conservation Zone (RCZ)
RCZ is the main zone for rural areas of environmental significance. Agriculture is allowed in the RCZ provided it is consistent with the environmental and landscape values of the area. Agriculture (other than animal keeping, apiculture, intensive animal husbandry and timber production) and a single dwelling require approval in the RCZ, whereas animal boarding and intensive animal husbandry are prohibited.
The Farming Zone (FZ)
FZ is the most commonly applied rural zone and is applied to agricultural areas. The purpose of the FZ is to ensure that non-agricultural uses, particularly dwellings, do not adversely affect the use of land for agriculture. The FZ is the most flexible zone in terms of agricultural uses and many agricultural uses do not require a permit. Uses which do not require approval include agriculture, cattle feedlot (must be 1,000 head or less), timber production, intensive animal husbandry requires approval. A permit is required in the FZ for a single dwelling on lots less than 40 hectares (unless varied by a local schedule). As many lots are smaller than 40 hectares, a permit is sometimes required for a dwelling in the FZ.
The Rural Activity Zone (RAZ)
RAZ provides flexibility for agriculture and other land uses to co-exist. Tourism, commercial and retail uses may be considered in the zone if they are compatible with the agricultural, environmental and landscape qualities of the area. Agricultural uses in the RAZ that require approval include broiler farm, cattle feedlot lots (if more than 1,000 head), intensive animal husbandry. A permit is also required for a single dwelling in the RAZ.
The Green Wedge Zone (GWZ)
GWZ has been applied to land on the fringe of metropolitan Melbourne outside the Urban Growth Boundary. The GWZ recognises and protects non-urban land for its agricultural, environmental, historic, landscape or recreational values, or mineral and stone resources. The zone provides opportunity for most agricultural uses and limits non-rural uses to those that either support agriculture or tourism. Uses which do not require approval in the GWZ include animal keeping (no more than five animals), crop raising (other than Rice growing and animal husbandry) and extensive animal husbandry.
Uses that require approval in the GWZ include agriculture (other than animal keeping, apiculture, crop raising and extensive animal husbandry), animal boarding, broiler farm, cattle feedlot, rice growing, timber production. A permit is required for a single dwelling in the GWZ.
The Green Wedge A Zone (GWAZ)
GWAZ differs slightly from GWZ as it does not provide for protection of agricultural considerations, instead it concentrates on protecting and conserving the biodiversity, natural resources, scenic landscapes and heritage values of the area. Only animal keeping (must be no more than 2 animals) and apiculture does not require approval, whereas other forms of agriculture, timber production. A permit is required for a single dwelling in the GWZ.
The zone requirements are standard to each planning scheme, whereas the schedules to the zone may differ.