Sunday, September 15, 2013

City of Cape Town, New Integrated Zoning Scheme

City of Cape Town

New Integrated Zoning Scheme

Effective 01 March 2013




When the City of Cape Town, the Metro structure, came about it was an amalgamation of all of the individual Municipalities in the area. Each of these municipalities had it’s own zoning scheme – rules and regulations which governed building development in their area. Milnerton had several schemes under its wing. Milnerton, Table View, Bloubergstrand, etc. So the City has since its incorporation been administering nearly 30 different schemes which has been a logistical nightmare.


They have therefore been working on creating an “ Integrated Zoning Scheme” the IZS, which puts in place a single set of rules for the entire city area, ( with some exceptions).


This new scheme came into effect 01 March 2013 and all new work proposed must now comply with these new rules.


The scheme itself is quite complex and deals with multiple land uses, overlay zones etc, but this summary will deal with the regulations for residential, and those parts which most affect the typical home owner. For full details of all of the requirements and the other land use categories ( Industrial / commercial / agricultural etc) you can check with the Land Use Management Section of the City.


The rules deal primarily with, use of land, maximum built area on a plot, heights and building lines.


Use of land.

There are 2 main types of residential land, single residential and general residential. Single residential ( SR1) allows for 1 residence on a plot, and general residential allows for multiple dwellings on a single plot, ie group housing in it’s many forms.


Single residential has as it’s primary use a dwelling house, but can also allow for instance, bed and breakfast use subject to some conditions.


There are a few additional uses called consent use which would require special consent including neighbours. These include a second dwelling, ( granny flat or 2 family dwelling) educational of worship use, guest house etc.


There is an SR2 zoning but this deals mostly with informal / low cost housing. Generally this is much less restrictive.


General residential has 6 subzones Gr1, GR2 etc. Basically it could allow for group housing or sectional title, flats or houses and there are less additional or conditional uses allowed.


Maximum built area.

There used to be a factor called coverage which generally said you shouldn’t build over more than 50% of the area of your plot, although this may have been more in higher density areas.

There is now no coverage factor in the new scheme, but the maximum built area is now given as a maximum bulk size, ie total m2’s. For plots of over 650 m2 this is 1500m2, obviously assumes at least double storey. For plots of less than 650 m2, there is no maximum factor but the building lines will control the maximum allowed.


Maximum height limits have now increased.

For plots of greater than 650 m2 this is now 9.0m high to eaves height and 11.0m to the top of the roof.

In plots of less than 650 m2 this is 8.0m & 10.0m respectively.


General residential max height varies with the sub zone as obviously this category can allow for big blocks of flats.


Building lines

Good news and bad news.


A building line is an imaginary line, inset from the boundaries over which you shouldn’t build.


Typically on a single residential plot these used to be 1.5m side and rear and 4.5 to the street

Building lines have all changed, and again are dependent on plot size.

The new scheme does not differentiate between side and rear boundaries, it refers to these as “ common boundaries” ie not street facing and common to an adjacent property.


Greater than 2000m2 has a building line of 6.0m to street and common boundaries.


Between 1000 – 2000m2 the building line to the street is 4.5m and to common boundaries is 3.0m.


Between 650 – 1000 m2, street setback is 3.5m and common boundaries 3.0m


Less than 650 gets a little complicated.


Street building lines are 3.5m, that’s easy.

Common boundary building lines :

The 1st 12m along the boundary has a zero building line ( can build to boundary)

60% of the remainder of the common boundary is also a zero building line.

The remaining 40 % has a 3.0m restriction.


For a plot of less than 200m2 the street building line comes down to 1.0m.


There are a few exceptions. Garages for instance can be built on a common boundary.

For plots of less than 650 they can be built to within and up to 1.5m from the street boundary. In both cases as long as the structure is not more than 3.5m high and not wider than 6.5m, a double garage façade.

If your plot is greater than 650m2 there is a 5.0m minimum setback from the street boundary.


Remember a street boundary is not the kerb, the boundary is set back from the kerb, and the space between is the street verge – not your property, belongs to the municipality.


Regarding building lines, it used to be the case that if you applied for a departure from the zoning reg’s and got neighbour consent you would be allowed to build over the building lines. Since the new scheme, and because there is now no coverage factor the City will apply the building line restrictions much more strictly. They will generally not approve building line departures unless there is absolutely no alternative, there is a genuine need, and a rock solid motivation. This is probably the major change in the application of these new rules.


I mentioned earlier there were some exceptions. Some areas, Parklands and parts of Sunningdale are good examples, were approved with development guidelines, and these are part of the conditions of approval of the subdivision of that land for individual use. Where there are conditions included that conflict with the zoning scheme such as building lines or coverage factors, probably maxiumum heights as well, these conditions of approval supercede the zoning scheme. So Parklands building lines for instance remain the same.


Last thing. Some of the older properties in the area, have building conditions, building lines, coverage, second dwelling restrictions entrenched in the title deed. This is a binding legal document and the City of Cape Town does not have the authority to over ride this. Where this applies, special consent from Provincial Administration may be required.


There’s a bunch of other stuff in the scheme, dealing with industrial / commercial / Agricultural etc land use, and a myriad of either allowed uses or allowed with consent uses, as well as overlay zones. But I am dealing here with what affects my work directly, and the common things that apply to the man in the street and his house!


Dave H Sept 2013


  1. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the interesting read! I hope you can point me in the right direction... GR2 zoning has a maximum roof height of 15m with the following common boundary building lines rule:

    "4,5 m or 0,6 H (0,0 m up to 15,0m height for 18,0m from street)"

    Does this mean that one can build 0.6 H away from the common boundary within 18m of the street and 4.5m away from the common boundary for the rest of the plot? If this is true, then this means that panhandle plots can only build in the center of the "pan" of the plot (assuming the driveway "handle" is >18m long).

    Is there any chance you could write a post with example sketches of what is and isn't allowed? It would be really useful! :)

    Kind regards,

    P.S - I'm using the info from this PDF doc:

  2. Hi, I would like to build a single storey extension over our current drive way to go along about 50% of the boundary wall. It will be a kitchen dining room

    My question is would I be allowed to build on the boundary line . The house is in lynfrae

    Many thanks