Can I split it?

It is fairly uncommon to find a simple splitter block these days but there are a few tricks to finding something others may overlook. It can be a matter of knowledge, timing or sometimes just plain luck!

There are a number of issues that can arise on a property that seem like obstacles to splitting them, however, with some creative solutions and expert advice you can come to the desired outcome and get started.

Below we have identified some common issues our clients face when looking to subdivide and how these can be addressed.

Potential issues: 

  • Protected Trees
  • Underground Infrastructure
  • Irregular Shaped Allotments
  • Telegraph Poles
  • Steep Topography
  • Existing Buildings

Protected Trees 
All street trees within the Council verge are protected. Property owners require permits to remove or prune this vegetation. Small to medium sized trees are (in our experience) always approved for removal where required, with applicants paying a small sum for trees to be replanted elsewhere.  Larger trees such as a Fig tree or Jacaranda may have a higher level of protection on your property or within the Council verge. Where possible, great effort should be taken to ensure the retention of these trees and in some instances, an arborist will be required to provide specialist advice.

Underground Infrastructure
It is quite normal for established allotments to have underground infrastructure running through the property. Sometimes this infrastructure is not neatly located along the boundary but can work its way directly across the allotment on a diagonal. It is important to identify all pipes and telecommunications infrastructure below ground prior to going ahead with any subdivision. In some instances pipes may be redundant, can be removed or capped and others may need to be relocated to enable future development to occur legally.

Irregular Shaped Allotments 
Sometimes you will find a large allotment which falls a couple of square metres short of the Council requirements for subdivision, the length of the block is shorter than the width or the boundaries are not on right angles. While many consider this a ‘red flag’ issue, it does not always result in a lost cause. Council’s often accept alternative solutions to their ‘requirements’ where they are factually and succinctly supported by an urban planning consultant. Items that can be used here include noting the retention of a character building, applying for a combined subdivision and new use development or reviewing similar approvals.

Telegraph Poles 
These utilities can on occasion sit in the perfect driveway spot or view point. Prior to submitting a development application for reconfiguration, it is strongly suggest advice be sought from your local utilities authority. Requests can take a number of weeks to process with advice being provided on whether the telegraph pole or poles can be removed and relocated. If approved, the cost for pole relocation is often estimated to cost around 15k.

Steep Topography
There are a number of ways your can work with steep topography when it comes to construction. A common problem that can arise during a subdivision application however, is legal discharge of water. It must be demonstrated in any subdivision application that stormwater can be directed to the kerb and channel of the street. If your site slopes away from the street, this can be an issue.  Sometimes a little fill on-site is required, or consent from a rear owner to discharge through their property. If the solution is not immediately clear, advice can be sought from a hydraulic engineer.

Existing Buildings 
It would be great if all previous land holders had built their houses to the side or front of their property to allow future subdivision, this however is rarely the case. If you have a site with a protected character or heritage building overlapping the proposed new boundaries, you may need to evoke one of the following solutions; utilise an easement document, apply for partial demolition, or create an irregular shaped allotment around the existing building.

I hope you found the above points an insight to some of the issues of subdividing land. Should you require further assistance identifying specific Council requirements for subdivision in your region please do not hesitate to contact UPQ on (07) 3535 0656 or admin@upqld.com.au

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