UPQ Fact Sheet – Subdivision in South East Queensland

UPQ Fact Sheet – Subdivision in South East Queensland

Below we have provided tables for major South East Queensland Council’s minimum lot sizes. Please speak with us prior to purchasing property or if your proposal does not meet the below requirements.


Brisbane City Plan 2014

Zone Precinct Front (m2) Rear (m2)
Low Density Residential Not walking distance to centre 400 600
Walking distance to centre 300
Character Residential CR1 450 600
CR2 300 450
Low Medium Density Residential LMR 260 350
LMR2 260
LMR3 180
Rural Residential 10,000



Logan Planning Scheme 2015

Zone Precinct Minimum (m2)
Low Density Residential Small Lot 350 (average)
Suburban 350
Village 500
Large Suburban 1000
Acreage 4000
Small Acreage 2000
Large Lot Residential (Loganholme) 1000
Suburban Residential (Loganholme) 350
Low Medium Density Residential Townhouse 600
Apartment 800
Residential Choice (Loganholme) 600
Residential Frame (Loganholme) 800
Residential Core (Loganholme) 1200
Residential Edge (Loganlea) 600
Residential Frame (Loganlea) 800
Residential Core (Loganlea) 1200
Medium Density Residential All Precincts 1200
Rural Residential Park Residential 4000
Park Living 100 hectares
Cottage Rural 20 hectares in Urban Footprint
100 hectares outside Urban Footprint


Gold Coast

Gold Coast City Plan 2015

Zone Precinct Minimum (m2)
Tourist and Residential 1000
Residential Choice 400
Detached Dwelling 600
Village 600
Park Living Where not a single subdivision 4000
Rural In most instances 20 Hectares


Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014

Zone Minimum (m2)

Slope  ≤15%

Minimum (m2)

Slope ≤20%

Low Density Residential 600 1000
Medium Density Residential 800 1000
High Density Residential 800 1000
Rural Residential – Growth Management Boundary 6000 6000


How do I know if I need to submit an application?

If you are familiar with using your local Council’s planning scheme you can use the ‘level of assessment table’ within that document to determine whether you require an application for your proposed development.

This will involve checking for any triggers against the Zoning, Local Area or Neighbourhood Plan and Overlays.

If you are not familiar with using local legislation, you can call your local Council for FREE. In some instances, they may insist you to speak to a private planner (that is where we come in).

There are four types of assessment which your project may trigger:

  1. Exempt Development

Your development will not need a development approval. Exempt development is often inclusive of small building work such as demolition and rectification of staircases.

  1. Self-Assessable Development

Your development will need to comply with a set of criteria to be self-assessable. Self-assessable developments do not require a formal application to Council. You may however want to obtain written advice from your town planner.

  1. Code Assessable Development

You will need to lodge documentation with your local Council for a full assessment against any relevant sections of the planning scheme to have your development approved.

  1. Impact Assessable Development

You will need to lodge documentation for a full assessment against the planning scheme to obtain approval. You will also need to publicly notify your development through a 15 business day notification period including signage on the property, a newspaper advert and letters to your immediate neighbours.

Urban Planners Queensland will happily assist you determine the level of assessment for your project.

To assist us to better service you, please:

  • Provide the exact property address
  • Let us know what you want to achieve in words or a sketch

Let us know about any previous advice you have received

How to find development opportunities

People often ask me, where is the new area for development? These are areas where prices are relatively affordable but earmarked by government for increased development.

There are a number of ways that planners can identify new areas and opportunities:

  • Neighbourhood Plans
  • New Planning Schemes
  • Council Incentives
  • Regional Plans
  • Priority Development Areas
  1. Neighbourhood Plans

Watch out for new or changing neighbourhood plans. These are localised plans which will override the current zoning of properties. Generally neighbourhood plans encourage increased densities and allow higher building limits.

Review your local Council’s website for neighbourhood plans in their draft form before they are formally released.

  1. New Planning Schemes

Look for changes to your Council’s Planning Scheme. These normally occur every 7-15 years with political party transitions.  Planning schemes set the zoning requirements for height, setbacks and other development parameters.

It is important that property owners are aware of new planning schemes as they may find new zoning legislation allows for relaxed building heights and/or encourages greater density.

New planning schemes are advertised by your local Council for 6-12 months before their release.

Note: The State Government allows development under a superseded planning scheme to occur for 2 years after the introduction of a new scheme. You will need to apply for consideration against the superseded planning scheme to your local Council and these are granted where there would be a significant reduction of development value under the new scheme. 

  1. Council Incentives 

Council’s often provide monetary incentives for particular developments that are considered community need. For example Brisbane City Council just announced 33% cuts to infrastructure charges for aged care projects. Previously the Council offered a 2 year reduction on hotel developments prior to the G20 summit.

You can read more about BCC incentives >>HERE<<

  1. Regional Plans

The State governement in conjunction with local governments introduced the South East Queensland Regional Plan in 2009 as a 30 year plan for population and economic growth. Due to changing priorities and new population forecasts the south east Queensland regional plan draft has just been released.

The new draft regional plan identifies precincts where growth should be concentrated. For example Kawana and the Maroochydore CBD on the Sunshine Coast and on the Gold Coast these primary development areas include Southport, Robina and Varsity Lakes.

It is a great opportunity for agents to review the draft plan as it sets and promotes growth for the next 25 years.

You can see the Draft Regional Plan  >>HERE<<

Note: Skip the first 29 pages if you don’t have much time

  1. Priority Development Areas

The state on occasion can overrule the local government and introduce ‘priority development areas’. e.g. Caloundra South, Fitzgibbon. These areas are parcels of land within Queensland, identified for specific accelerated development with a focus on economic growth.

You can find the list of State Priority Development Areas >>HERE<<

It pays dividends to be up to date on planning legislation. It allows you to stay current and know where future development will occur. So often our developer clients have managed to obtain prime land in a timely fashion as they had been flagged to the potential given to an area.

Can you guarantee development approval

The most common question asked by my clients is “what are my chances of development approval?”. The answer is more complicated than ‘you are guaranteed approval’ or ‘never going to happen’ due to the nature of Council’s assessment processes.

As a private planner we can only guarantee approvals where you are fully compliant with the local legislation. Those who are not 100% compliant run the risk of having to negotiate with Council, or worst case, have their application refused.

Planners can provide you with the best solutions and advice available but all private consultants and their clients are at the mercy of Council’s decision makers. These decision makers are people. Whilst we would like to think of Government agencies as machines, those within them will work at different speeds, will have different interests and will take on political instruction at different levels.

When discussing chances of development approval it is also important to remember the general rule of any investment –

Anyone considering to do any type of development application needs to weigh up the risk v reward. Can you spend 10k in the hope of making 100k or is the risk of losing that 10k with no outcome too much? Can you risk 15k in the hopes of achieving your non-compliant dream house? Do you have another option?

As a private planner, we can lower risk but we cannot remove it entirely.

Tips to reduce risk and application stress

  • Find a planner you can trust. Their advice will reduce your risk.
  • Have a backup plan. Be ready to negotiate.
  • Determine how much money you could stand to part with should the approval not be granted.