Gold Coast City Plan – What is the Medium Density Residential Zone and what can I do?

The Medium Density Residential Zone is a common zoning within the Gold Coast and is often associated with medium intensity residential development. Properties located within the Medium Density Residential Zone are often advertised as development sites, which is a correct assumption to make in most cases.

Before beginning a basic overview of the Medium Density Residential Zone, it is worth noting that the Medium Density Residential Zone is often referred to as ‘Res B’. The Res B zoning no longer exists within the Gold Coast, with this land now known as Medium Density Residential. The use of the Res B zoning has not existed within the City for over 15 years, but some software (i.e RP Data) still uses it, which can cause confusion among residents / developers.

The purpose of the Medium Density Residential Zone is described within the Gold Coast City Plan as to provide for a range and mix of dwelling types including Dwelling Houses and Multiple Dwellings supported by Community uses and small-scale services and facilities that cater for local residents. What this essentially means is Medium Density Zoned properties are usually highlighted by higher intensity uses, for example Dual Occupancies and Multiple Dwellings due to there location within close proximity of key services and infrastructure. These services and infrastructure could include major employment hubs, educational facilities and major transport hubs (train stations etc).

A question Findasite often receives from a resident or potential purchaser is, what can I build in the Medium Density Residential Zone. As mentioned above the traditional residential land uses of Dual Occupancies, Multiple Dwellings and small lot Dwelling Houses are supported within the zone. The type of Multiple Dwelling is usually dictated by the height limit for a specific site, for example where a two storey height limit exists you will usually see townhouse style developments, while properties with a greater height limit (over 3 storeys) you may see apartment style dwellings.

An important component of the Medium Density Residential Zone which must be considered is the, no density triggers impact assessment under the Gold Coast City Plan. What this means is you can propose any residential density you desire, and it will require assessment against the highest level of assessment under the Gold Coast City Plan. This means that there is no legal mechanism within Planning legislation for the public to object via public notification. This can create a smoother path through Council. It is important to note that despite no level of density triggering impact assessment in most cases City of Gold Coast still require developments to provide high level design and general compliance with the City Plan (compliant site coverages, setbacks etc) before they will consider a higher level of density.

Residential uses are not the only land uses supported within the Medium Density Residential Zones, with opportunities for commercial development also available. Non-residential land uses that can possibly be established within the Medium Density Residential Zone include:

  • Health Care Service (if located on a dual frontage property or on a higher order road);
  • Child Care Centre (if located on a dual frontage property or on a higher order road);
  • Food and Drink Outlet (if part of a neighbourhood centre)
  • Shop (if a neighbourhood store under 150m2 i.e corner store);
  • Veterinary Service and a Service Station.

In Findasite’s experience, City of Gold Coast’s biggest concern when establishing a non residential land use within the Medium Density Residential Zone is, amenity of adjacent residents. These amenity concerns include acoustics (noise) and traffic. Should you be able to satisfy or mitigate potential adverse amenity impacts, City of Gold Coast is more likely to provide support for a non-residential land use. This is similar to the requirements within the Low Density Residential Zone.

In summary, opportunities for property development are abundant within the Medium Density Residential Zone, with the type of development best suited to a property varying throughout the City. Should you be potentially looking to purchase a property located within the Medium Density Residential Zone or already own a property and are interested in its development potential, please contact Findasite Town Planners and we would be happy to provide some preliminary advice.

About us

Findasite Town Planners was established in 2012 as a Town Planning Firm that offered affordable Town Planning solutions to every level of developer. The firm specialises in every aspect of Town Planning from start to finish.

Our Mission

Our mission at Findasite is to take out the stress involved in developments by taking the client from the start of the development process (sourcing the site) all the way to the end (Construction).


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