New residential zones announced by the Minister for Planning came into effect on 27 March 2017. These replace the previous residential zones that were introduced following major changes in 2014.

To find out which zone your property is in, refer to the Boroondara Planning Scheme.

Summary of reforms

Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ)

  • Increased mandatory height limit from 8m to 9m, and maximum of 2 storeys.
  • Removal of the mandatory limit of 2 dwellings on a lot.
  • Introduction of a new mandatory minimum garden area requirement (see below for more details).
  • Introduction of a new requirement for neighbourhood, heritage, environmental or landscape character objectives to inform a schedule to the zone.

General Residential Zone (GRZ)

  • New mandatory height limit of 11m, and maximum of 3 storeys.
  • New mandatory minimum garden area requirement (see below for more details).
  • The ability to set out neighbourhood character objectives to be achieved in specific areas.

Residential Growth Zone (RGZ)

  • New requirement for design objectives to be achieved in areas to be set out in a schedule to the zone.
  • The changes to the Residential Growth Zone have no implications for Boroondara, as the discretionary maximum building height of 13.5m is retained.

About the new garden area requirement

The new garden area in Neighbourhood and General Residential zones specifies the minimum percentage of land* that must be set aside for garden areas at ground level for all properties that are 400 square metres or more:

Lot size

Minimum percentage of a lot
set aside as garden area


25 per cent


30 per cent

Above 650m2

35 per cent

Impact of the changes on existing building heights

The previous discretionary 9m height limit in the GRZ4 and GRZ5 has been replaced with the mandatory 11m height limit of the new GRZ. The Neighbourhood Residential Zone 3 now has a 9m mandatory height limit (previously 8m).

The mandatory height limits set out in the GRZ1 (9m), GRZ2 (10.5m) and GRZ3 (10.5m) continue to apply.

The Minister for Planning has stated that councils with building height variations in zone schedules that are inconsistent with the reformed zones will have three years to comply with the new height limits. At this stage, Council is unclear how the Minister for Planning will ensure local mandatory height limits are aligned with the new 11m height limit.

Further information

The Minister for Planning’s fact sheets provide an overview of the key changes, available on the Departments of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

Or contact Strategic Planning: email Strategic Planning or 9278 4815.

Timeline of major changes


Council will undertake a review of the Neighbourhood Character Precinct Statements and residential zones in preparation for any future requests by the Minister for Planning to align local height building height limits with the default GRZ 11m height limit.


The Minister for Planning announced changes that fundamentally alter the operation of the zones and the types of developments that can occur in the Neighbourhood and General Residential zones. These came into effect on Monday, 27 March 2017.

As a result of the reformed residential zones, work on precinct-specific zoning review resolved in 2016 was stopped, given the uncertainty about important aspects of the new zones and the changed circumstances and intended development outcomes.


Council adopted a priority work program on 20 June 2016 to review the zoning of a number of precincts and areas throughout the municipality. View the Council report and priority work program.


Council adopted the Boroondara Housing Strategy on 14 December 2015.


In December, Council resolved to correct a number of zoning anomalies, mostly through Amendment C222 Part 1 and Amendment C222 Part 2. This followed our participation in the feedback process in July and August. .

The Minister for Planning introduced new residential zones through Amendment C199 (October) and Amendment C190 (June).

Council adopted the Neighbourhood Character Precinct Statements and the new residential zones and requested that the Minister introduce the new residential zones into the Boroondara Planning Scheme (September/October 2013).

The Minister for Planning at the time announced the new residential zones for all Victoria and provided councils with a 12-month period to implement the new zones into their planning schemes.

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