Each property within the boundaries of the City of Cape Town has a zoning. This prescribes what land use is allowed and is subject to a set of regulations to control development on that property. These regulations are set out in the Development Management Scheme, which forms part of the Municipal Planning By-Law, 2015.

Within the zoning categories are land uses that are permitted ‘as of right’. In these cases, no additional approval is required from the City. Consent, occasional and special uses are permitted only with the City’s approval. Where approval is required, a landowner may apply to either change the zoning to one that will allow the use or development, or apply to change the development rules. 

Division 11 in the Municipal Planning By-Law, 2015 describes zoning categories, base zoning and development rules that apply to each zone, including primary and consent uses. 

Zoning categories

  • Single (SR1 and SR2) and General (GR1 – GR6) residential zoning designed to provide low-to-medium density in single residential and higher densities at general residential level with controlled opportunities for home employment and low-intensity development. 
  • Community (CO1 and CO2) zoning intended for social use directed at community needs, this includes educational, religious, welfare or health services. 
  • Local Business (LB1 and LB2) zoning, to create a sustainable business interface within residential areas.
  • General Business (GB1 – GB7) and Mixed Use zoning (MU1 – MU3) intended to promote economic development in business districts and development corridors. This zoning includes a wide range of land uses from community to business including a residential component. 
  • Industrial (RI) zoning, accommodates the manufacturing and related general industrial use which often include hazardous or noxious processes that must be carefully managed. 

Other zoning categories include Utility, Transport, National Port, Open Space, Agricultural, Rural and Limited use. 

The City of Cape Town’s Transport and Urban Development Authority by integrating various departments such as Development Management, Housing, Urban Integration, Environment and Transport has balanced the requirements that affect and influence the spatial growth, and in particular the development of strategy and investment plans, for transit-oriented investment corridors in Cape Town.

Through its city-wide spatial development framework Urban Integration, by aligning with the regulations contained in the Development Management Scheme, guides the spatial and physical transformation of Cape Town.   

A land use application is the first step in the formal planning and building process and all prerequisite land use approvals must be obtained, where necessary, before submitting a building plan.

As land use requirements differ from property to property, and application types vary it is important to consult with your local district planning office. They will assess how achievable your plans are as well as any specific factors that you should consider before preparing your application. Depending on the type of application other departments may be requested to attend the pre-application consultation, to provide input. 


Make Land Use and Building Plan Applications

Land Use and Building Plan applications can now be conveniently submitted, processed and tracked through the City of Cape Town's Development Application Management System. DAMS is fully integrated with the City's SAP enterprise environment and links the City's central property repository, Geographic Information System (GIS), as well as the City's financial system and document management system.