Combining commercial and residential developments

| 08/10/2017

Is it true that the zoning laws in George Town prohibit mixed use (residential above retail/commercial)? Seems like it would be a good fit to revive GT.

Auntie’s answer: The zoning laws do allow for mixed-use developments but, not surprisingly, under specific conditions. A Department of Planning official helped to clarify the guidelines set out in the Development and Planning Regulations (2017 Revision), with the relevant parts found in Regulation 13, “Commercial zones”.

For starters, 13(6) says “Uses other than commercial uses may be permitted in a Commercial zone if that can be done without changing the primary commercial use of that zone.”

The planning official pointed out that this regulation means the Central Planning Authority is given “broad authority to allow other uses within the commercial zone” as long as that doesn’t affect the ability of the zone to support commercial activity.

Regulations 13(8)(9) and (10) then set out the parameters for a residential development in a commercial zone.

He explained the reasoning for the stipulations regarding the addition of residences. “As the inclusion of a residential use has a high probability of rendering the surrounding area no longer suitable for future commercial applications, due to possible nuisance claims from noise, odors, etc, Regulations 13 (8) and (9) seek to limit the introduction of residential to upper floors, and to no more than 70 percent of gross floor area of a building in a general commercial zone.”

However, residential developments may be permitted on any or all floors in a specified commercial zone under certain circumstances and you can find these exemptions in Regulation 13(10)(a) and (b).

The law mentioned in this column can be found on the CNS Library


Category: Ask Auntie, Planning Questions

Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’d live in town above any of the establishments. I’ve always wondered why there are no opportunities for that.
    And yes, this would help in reviving downtown!