Subdividing in rural or unzoned areas

This page has information about applying for development consent to subdivide a property in a rural or unzoned area.

A development application is required to subdivide land.

To make a development application you must by law provide a statement describing the effect of the proposed subdivision.

Your statement should be detailed and address, but need not be limited to, matters raised in section 46 of the Planning Act.

These requirements are listed in the application guide on the Development Applications Online website

Read more below about how to apply for a development permit.

Part of the development assessment process is to consider whether your land is suitable for subdivision depending on its zoning. 

There are five types of rural land zones in the Northern Territory (NT) which can affect how you go about applying to subdivide: 

  • zone RR (Rural Residential)
  • zone RL (Rural Living)
  • zone R (Rural)
  • zone A (Agriculture)
  • zone H (Horticulture).

Read about the general process for development applications, including subdividing in urban areas, at the Development One Stop Shop

Before you apply

You must be able to meet the following requirements before you apply to subdivide a rural or unzoned area:

  • 1 hectare of land unconstrained by drainage, riverine and storm tide flooding for each proposed lot
  • 100m of bore/septic separation 
  • 50m septic/seepage line separation.

You must also prepare the following documents to submit with your development application:

  • a land suitability assessment
  • a stormwater management plan.

You can meet with a government planner for free advice before applying.

Land overlying the Berry Springs Dolostone Aquifer 

This land is currently subject to an Interim Development Control Order (IDCO).

Your plans for using, developing or subdividing land in Berry Springs or a surrounding locality may be affected. 

Read IDCO number 22 on the interim development control order page or contact Development Assessment Services for information.

Land suitability assessment

Before you apply to subdivide, you must have an assessment carried out on your land to make sure it is suitable.

Your land will be assessed based on the following categories:

  • drainage
  • on-site wastewater management
  • erosion risk
  • soil salinity
  • acid sulfate soils
  • storm tide flooding
  • riverine flooding.

Each of these categories is judged against the following suitability scale:

  • class S1 - no risk for negative impact
  • class S2 - small risk for negative impact
  • class S3 - moderate risk for negative impact
  • class S4 - very high risk for negative impact
  • class S5 - almost certain risk for negative impact.

If you live in the Top End - in the area north of Tennant Creek - your land suitability assessment can be reviewed without a soil salinity assessment. 

If you live in the Darwin region or outside coastal areas you may not require an acid sulfate soils assessment.

If your subdivision is a significant distance away from a tidal area and well above sea level you will not require a storm surge flooding assessment.

Get the NT Land Suitability Guidelines (566.5 kb) and Clause 11.4.1 Fact Sheet (141.2 kb).

Stormwater management plan

You must prepare a stormwater management plan. This makes sure your development is not at risk of stormwater flooding.

Your stormwater management plan must make reference to your local council subdivision guidelines and priority environmental management areas. Contact your local council for a copy of their guidelines.

How to apply

You must apply for a development permit from the Development Consent Authority to subdivide your land.

If your development application is approved

If your application is approved you will need to meet the conditions of your development permit.

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Last updated: 27 June 2017