Land Survey

What is Zoning?

What does 'Zoning' mean?

Zoning refers to how the Government (national, provincial and municipal) plans the varying land uses in urban areas.


Why is Zoning necessary?


Zoning is a planning tool that defines, directs, regulates, and limits the development and use of land, for various types of activities or land use. Zoning is needed to ensure that land development is carried out in suitable locations.

Zoning is a type of 'physical planning' which deals with how best to utilize our natural resources and environment. Physical planning is also important because we need a plan to allocate services such as roads, electricity and sewers.


What are the types of activities or land-use included in zoning?

Zoning covers various land-use zones according to the existing lease classifications:

  • Residential - Areas where people live.
  • Commercial - Where businesses may be operated.
  • Industrial - Areas where factories may be operated.
  • Agricultural - Areas where food crops can be planted, forestry can be carried out and livestock can be farmed.
  • Special - Areas that the government acquires for public interest such as Hospitals, Correctional Centers, Airports etc... or where activities that do not fit in the above categories such as leasing an area to operate a church or to install telecommunication towers.


I've never heard of Zoning, has this been introduced recently in Vanuatu?

Yes. The Government of Vanuatu started drafting Zoning maps of the urban areas in 2006 as there has never been any proper planning for providing services and making space for the different land-use from the varying lease classes listed above. Zoning maps now exist for land use in all the main towns of the country in Port Vila, Luganville and Lenakel. Zoning maps are now being prepared for Lakatoro and Loltong.


What is an example of Zoning?

The lack of sufficient planning in the past has resulted in houses being built in fertile lands that could have been used for planting food crops. If zoning is not used effectively (E.g. Zoning out where to build houses and what areas to use for farming) we will run out of space to plant gardens and this may result in a shortage of food in the future. This example is very important because our population is increasing significantly.


Will Zoning be carried out in other areas of the country, or on custom land?

Zoning is applied to urban areas only. If a particular land is declared as public land, the Government will declare a new 'Physical Planning Area' and a zoning plan and map are prepared for this area.


I would like to develop a plot of land. How does zoning apply to my situation?

1. When you receive a Certificate of Negotiation, you must indicate your plans for this land to the:

  • Department of Lands.
  • Provincial Government of your island.
  • Municipal Council in your area.

2. There is a group of people who are in charge of reviewing the developments with the checklists and Zoning plan maps and the strategic plan of the Physical Planning Area where you land is situated. This group is called the Zoning Core Team, and its members include the Department of Lands, the Physical Planning Unit, Physical Planners and Municipal Planners.

3. The Zoning Core Team then makes a recommendation to the LMPC (Land Management Planning Committee) on your development.


Can I look at Zoning Maps?

Yes. You can look at the Zoning maps at the Department of Physical Planning, with the Provincial Planners and Municipal Planners.


Where can I find more information?

The Land Survey Section or the Physical Planning Unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs can help you out with more information concerning zoning.