Declassification of an agricultural zone

Hello everyone,

I have been researching a bit on this topic but since it’s not my area of expertise, I’m not really sure of my findings.
One of my relatives own a few agricultural lands in Valais and was wondering what would be the possibilities to convert them one day in building zones.

Do you please have any experience to share regarding this matter ?
Thanks a lot in advance for your help !


The flat answer given the current context is close to none on the somewhat medium term. The communes have to take land out of the building zones and make something else out of it. Reserved zones are the main answer, meaning there’ll be a lot of land that is freezed for 15 years but could become buildable again if the population grows during that time. That land will have priority if new buildable land is required so other parcels have little chance to be selected for that.

The long answer is it depends: land close to buildable areas may become buildable in the future and special projects may warrant re-zoning the land into a buildable zone, be it for public use (energy production project, sports or healthcare area or other) or private use (more likely industrial or artisanal zones, less likely housing areas).

Their chances go up if they have a project on these lands that they can demonstrate serves public interests and will generate funds for the commune. They will then have to convince the authorities to add it into their new zoning plan.

The one thing to be very wary of and put proper maintenance behind is to cut new wild trees that may be growing on this land. After some time, it may become classified as forest and become all but unusable for anything related to construction (except wood producing, with some heavy limitations).

Feel free to send me a PM with the name of the commune and the parcels numbers (which you can find using the RDPPF/ÖREB cadaster: for a more tailored assessment.

Edit: The good news is that the cantonal authorities are pretty open to turning existing agricultural buildings into housing so such a project would have high chances to be accepted. The land would remain agricultural, and be valued as such, though.

Also, nobody knows what will happen on the longer term. Agricultural land could gain value or public policies may change to turn more land into buildable areas so things could evolve past, say, a 20 years horizon.


I can only concur what @Wolverine is saying, and would even go for impossible. You must have a really strong public interest (wastewater treatment infrastructure, water reservoirs etc.) and no possibility to build it somewhere else that it will be even considered (forest is even worse). For such projects, equalisation land has than to be provided (basically turning building zone in non building zone) with ecological added value etc.


If there are already buildings on this land, you might be able - under a lot of restrictions - to do something useful with them.

Thank you very much for your explanations ! It was really interesting to read and way clearer than what I found !

I know that those lands are close to a soon-to-be ecological industrial complex so we will see…

Furthermore, I also looked if solar panels could be build but I guess not.

Worth asking the “Commission cantonale des constructions” (who’s the authority delivering permits outside of buildable zones), in my opinion: Constructions - SAJMTE -

I’d be interested to know their answer.

Will do; thanks for the contact information !
I thought about something like this so cultures/animals are less impacted:
Bild1 (1)

The lands receive sun all day long, and selling electricity at about 30 cents per kwh is really interesting.

30 cents by kwh sounds closer to the price it is sold to retail clients than to the price producers get. Are you sure of that number ?

If the land is being used by an actual farmer, the chances of your relative go up significantly if they agree with the project and support it.

Yup, my bad; it is about half.

I will wrote to the and update this thread. Thank you for your help !

Hm, where can the land classifications that exist in Switzerland with explications what can be done with them be found?
Also is this federal or different in the cantons?
(Happy to read French, German or English, thanks in advance!)

@Wolverine ?

Communal/Gemeinde level, with strong compatibilities but still meaningful differences within cantons as the Gemeinden usually use the same template and it’s checked and validated by the same cantonal authority.

The legally binding reference is your communal constructions and zoning regulations, which can usually be found on their website, either through a “construction” page or a “laws and regulations” one.

A more search friendly version with geographical representation can be found through the RDPPF/ÖREB register of your canton if it has one. It can be accessed through the geoportal of the Confederacy by zooming on a parcel clicking on it and using the links provided to either reach the cantonal website (URL extract) or a .pdf extract directly. I suggest browsing the cantonal website as it will display the different zones if you activate the “land management” layer.

The RDPPF/ÖREB website will allow to access and download the applicable public laws for the parcel, provided the relevant layers are activated. This includes the zoning and constructions regulations which should contain descriptions of what can and can’t be done inside of them (with good details for housing areas and potentially way less so for things like sports or public use areas).

Site from the Confederacy:
FR: Cadastre RDPPF Suisse |
DE: ÖREB-Kataster Schweiz |
IT: Catasto delle restrizioni di diritto pubblico della proprietà |

The other way to get it is to ask the communal administration directly (if you can’t find it on their website and there is no online RDPPF/ÖREB available).


Thank you so much!

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