Embracing Environmental Stewardship for Subdivision rewards (May 2023)

Creating sustainable subdivisions is essential for preserving the environment and promoting responsible development. In Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Coromandel, landowners can leverage ‘environmental benefit lot’ rules to maximise their rural property's potential while supporting ecological conservation.

Environmental benefit lots offer a unique opportunity for landowners to create additional lifestyle blocks on their property by setting aside features such as native bush, stream margins and even small wetland areas.   These eco-friendly subdivisions foster a win-win situation for both landowners and the community, paving the way for sustainable development in an increasingly eco-conscious world.

Many councils across the central North Island of New Zealand, including Western Bay of Plenty, Matamata Piako, Whakatane, Rotorua Lakes, Waikato, Hauraki, Thames Coromandel, Waipa, South Waikato, Otorohanga, and Waitomo have specific rules and regulations that govern the subdivision process. Understanding the requirements is crucial for landowners seeking to create sustainable subdivisions. Engaging with a subdivision specialist company that is familiar with regional guidelines ensures compliance and streamlines the path to environmentally responsible development.

Your project manager will work with various experts, such as ecologists, land surveyors, subdivision planners and engineers to maximise the potential of your land while ensuring compliance with regional rules and regulations. Together, these professionals can identify and quantify ecologically significant areas on a property and explore options for land restoration. These can include planting native trees, fencing off stream margins, pest control, and restoring wetlands for water quality improvements.

To qualify for a subdivision the ecological feature must be well maintained and protected in perpetuity.  This is enforced by a covenant registered on the land title following the subdivision and often backed up with an ecological management plan which outlines specific measures to protect and enhance the environment, from fencing and pest control to revegetation and ongoing maintenance. These measures lay the foundation for long-term environmental stewardship.

Understanding the plethora of rules relating to subdivision can be a mission. It is important to partner with a specialist subdivision company that is experienced in these developments. Often farms can contain several ecological features which provide opportunities either separately or combined. Careful management and often staged developments are required to obtain the best development opportunity from your features.

Once the necessary consents are obtained from your District Council, landowners can bring their sustainable subdivision vision to life. The planning of the subdivision, registration of titles to your new sections with Land Information NZ, and ongoing support and guidance throughout the development process are all handled by a project manager from the specialist subdivision company.  All you need is the land and potential ecological features to leverage the opportunity and create a sustainable, profitable subdivision. If you think your property may have what it takes, we are happy to give you the time to discuss the full potential of your land so feel free to give us a call and discuss your situation.