Plan Ahead (June 2013)

Future planning essential – and time running out !

The subdivision rules of many District Plans in the region are currently under appeal following Council decisions to reduce subdivision and development in a major way.  In my view, this is only the start, regardless of government reviewing the Resource Management Act.  Land development is going to get much tougher.

It has never been more important to plan ahead and obtain additional titles to give you flexibility in managing and developing your property.  Led by Regional Council, your Council is likely to be setting a minimum lot area of 40 hectares.  We have seen this in many districts already and it is hard to fight.  Limiting subdivision to this size means that there will not be a variety of lot sizes available for more intensive uses which ultimately drive economic development.

Currently there are appeals lodged against Waikato, Hauraki, and Matamata-Piako.  I expect more to come as other Councils announce their decisions on proposed rule changes.

Unfortunately landowners are not always aware of these changes which can have a huge effect on their future.  It is no longer safe to ignore what's happening at Council.  They are indeed making changes that at the very least make development much more expensive – at worst impossible.

Proposed changes throughout the region generally take away the chance to subdivide off a small lot which may be required to retire on, settle family members, start a new venture or - dare I say it -  sell to allow somebody to share the rural lifestyle or work in the area.  That opportunity could be gone if current appeals are unsuccessful.  Even carving off 20 hectares to sell as a run off or 5ha for a horticultural block will be impossible in most areas.

I don't see this trend being reversed in the future without a landowner revolt.  So my advice to everyone is to consider your options and plan for the future now.  Otherwise if your circumstances change and you want a smaller farm or some flexibility with your titles you will be forced to sell up and move.

You should always make submissions on the rule changes whether you agree or disagree with proposals - don't believe that the rules will end up as Council initially advertise.  I have seen cases where the Environment Court makes a ruling quite different to either that originally proposed by Council or that proposed by a submitter. 

So, if you have been procrastinating over how to get the best value out of your land, now is the time to act, before it is too late.  If you are interested to find out how the changes may affect you, feel free to give me a call and discuss your situation. 

Brent Trail, Managing Director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Coromandel, Waikato, and Bay of Plenty.  For further information call 0800 268 632 or email


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