Seek Advice on Subdivision Rules (June 2010)

Seek advice on subdivision rules – they are changing

Whether you’ve just purchased a property in the region or you’re developing your existing farm, you need to be aware of the changes in the wind.

Many local authorities are proposing changes to rules that affect subdivision and land use.  This will have consequences for those who had plans to diversify or expand where subdivision was to play a part.

Hauraki District Council currently plans to announce their new District Plan within the next month or so.  We’ve had a preview of their proposals which include a minimum rural lot size of 40 hectares on the Plains, meaning you will need well over 80 hectares to start with.  This is a huge shift from current rule, which allows 6 hectare blocks and smaller lifestyle lots to be subdivided in many cases.

Council is seeking to keep the larger blocks of land together, in favour of allowing more lifestyle blocks in other areas, so you might be surprised what opportunities open up elsewhere in the foothills.

The new Hauraki District Plan follows right on the heels of Western Bay of Plenty District where they have established a minimum of 40 hectares unless the land is deemed to be productive horticultural land.  On this more versatile land the new rules now require 8 hectare lots.  There is a chance of a smaller minimum size once the current appeals to the Environment Court are settled.

Joining the medley of Councils currently altering their subdivision rules are Waipa District and Waikato District, leaving Thames Coromandel District as one Council where we see no change on the horizon.  TCDC have a subdivision rule that stipulates a minimum average size of 20 hectares for rural blocks, giving the opportunity to cut off a lifestyle block if you start with a block over 40 hectares in size. 

In almost all rural areas we are now seeing a subdivision bonus given to landowners who choose to protect ecological and other significant features of value to the wider community.  These include bush, wetland, stream margins and cultural sites.

With such changes on the drawing board you shouldn’t be relying on out of date advice.  What your neighbour did in the past or the Real Estate agent thinks might be possible may not find favour with Council any more.  We are finding that, with existing rules and proposed rules on the table, people are struggling to find out what they can do with their land – even after a visit your local Council office.

Therefore before you go any further with your development plans we recommend you seek specific subdivision advice for your project from a professional surveying company which is up to speed with all these proposed changes.

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


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