Subdivision Costs Rise With Rule Change - Waipa and Matamata-Piako Next (June 2012)

Subdivision costs rise with rule changes - Waipa and Matamata-Piako next

As rural Councils push on with their plans to make rural lifestyle and small farming blocks much more difficult to establish, the end result will be a huge increase in costs.  Most Councils are making applications “discretionary” now when they do allow subdivision, but that means that Council can either approve or decline the application.  This will add a huge degree of risk for the landowner and push the application through a much more rigorous process, adding significant cost.

Waipa and Matamata-Piako are next in line to announce their proposed changes to the subdivision rules.  We were expecting Waipa to formally notify their changes earlier this year but that is obviously much delayed, whilst Matamata-Piako is due to publish a draft set of rules this year.

Both Councils have indicated that they will be increasing the minimum lot size substantially to 40ha or more and virtually doing away with any current lifestyle block provisions.  Contrary to Council planners’ opinions, this will not take away the desire or need for these smaller blocks – but it will sure make them a whole lot harder to subdivide.

Under these proposals any subdivision with lots below this magic 40ha size will likely become non-complying.  This doesn't mean that they are prohibited, but the process is much more complex, with significant additional specialist reporting required to back up the application.

How will these proposed changes affect your plans?  During the review process you can still carry out subdivision under the old rules so, if you have thought of subdividing, it is important to get on with it right now. 

Currently in Waipa you can subdivide down to an average of 25ha and also many can make application for a 'long association' subdivision if they have been associated with the title for over 14 years.  You can also rearrange larger lots into smaller lifestyle lots with a larger balance lot.

In Matamata-Piako you can currently subdivide down to 8ha lots on quality farmland, cut a lifestyle block off an older title on good land and also subdivide lifestyle lots on more marginal land – subject to certain criteria.

If current Council proposals gain traction most of this subdivision will not be allowed as of right and, due to the complex and uncertain process, will be unachievable for most.  If you are interested to find out how any of these rule changes may affect you, please feel free to give me a call. 

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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