Since advertising their Proposed District Plan in the middle of last year, Waikato District Council are still working through the many submissions received. So, it is business as usual for subdivisions in the old part of Waikato.
With the major change for the old Franklin portion of the District, applications have slowed to a trickle in this area awaiting the new rules to be ratified. In this area it has been possible to use a transferrable title to gain a subdivision, but the new rules propose to drop this ability. Any development here at present is more likely to result from the protection of ecological features such as wetland and stream margins. So, if you have these features on your land you may qualify for subdivision.
If the new rules are ratified through the public submission process, Franklin owners will have the same opportunity as their peers situated within the original Waikato District area, but only if they have not subdivided in recent years. However, with such a significant change, I can’t see Council being open to this until at least the public submission process is over and any submissions against this rule are resolved.
The current General Subdivision Rule is proposed to continue and be extended over the entire new District. Under that rule, a lifestyle lot of about a hectare can be cut off many older titles exceeding 20 hectares in size.
However, don’t sit back if you currently comply with this and wish to have some flexibility with your land in the future – I fully expect that this rule will eventually only allow titles over 40 hectares in size to subdivide. And this may happen sooner than you think. At the last round of rule changes Waikato Regional Council were pushing for the minimum subdividable rural block to be set at 40 hectares and I fully expect them to push harder for it this time around.
Boundary adjustments between neighbours, and adjustments in size and location of multiple adjoining titles, can be applied for along with subdivisions that protect qualifying ecological features.
This Proposed District Plan, integrating the Franklin and Waikato sections, is long overdue and the outcome is still impossible to predict. My advice is that, if you have any interest in subdividing a title over 20 hectares in size in the Waikato Rural Zone, now is the time to move. The notified rules still allow this, but don’t be complacent – in time that will change and, before you know it, you may only be able to subdivide if you have over 40 hectares to start with.
Council is still to notify the initial submissions and call for further submissions, so you can still be involved in the process. Being involved is the only way to have any influence over something that will shape the future of your District.
If you are interested to find out what opportunities might potentially be lost or gained through this process, feel free to give me a call and discuss your situation without delay.
Brent Trail Managing Director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty. For further information call 0800 268632 or email firstname.lastname@example.org