Time runs out for subdividing in Waikato District
Perhaps the delays caused by COVID-19 have given some Waikato farmers one last chance to subdivide their farm before the rules change, but you will have to act quickly since the subdivision process takes time.
Many of those owning a farm within the ‘Old Waikato’ District boundary have long enjoyed the ability to subdivide off a section or lifestyle block, however the opportunities have been pared back in recent times. On the face of it the advertised Proposed District Plan looked to keep this rule constant for many larger farms; however, there is real opposition by some.
The Waikato Regional Council have requested that Council lift the minimum size of the subdividing property from the current 20 hectares to 40 hectares. Regional Council have the finance and clout to push on with this idea, potentially even referring it to the Environment Court. I believe that they have the resources to win the day. This will instantly count many people out of an opportunity to subdivide.
In the past, it was possible to subdivide blocks even much smaller than the current twenty-hectare size. The Regional Council has, for some time, been pushing for an increased threshold. I believe that, once lifted, it will never go back down to current levels. So those with a block size between 20 and 40 hectares may never get the chance to cut off a separate title for family or sale once this rule change goes through. If your property size sits within this range and you have ever contemplated subdividing, you should act now without doubt.
So, it is now or never, in my opinion. If there was anything good to come out of the ‘lockdown’ for landowners in the Waikato, it was the delay that it caused in this planning process. It has given some people that one last chance to secure their subdivision rights before they are taken away.
Aside from this rural subdivision rule there are still some other limited ways to subdivide land. One opportunity is where you own more than one adjoining title. You can apply to relocate or change the shape and size of these sections so that they are more appropriate for lifestyle living, without affecting your farming operation. Another opportunity to gain subdivision entitlements is available by placing covenants on your native bush or wetlands to protect them indefinitely. This environmental protection idea is available in most other districts as well.
Don’t sit back if you believe that you may have an opportunity to restructure your titles or create an additional title for yourself, family or sale. Act now, before the changes come into play and prohibit it. Please feel free to give us a call and discuss your situation without delay.