WBOP Opportunities (February 2011)

Subdivision opportunities in rural Western Bay

With the recession holding on tight and many still facing tough times I am often asked “what opportunities still exist in the Western Bay to create new farming or lifestyle properties”.  Well, when the dust settles on the major rule changes proposed, the options will end up very different than they were two years ago.

The rules are still going through Environment Court Hearings before being finalised, hopefully this year.  Although still being debated, nothing is more certain than the fact that we will not be returning to the flexible rules that allowed many to subdivide simply because they hadn’t done it in recent times.

Large blocks of rural land will have to be kept together for future farming generations and lifestyle blocks in the rural zones will only be allowed where the subdivider can protect ecological features in return for the privilege.  Horticultural blocks will likely still need to be over 4 or 5 hectares and some of the bigger horticultural blocks will still be able to subdivide a lifestyle block for sale.

The main opportunities for lifestyle blocks will come where the property has ecological features such as wetland areas that can be retired from the farm – as small as half a hectare will do.  Likewise, the protection of a 20 metre strip of planted land adjoining a waterway can be traded off to justify a subdivision, as can larger areas of forest or regenerating scrub.

Council’s proposal to allow credits from existing titles and previously qualifying subdividable lots to be transferred to the lifestyle zones is far from being finalised yet.  The success of this hinges on structure plans being adopted for these zones, the main one being the Minden Lifestyle Zone.  Submissions will be heard during this year and it seems there is much to be resolved yet.  A major issue here is access from the state highway into the Minden area and it seems that Council will have to put up some money if this zone is going to fly.  Without this access there will be very few lots released over the next 10 years.

Following submissions made by ourselves and others, Council did relax the rules allowing a surplus house to be subdivided from the balance of the property.  This rule now allows you to generate some additional cash from an otherwise overcapitalised property without affecting the productivity of your block.  We are experienced in carrying out this type of subdivision throughout the Bay and Waikato so give me a call if you need to discuss the possibilities for your land.

For further advice on subdivision in the Western Bay and the wider Bay or Waikato you should immediately contact a professional surveying company very familiar with the evolving subdivision rules.

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


Trig points and topographical surveying
theodolite - traditional land surveying equipment
Surveying Services Subdivision Planning Team Vehicle
Mt Maunganui Land Surveying