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If you have ever considered subdividing a small block off your farm then now is the time to move, especially for those in the Waikato District. The proposed new rules are expected out within months.
It seems only yesterday that the last rule change was notified and now we have another potential clamp-down upon us. It is predictable that the rules will inevitably make rural subdivision harder – they always do.
This latest change is needed to integrate the old Waikato area with the Franklin area that was annexed when the Super City was established in 2010. I feel that the new rules could well take the toughest from both plans and effectively allow no rural subdivision unless you are protecting an environmental feature.
Those who watch this space might recall that the last rule change notified in 2011 suggested that only a block more than 40 hectares in size would qualify to have a lifestyle block subdivided from it. That went all the way to the wire before being knocked back at the eleventh hour. However, I believe that Waikato Regional Council will again throw all its weight behind this option.
Many councils in the region have altered their rules in recent years to prevent the subdivision of productive land. That is to be expected, however the rules are often too broad in application and prevent sensible subdivision of small unproductive, easily-accessed blocks as well. There is a demand for lifestyle blocks from those who genuinely want a rural lifestyle as opposed to living in a 'lawnmower paradise' rural residential enclave.
Rather than encouraging them to establish closer to the city, where the productivity is already compromised and access to services is available, these blocks are being forced to locate further into the hinterland.
As you so often hear these days, the only thing certain is that there will be change. It's anybody's guess what that change will be but I would put money on the fact that, come next year, we will be dealing with a district plan that discourages any rural subdivision at all.
Use current rules
So my advice to those who need to subdivide for some reason is to utilise the current rules in your particular area and don't hold out hope that things are going to get easier. They won't.
The new rules will come around fast but you will have an opportunity to make submissions to them. It is a complex process, but worth being involved in if you stand to be disadvantaged under the new rules. However, taking action now is by far the best approach and the only guarantee to hold on to your current rights.
If you are interested to find out what opportunities for your land might potentially be lost, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org