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Waikato District Council has recently posted a draft of its proposed new district plan online. To us it brings no surprises but we strongly believe that, as always, following submissions from the public and regional council, the rules will most likely be completely different.
The complete rewrite was particularly needed to bring the ‘old Waikato’ together with the part of Franklin District annexed when the Super City was created. Although recently talking as if there would still need to be two sets of rules to cater for historic situations, council has now promoted one set of rules for rural subdivision.
The General Rule allows for a lifestyle lot of between 8000 square metres and 1.6 hectares to be cut off a title more than 20 hectares in size that was created prior to December 1997. However, don’t relax and do nothing if you currently comply with this – I fully expect that this will eventually refer to titles over 40 hectares in size.
This rule could provide ‘Franklin’ owners a path to subdivide small lifestyle lots from a larger title that hasn’t been subdivided recently. This method of subdivision has been available to their Waikato neighbours for many years.
As predicted, transferable titles are gone. So, if you are involved in a subdivision utilising these, you have limited time left. Equally if you have surplus titles, particularly under 40 hectares in size, you should consider selling these rights now for good money and amalgamating your farm into fewer titles. This could be a useful thing to do if your farm is remote, has no suitable house sites or you just don’t want to subdivide lifestyle blocks in the future.
Replacing the ‘transferable title’ rule is a new ‘rural hamlet’ rule which promotes the relocation of titles. For example, if your farm is in four titles you could apply to create three titles of up to 1.6 hectares as long as you create a balance title greater than 20 hectares.
Boundary relocations can be applied for as long as one resultant lot is over 8000 square metres and the other is over 20 hectares. This rule obviously needs some tweaking to allow simple boundary adjustments where the title sizes change little.
Going against the national trend to reserve large tracts of ecological features, Waikato is proposing to reduce the benefits currently available to farmers by reducing the number of lots available to a maximum of two, no matter how much bush or wetland you propose to protect.
The new rules will come around fast and you will have an opportunity to make submissions to them. However, taking action now is by far the best approach and the only guarantee to hold on to your current rights.
With transferable titles all but history now in Waikato, those with possibilities should move fast. If you have any interest in subdividing a title between 20ha and 40ha in size in the old Waikato Rural Zone, now is the time to do so. Likewise, if you have an ecological feature over 10ha to protect, it could be worth an extra lot if you apply soon.
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