Most people living in Auckland will have heard of the Auckland Unitary Plan. It represents a huge amount of work, bringing together 14 different plans from across the Auckland region. The aim of the plan is to manage resources in the region, including accommodating a huge amount of growth and mainly within the existing urban areas. But many people still don’t realise that this has implications for their property.
Upzoning: large swathes of Auckland have been “upzoned”. This means that the Unitary Plan zoning allows for more development, including more dwellings and minor dwellings on sites. In many cases these will be different to traditional residential development and includes terraced houses, mixed use developments and apartments. There are also relaxed controls on building form (such as reduced setbacks from boundaries, increased heights etc).
This means that while your property may have a single house on it at the moment, you may be able to build more, or demolish what’s there and redevelop the site. In some zones you may be able to do this without resource consent.
Value: sites that have development potential are valuable, both for developers and yourselves if you want to develop the land yourself. Some developers will buy adjoining sites, to increase their development options and allow a better “product”.
The value in “upzoned” sites is typically a land value, as existing houses are often not placed to enable efficient development of the overall site and may be older. There is also potential in some zones to subdivide off the existing dwelling and develop the balance land.
What should I look for?
The main factor to check is the zoning of your site, as this sets out fundamentally how much development and the type of development that you can attempt on your site. You will also need to check:
overlays, controls and designations. These place additional restrictions on how the site can be developed.
services; is there capacity to service your development?
access; Check the width of the access and if its shared with anyone else. The requirements change depending on the number of dwellings that will use it.
natural hazards; is your site affected by flooding, an overland flowpath or instability?
certificate of title; there may be development restrictions on your title that you need to check.
Take a look at our blog “How do you find information about your property” to learn how to find out some of the information above yourself.
Development design is critical, not only in terms of meeting Unitary Plan rules but in creating an attractive development that people want to live in. This not only creates a high amenity environment for the local community, but also increases the amount of money people will pay to live there now and in the future.
Costs: in addition to costs associated with physical development, don’t forget that there are also Council application fees, development contributions and service connection fees. We have some useful blogs on Council and general costs on our website.
What if I need a resource consent?
If you need a resource consent, we always suggest that you get professional help. The resource consent process can be time consuming, confusing and costly if you don’t know what you’re doing. For more basic applications, your architect may be able to assist. For more complicated resource consent applications, we recommend engaging a planner. Input from other specialists such as an Engineer is also likely to be required. A thorough and well-prepared resource consent application will save you stress, time and money in the long run. At Planning Plus we aim to take the stress out of the process for you, managing the entire resource consent process including input from other experts and liaising with the council on your behalf.
Want to know more?
If you want to know more about developing your property, why not get in contact and ask for a Development Potential Analysis? This is a desktop report we provide for your specific site and for your specific development, which you can then use to inform your decisions. We can’t stress enough the importance of doing your upfront homework well, to avoid bad surprises further down the track when you’ve already invested a lot of time, effort and money.
You can also download our free guide, “Resource Consent in 4 Easy Steps” to help you. This is a short guide that we have developed from our many years of experience in the resource consent field, just subscribe to our website and we will send you the link!
Hannah Thomson is Director of Planning Plus and has over 17 years of resource management experience working in both local government and the private sector. Hannah has a wide range of experience including commercial, rural, residential and coastal development and subdivision on small to large scales and appearances at both Council and Environment Court as an expert witness for mediation and hearings. Hannah has assisted Councils with policy development and has also assisted private individuals with submissions to Council.
Disclaimer As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s. Planning Plus is not liable for any errors or omissions.