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Can I subdivide my land?

We often get asked the question “Can I subdivide?”- this is often a pretty complex question! Here we will try to break this down into more fundamental pieces, to help you understand what investigations go into answering this question.

Site Zoning and District Plan rules

The first step is to check your sites zoning in the District Plan. You can then use this information to find out the subdivision rules related to your property. This will tell you fundamental information such as:

  • How big the sites need to be,

  • The size and shape of the building area you need to provide,

  • The type of access you need to provide,

  • If you need to protect any natural features, vest reserve areas or roads.

These are the more fundamental issues. For example, if you don’t have enough land, or you can’t access it, it may not be worthwhile pursuing a subdivision application. This is where advice from an experienced planner is important, so you can best understand the rules related to your development and the associated risks.

You also need to consider issues such as servicing- does your development have access to reticulated water, wastewater or stormwater services? Are power and telephone services available?


Once the more fundamental investigations are completed, you also need to consider other engineering questions. Is there a suitable building area available? Is this flood free and stable? How can you access it? This may require a geotechnical report, flooding report or similar. You can often get a “good guess” if engineering issues are going to be a problem from visiting the property, reviewing GIS information and from other desk top analysis.

Site investigations

We always recommend doing site investigations, including reviewing the certificate of title. As set out in our recent blog, there can be relevant information in the sites history that you need to be aware of when planning a development. This could include for example, a past use that has contaminated that land that neds to be rectified as part of the subdivisional works.

Other investigations

As part of developing your application, you may also need assistance from other specialists such as an ecologist. This is more site specific and depends on the location of your site and the features in the local environment.

Want to know more?

We have a number of blogs on our website that you may find useful, including those on application and Council costs and the resource consent process.

We work hard to give honest and reliable advice to our clients. If you would like to speak to one of our experienced team members about your property, please give us a call on 09 427 9966 or We have extensive experience in all aspects of the resource consent work, and have a wide network of industry contacts; let us take the stress out of the process for you.

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.

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