While the recent government announcements regarding housing policy are still in the process of being developed sand understood, it does seem at this stage that there will be benefits in building new houses rather than buying old if you’re an investor. This could potentially be building on a new site or developing a site you already own.
Over the last few weeks we’ve talked about developing urban land, and either buying land to develop now or in the future. You can find these blogs here and here. This week we look more at developing a site you already own. What are some of the issues that make a difference in planning terms?
The most important things to check in planning terms is the zoning your site has in the District Plan. This essentially governs what you can and can’t do on your site, including the number of houses, type/ design of houses, what controls these need to meet, if you can have minor dwellings, and rules regarding subdivision. Even though you may be able to physically fit another dwelling on your site, if you’re not in the right zone you won’t get resource consent for this. You need to have a clear understanding of what your zone provides for; a planner will be able to assist with this.
You can find out more about zoning in Auckland here.
What do you want to do?
Its important to have a clear goal in mind; what do you want to achieve with your development? Some questions to ask yourself could include:
Do you plan to build a new house and subdivide, or rent it out?
Are you building a house for yourself or for investment?
Do you want a single level building, how many bedrooms?
Who is your target market? What are they looking for?
Do your market research at the start and make sure you’re what you’re planning will meet your end goals. With so many decisions to make, its easy to get side tracked and loose focus on your true end goals.
What can you afford to do?
Very importantly, what can you afford to do? When drafting your budget make sure you take into account not only the costs of professionals, consents, development contributions and physical works but when you can access funding. There are resource consent conditions that you need to meet, and this could include finalising the entire land use consent (e.g., building the entire building) before you can get subdivision consent. This can be a major issue for funding, so you need to know this at the start.
Location of existing development
Existing sites have usually been established at a different time when development goals were different. For example, development in the 1970’s often had large backyards but also decent front yards which can mean the dwellings aren’t optimally located for modern development. Think about what’s on the site that you want to keep, and if you need to/ can move it into a more optimal location.
Physical land characteristics
Site development is also constrained by physical land characteristics. For example:
Size and Shape: These limit the amount of development that you can physically fit on the site.
Area of native bush or large trees: These may be protected by the District Plan and need consideration in your development plans,
Watercourses: Works in and near watercourses are restricted not only by district and regional plans but also by higher order plans. You should talk to your planner about these,
Wetlands: Wetlands have a high level of protection. If you have a wetland on your site seek early advice from your planner, as these can have a significant impact on site development.
Contours: Contours can impact on the development location, form and the scale of earthworks required. Earthworks and retaining walls are often expensive.
Access: Access can be from the road directly, or from a right of way easement, access lot or similar. This can be problematic though if you’re looking to develop land that has a narrow access, as the more dwellings that are constructed the more traffic there is and the wider the formed driveway needs to be. Speak to your planner or engineer if you have concerns about your site.
There are a lot of other issues to consider also, including:
Record of Title restrictions. This could include land covenants that may restrict the number of dwellings you can build on the site.
Availability or capacity of services
Ability for on- site servicing (in particular on- site soakage).
Potential contamination from past land uses.
You can find out information about these in the blogs linked above, and in other blogs on our website.
Looking to redevelop your site?
If you’re looking to redevelop your site, give us a call. We’re resource consent specialists and will give you honest, reliable advice. You can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 09 427 9966.
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.