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Subdivision in the Single House Zone - Can you do it too?

Updated: Feb 14

The Single House zone is a widespread residential zone in the Auckland region, and includes many of the “more established” residential areas and the areas where Auckland Council wants to maintain more spacious sites or a specific character. Examples include areas in Kingsland, Ponsonby, Greenhithe, Henderson and Whangaparaoa Peninsula and some newly establishing areas such as Huapai, Riverhead and Millwater. While this zone is not one identified for intensive development, there is still development potential on some sites, including subdivision.

Am I in the Single House zone?

First you need to know what zone you’re in. You can check the zoning of your property by looking at the Auckland Unitary Plan maps on the Councils website. While you’re looking at these maps, check any other restrictions on your site- these are listed in the “results” tab on the left hand side of your screen. Its important to look at these, as they can also affect development of your site. You can see this information in the example below.

We also suggest you download our free e-guide called “4 Easy Steps to Getting Resource Consent”; this guide includes the preliminary investigations we recommend you undertaking before you get too far down the track and start spending money. You can download this guide for free from the home page on our website,

This blog only relates to sites in the Single House Zone not affected by overlays; if your site is affected by a Precinct, Overlay, Control or Designation get in contact with us to discuss how this affects subdivision of your site. It may not, but this is part of the preliminary investigations you should do, to ensure you make an informed decision.

Types of subdivision

Subdivisions in this zone are typically of two types; creation of a vacant site or subdivision around existing (or consented) development.

1. Subdivision around consented development

This may be around a legally established second house on a property, around a cross lease boundary or development which has resource consent but isn’t built yet. In these cases you need to clearly demonstrate that the development is legally established or has a legal consent to be built. If someone in the past has converted a garage for example into a unit but not obtained the correct consents, then you can’t use these Unitary Plan rules. You may need to search Council consent records (building consent and resource consent) to prove that the development is legally established. We can undertake this work for you and it’s something we often do for clients as part of our due diligence pre-purchase services.

Some clients make a “bundled” application, which seeks resource consent to subdivide around an existing house and to create a vacant site, as part of one resource consent application. There is sometimes also potential for a “bundled application” consisting of a new (second) dwelling and subdivision around the buildings. This is often a good way of proceeding, as its saves time and money associated with the resource consent process, and gives the Council a clear understanding of your ultimate goals for the site. You do however need to consider a number of factors to make sure this is the best route for your development; we can talk through this with you.

2. Vacant site subdivision

This information relates to subdivision of a site that is less than 1ha in area; if you have a larger site please get in contact with us to discuss subdivision potential.

The primary factor in creating a vacant site, is site size. To meet Auckland Unitary Plan rules, the vacant site needs to have a net site area[1] of at least 600m2 and be able to contain a rectangle of 8m by 15m. This ensures that the site is of an appropriate size, and also that the shape will allow the construction of a house.Sites that are of an unusual shape, or long and thin can be very difficult to develop. In addition to site size and shape, you also need to demonstrate as part of the resource consent application that:

  • the site has a suitable building platform that isn’t affected by natural hazards, including flooding, instability, overland flowpaths etc,

  • the site can be serviced for water, wastewater, drinking water, power and telephone. Not only do you need to check that these services are present, but that there is capacity for your new site to connect to them.

  • the site has a suitable water supply for firefighting,

  • the site has suitable access from a legal road,

  • the site doesn’t contain any important natural features that require protection,

  • the site doesn’t contain any important cultural or heritage features. This could trigger the need for an Authority from Heritage New Zealand, so needs careful investigation,

  • the site does not require an esplanade reserve to be vested. There are specific rules relating to esplanade reserves and if your property has a watercourse running through it or along a boundary, or is near the coast, you will need to investigate this further.

This is not an exhaustive list but gives you an idea of the various things you need to consider and investigate in putting together a subdivision resource consent application.

Any new site that contains an existing building also needs to have legal access, and the boundaries positioned so that the Zone Standards (such as yard setbacks) are met and that any services for the existing house remain within the new legal boundaries.

A subdivision application typically requires input from multiple specialists, including planners, surveyors and engineers. We have a network of specialists who we can recommend for this work and manage their input on your behalf. We aim to make the process as stress free as possible for our clients.

What other information do I need?

In addition to requirements of the Auckland Unitary Plan, you also need to investigate related issues including your certificate of title and be aware of development costs and contributions up front (see our blogs on costs to assist, you can access these via our website, Your certificate of title may contain a consent notice or land covenant restrictions that limit subdivision.

Want to know more?

As with all our blogs this information is preliminary in nature only and correct at the time of writing. It is not intended to substitute for your own investigations or obtaining specific advice on your proposal from professionals.

We have extensive subdivision experience and undertake work for private clients and process resource consent applications on behalf of Auckland Council. We know the process from both sides, which enables us to provide thorough advice to our clients, reduce their risk and stress. If you want to discuss your project further, please don’t hesitate to call our experienced and friendly team.

[1] “Net Site area” is defined in the AUP as the total area of a site excluding: any area subject to a road widening designation; any part of an entrance strip; any legal right of way; and any access site.

Hannah Thomson is a 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 Ltd 2023

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