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What other things should I look for when considering development?

As we talked about in our blogs earlier this month, now is a good opportunity to look into the development potential of your property while you are at home with time to research, investigate and plan. Along with zoning, overlays and development options (which we covered in our previous blogs) other things which may need to be considered when looking into development on your site include the following:

  • Title Restrictions

  • Servicing

  • Site Conditions

  • Protected Trees

  • Streams and Overland Flow Paths

  • Groups which may be affected or interested in your development

Title restrictions: when considering development of your site, it is important to request the Certificate of Title for the property. This will identify if there are any restrictions on your title which limit development. This could include a building line restriction which prevents development occurring within a specific area, easements on your title will protect areas for things such as access or servicing such as stormwater or wastewater lines. Consent notices can be outlined on titles which can restrict activities on your sites, restrict the use of buildings or protect areas of land on your property.

Further information on Title Restrictions is provided within our earlier blog “What’s the big deal with a Certificate of Title”

Servicing: when undertaking development on your site, it will need to be appropriately serviced with stormwater,

wastewater, water, telecommunications and electricity. You can see what services are available in general by looking at the Council’s GIS. An engineer can investigate servicing in detail (including capacity within the Council system) and provide a design to ensure your site is effectively serviced. Some urban areas have been grouped into “stormwater management areas”, where there may be known flooding issues, or demands on a public stormwater network. These sites often need additional onsite measures to reduce the load on the public system such as an onsite stormwater tank. Development in these areas would also often trigger the need for a resource consent.

Many urban sites are able to connect up to existing public networks, however a rural site will typically need to provide private onsite systems; these need to be designed for your specific site.

Site conditions: site works will be required when developing land, to create level platforms for new buildings, areas of outdoor living space, driveways and for the installation of servicing (stormwater, water, electricity, telecommunications and wastewater). The amount of earthworks required will need to be considered, including how much earth will need to be cut from your site (removed off site or within your site), and how much fill (new earth brought to site or earth moved within your site). Earthworks can be expensive, so its important you think about this upfront.

Where sites are steep, they often require further input from an engineer to provide a Geotechnical Assessment of the site. This confirms that your site is suitable for development, and that the development of the site and proposed building load will not create a risk of erosion, slips, slumping to the site and neighbouring properties.

Protected trees and habitats: although many general tree protection rules were disestablished through changes in legislation, there are still requirements on many sites to provide protection of existing vegetation. The Auckland Unitary Plan-Operative in Part (AUP-OP) for example has identified areas across Auckland which is classified as Significant Ecological Areas; within these areas there is greater protection of vegetation and a restriction on site works.

The AUP-OP also has scheduled notable trees across Auckland which are intended to be protected due to the contribution they make to the environment or for their heritage value. Along with notable trees those located within public reserves are protected and require resource consent for various types of alteration, along with landowner approval from the council. Other examples of greater tree protection include trees located close to streams; this is often referred to as riparian vegetation and it contributes to the ecological make up of a stream habitat, providing shade and protection of the stream banks.

Streams and overland flow paths: does your property contain any streams or overland flow paths? You can look at the Council’s GIS to locate these too (as a guide). The works you can do to and around these features is controlled by the AUP and resource consent can be needed. An engineer can further investigate overland flowpaths and floodplains, confirming these areas within your site and how development can be undertaken to prevent flooding of proposed buildings and to prevent an increase of flooding risk to neighbouring properties.

Groups which maybe interested in your development: when undertaking investigation to develop your property it is also important to consider any groups which may be interested in your development. This can include neighbouring properties, Iwi, Watercare Services and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

When designing new development on your property it is important to manage any potential effects on neighbouring properties. This could mean ensuring that any new building does not create significant shading, reduce privacy or amenity values on your neighbours site. If you design a development where the neighbours have been considered, you may not be required to provide written approval from those people as part of your resource consent application.

Other larger groups such as Iwi, Watercare or the NZTA may have an interest in your property or the development. Undertaking consultation early can ensure that any feedback is incorporated into your proposal and design and minimise any significant changes or potential showstoppers later in the project.

Need some help?

Please contact us if you need advice on things to consider when developing your property; this can help to ensure you have accurate, upfront planning advise to allow you to make the best development choices for your site. Together, our team has over 52 years of experience in land development and resource consents are our speciality. We can provide a detailed analysis of the development potential of your site, or if you’re keen for something more basic to start with you can use our free online 20 minute consultation with one of our super experienced planners, and we’ll provide you with obligation- free preliminary planning advice. Give us a call, you’ve got nothing to lose!

You can contact us on 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.

Helen Heard is a Senior Planner at Planning Plus™ and has over 12 years’ experience in planning and environmental consulting. Helen's experience includes the preparation of resource consents, compliance monitoring, environmental auditing, community consultation and environmental fund coordination. Her background has provided her with a wide range and thorough understanding of technical and environmental inputs.

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