Our past blogs have looked at the resource consent process, if you need a resource consent and the associated costs. But how do you find out basic information about your site? Where is it stored and how can you get hold of it? Let us help you find the information you need in this blog...
Certificate of Title
Every site has a Certificate of Title (often called a “CT”). The CT is a legal document that identifies the legal owners of a property along with the key facts in relation to the property, such as land area, the legal description and any restrictions on the property. The restrictions noted on the CT are often overlooked but contain very important information about your site. Examples include:
Land covenants: these can contain restrictions on how you can use and develop your site, including the size of buildings, materials and even the height of grass!
Easements: easements are a right agreed between a landowner and another party to use a property for a particular purpose. Easements often relate to things such as pipelines, electricity supply lines, or to establish rights of way. You need to know where these easements areas are, as what you can do on this land will be restricted.
Consents notices: a consent notice is a restriction placed on the title by the local Council. These can relate to many different issues such as building locations, geotechnical requirements, landscaping, restrictions on how you can use your land and servicing. These conditions are a result of a historical subdivision. The Council will enforce consent notices, so it’s important you know what your obligations are.
You can order a copy of your CT from Land Information New Zealand.
History of your site
Often it is important to know about the history of your site, including any past building or resource consents, past enforcement action undertaken or complaints made, areas of known contamination etc. You can obtain a copy of the information the Council holds on your site by paying for a File or Property Search.
Not only will this provide you with information about your property that you may know nothing about, it also allows you to check building and resource consent plans and check that everything on the property is legally established. You may see for example that a granny flat isn’t shown on the approved building consent plans; this likely means its not been established legally and this is an issue that you will need to address.
You will need to formally request this information from the Council and pay the associated fee. Often there is an online form you can fill out to do this.
Many Council’s now provide public access to their GIS records. This allows you to search a wide range of factors related to your site, including the location of floodplans, overland flow paths, service lines, the location of cultural and heritage sites and contours. This is really helpful for building a good understanding about your site, its characterises and any limitations to development.
Use this link to search the GIS webpage.
The site zoning is important as it controls what can and can’t occur on your site. This forms part of the District Plan, and is in a separate maps document. Most Councils now have this information available online via a GIS programme and you can get this information from typing in your address. You will also need to check other restrictions, such as overlays, designations, protected trees, heritage features etc are present on your site. Usually these would also be shown on the planning maps.
To find these maps, search “District Plan map” or similar on your Councils website.
Want more information?
If you’d like further information, check out our recent blog posts or give our awesome team a call on 09 427 9966. We know the process can be confusing, and enjoy making the process easy for our clients.
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.
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.