Wanting to subdivide your rural property?
Do you have an area of bush or wetland on your rural property that you were hoping to use to subdivide your site? Maybe you wanted to use it to provide for your retirement, your children’s future or a nest egg?
At Planning Plus we have dealt with a number of rural subdivision applications over the years so have watched with interest the changes to the subdivision rules suggested in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (PAUP). When the PAUP was first notified in September 2013, it introduced rural subdivision rules that further restricted subdivision opportunities in the rural area. This included the proposal to remove some of the subdivision potential of rural sites under the existing operative planning documents.
These new restrictions involved limiting the maximum number of new sites that can be created through the protection of wetland or indigenous vegetation. Wetland and indigenous vegetation used to create additional sites in rural areas must also be first identified as ‘Significant Ecological Area’ under the PAUP. Another notable change introduced was that new sites created through subdivision within some rural zones could not be retained within the parent property. Such sites could only be created by being transferred to specified rural zones.
While these subdivision rules do not apply to rural subdivision applications that are processed at the moment, when Auckland Council releases its Decisions on Submissions to the PAUP the subdivision rules (as altered by Council’s decision) will have legal effect. This means these rules will begin to be applied to resource consent applications for rural subdivision.
The Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel has been established to hear submissions on the PAUP and then make recommendations on the plan to the Auckland Council about the changes the Panel thinks should be made to the PAUP. This includes the rural subdivision rules noted above.
Hearings related to rural subdivision have not yet commenced. However In February 2015 the Panel released an interim guidance text related to rural subdivision. Interestingly this guidance text indicated that subdivision in rural zones should be provided for to a greater extent than is currently shown in the PAUP. It also indicated subdivision may be discouraged or constrained, but should not be effectively prevented. This preliminary comment would indicate that in the Panel’s view the rural subdivision rules in the PAUP (as notified) are perhaps more stringent than they need to be.
This is a positive indication for owners of rural sites who were planning on subdividing in the future. However the final form of rural subdivision rules in the PAUP is not known. A planner can identify the nature, status and emphasis that should be place on certain rules at any particular time, based on the stage in the RMA process the rules are at. Dealing with this change when making a resource consent application for subdivision can be difficult to navigate.
Planning Plus deals with rural subdivision applications frequently and can readily assist you with applications of this kind on all scales. Feel free to contact us to arrange a no obligation discussion of the rural subdivision proposal you wish to pursue.
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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.