Published December 2014
Often, when presenting submissions to Council at the time of District Plan changes, I am asked "why do people want to subdivide?" There is obviously no single answer to this question, however it could be summarised by saying that it provides them with options. In general, the more titles you have the more options you have. It doesn't always mean, as some believe, that the land is then physically fragmented. Until land is sold to non-neighbouring owners the subdivision is only 'lines on paper'.
Many rural land owners have several titles which could have been created in a number of ways. Over time many large titles were subdivided smaller to accommodate land uses that didn't require as much land. Boundaries have been adjusted between owners creating even more titles if the rules have allowed that at the time. Therefore, we have a mosaic of titles that are bought and sold and held together in various combinations over time.
In another twist, as a farmer wishes to retire and sell to family it is desirable to retain a block for his/her personal security. This could be one of the existing farm titles or, subject to the rules, a smaller block could be subdivided for this purpose. Alternatively a family member working on the property or in the process of buying into the farm could need a separate title in order to obtain mortgage finance to build a house.
Some district councils have allowed further subdivision of rural land into so called 'lifestyle blocks'. These blocks were justified by different councils in different ways, but basically they recognised a need for smaller rural properties to support intensive production or just country living. This led many into subdividing to increase the value of their land and, if not sold, these properties offered some security akin to 'money in the bank'. This type of subdivision is only now supported by some Councils on land of low productivity.
Some councils, such as Waikato, Auckland and Hauraki (only in the old Franklin parts that they have inherited) and Western Bay actively encourage the amalgamation of some of these old smaller titles and allow the rights to be sold to others wishing to subdivide.
So the business-minded continue to plan their estates to provide choices for them and their family's future. They take advantage of the current rules because they know that inevitably the rules will tighten and remove their opportunities. We are seeing a definite move from all councils to restrict further subdivision and it is clearly only going to get harder and cost more. Some, who border rural residential enclaves or cities, will get opportunities not shared by all - but most will be controlled.
So, if are interested to find out how the changing scene may affect you, feel free to give me a call and discuss your situation.
By Brent Trail – Managing Director
Brent Trail, Managing Director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty.
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