Surveying Services - The Degree of Difference

TCDC reviews subdivision rules

Published January 2013

Council is adopting a pro development stance as they formulate their new subdivision and development rules, but they may yet be challenged.

Thames-Coromandel District Council have recently released their Draft District Plan for public comment. Following a short period for feedback they will formally notify the Plan and a public consultation process will follow before any new rules are adopted.

The new District Plan is based on the 'Coromandel Blueprint' which sets out the areas for future growth. This dictates that growth will focus on the existing urban towns and villages and ribbon development along the coast will be limited. Council are actively trying to reduce red tape by allowing many more activities to be 'permitted' rather than 'controlled' meaning that less consents will be required overall. Their focus has been to make it easy and encourage economic development and growth - which I applaud.

From a rural subdivision point of view, the rules appear to be 'business as usual' with a minimum average lot size of 20ha being promoted. In my opinion this is a sensible rule that has allowed a variety of lot sizes and land uses to be established with a relatively low cost of application and compliance costs. However, it goes against the apparent push by Waikato Regional Council to see a minimum lot size of 40 ha established across their region.

Of particular note is the review of the rules for conservation allotments. In the past there has been a requirement to covenant 5ha of bush in order to obtain an additional rural lot. It is currently proposed that that there will be no minimum size, giving Council discretion to allow more or less lots per hectare depending on the ecological values of the covenanted area. The reason for this is that certain features - including coastal forest, ribbons of forest joining larger areas, and wetlands - have higher environmental value than some larger bush areas adjoining the forest park.

In my experience now is a good time to sort out any subdivision plans that you may have. When a new plan is formally notified it often creates new opportunities for titles that existed at that specific date. Also, even though a new rule is proposed by Council, anybody can challenge that rule. Therefore, the final outcome is very uncertain. In some cases the Environment Court makes a ruling that is quite different to what was proposed by either Council or the submitter. If you have any plans for subdivision in the future I am happy to discuss the opportunities, so don't hesitate to give me a call.

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.
For further information call 07 838 1571 or email

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