Hayes warns of property rights loss

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Tamahere ward councillor Wally Hayes fears a Waikato District Council move to tighten subdivision rules may rob landowners of traditional subdivision property rights if they don’t make submissions on the plan change before November 30.

Tamahere ward councillor Wally Hayes
The council is looking to tighten its rural and coastal subdivision rules with a variation to its district plan. (Click here for earlier story.)

The council has released consultation documents outlining its plans for managing future development in rural and coastal zones and suggesting new objectives and policies are needed, particularly in relation to subdivision and residential sprawl in these places.

In recent years 80 per cent of growth has occurred within rural areas, with just 20 per cent in towns and villages. This has caused resource management and sustainability issues and the council is anxious to reverse those figures and localise growth in existing settlements.

However, Mr Hayes is concerned that a lot of landowners with properties under 6 hectares in the rural zone would lose their right to subdivide, particularly if their land title was issued before December 6, 1997.

“I do think some of the changes are unnecessary and hope people make submissions,” he told the Waikato Times.

He said the parcels of land in question were insignificant in terms of the overall district, but could significantly impact on owners. “It’s a big change that affects a lot of people who could lose some of their land rights.”

The variation adds a new policy which says rural land should be retained in large holdings, and allotments created by subdivision be of sufficient size and shape to retain the character of the area and ensure they are large enough for rural land uses to predominate.

Under current rules, allotments of 4 hectares with a certificate of title before December 6, 1997 can be divided, with up to two lots being taken off.

But now the council is suggesting the minimum parent lot size should be 6ha, with just one lot able to be subdivided. The minimum allotment size of 1.6ha for the “child” allotment would provide an opportunity for lifestyle choice but still promote rural amenity and character.

Council chief executive Gavin Ion said the new constraints were designed to ensure the same land was not repeatedly subdivided, creating cumulative effects such as fragmentation and reduced opportunities for rural production.

Copies of “Variation 16 to the Proposed Waikato District Plan” are available on the council’s website, at district libraries in Tuakau, Meremere, Te Kauwhata, Huntly, Ngaruawahia and Raglan, and at the Waikato District Council office in Ngaruawahia.

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