Rural Subdivision: My Position

The spread of 10-acre (4ha) blocks across the Waimakariri landscape concerns a lot of people, including me.

One needs to remember, however, that the rural economy outside of dairying remains very difficult.  For many farmers, subdivision has become about the only way they can make something out of their land.  We also need to acknowledge that there has been, at least until recently, market demand for these “lifestyle” blocks.

A further defence is that some of these small blocks are actually very productive.

However, their spread has driven up the cost of neighbouring farmland and has swallowed up much of the District’s productive capacity.

Before 4ha became the minimum standard for rural lots in the District Plan, the Resource Management Act made it very difficult to resist subdivision anyway.  The subdivisions usually ended up being granted but with the applicants being put to the extra cost of seeking resource consents.  Before the RMA, subdivision also still happened, but with lawyers and consultants making money out of proving”economic use” of the proposed lots.

I belive that we can help limit the spread of 4ha blocks by making more provision for rural-residential developments where the average size of lots is 0.5 or 1 hectare.  Examples already exist in places like Fernside. Hopefully, this will soak up some of the demand.

Going back to past subdivision standards will be very difficult because once such a move is signalled, a huge amount of hurried subdivision is likely to result.


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2 Responses to “Rural Subdivision: My Position”

  1. Jeff kerr Says:

    Hi David, I can understand the problem of lifestyle blocks using resources more suited to farming.
    On the subject of section size, what is the deal with the minimum section in town being 600m2? This is pretty tiny for even a 3 bdrm house and simply lets developers of new sub-divisions become greedier for packing us all in like sardines. This is NOT chch afterall!

    • David Ayers Says:

      Hi Jeff – thanks for the messages (and good to see you on Saturday). I’m inclined to agree with you regarding urban section sizes, but the developer / real estate industry convinced the Council about 10 years ago that the market demand was for smaller sections.

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