Whangarei District Rural Development Plan Changes

New Rules For Rural Development in Whangarei District

What a turnout! The number of people that joined us for our most recent business breakfast was a true testament to the passion of our local community and their interest in rural development. The guest speaker at the goodGround April Business Breakfast was Blair Masefield from Lands & Survey. Blair is General Manager and Principal Town Planner at Lands and Survey, Northland. He is an award winning planner with 15 years’ experience and has his finger on the pulse of land development across Northland.

New rules for rural development in Whangarei have now been released and Blair presented on what the new rules mean and how they both constrain and provide for growth in the District.

Rural development

  • Whangarei District’s estimated resident population grew from 83,700 in 2013 to 89,700 in 2017, representing an average annual increase of 1.8% per annum (7.16% over four years).
  • The medium projection for the District sees an increase from 89,900 people in 2018 to 100,800 in 2028.
  • The highest increases in population between 2018-2028 are expected to be in Marsden Point/Ruakaka, Port Limeburners, Waipu, Bream Bay and Te Hihi.

Plan Change 85C (PC85C) – Rural Village Environment

The Rural Village Environment proposes to replace the existing city zonings in Whangarei’s ‘rural villages’. The Rural Village Environment is comprised of three Sub-Environments: the Rural Village Residential, Rural Village Centre and Rural Village Industry. The Rural Village Environment aims to provide for a range of activities which support village communities, while also protecting the amenity values within each Sub-Environment.

Why? The Whangarei District Growth Strategy identified the following categories of rural villages within Whangarei:

Growth villages – e.g. Hikurangi, Parua Bay and Waipu

Large villages – e.g. Maungatapere, Tutukaka and Ngunguru

Small villages – e.g. Bland Bay, Mangapai, Ocean Beach, Portland and Whananaki.

The present provisions of the city zonings applying to the villages do not recognise the different outcomes required to maintain the viability and sense of community of the villages.

Where? The Environment boundaries have been identified through a two stage process. The first stage involved rezoning the existing Living and Business Environments within the villages and smaller adjacent areas of Countryside or Coastal Countryside Environment that more accurately reflect residential use rather than rural production use. The second stage involved an assessment of the supply and demand of residential and commercial land within the villages to determine where shortfalls might exist.

What are the key features proposed?

Throughout the proposed Rural Village Environment: » improved policy direction through new objectives and policies » generally maintain status quo for bulk and location provisions (e.g. setbacks, building height).

Within the proposed Rural Village Centre SubEnvironment: » prohibiting industrial activities » permitting rural centre service/commercial activities » permitting mixed use development and residential units.

Within the proposed Rural Village Residential SubEnvironment: » prohibiting industrial activities » providing for commercial activities as noncomplying activities » permitting a higher residential density where reticulated sewerage is available » implementing specific home occupation provisions.

Within the proposed Rural Village Industry SubEnvironment: » prohibiting sensitive activities » providing for activities operating outside the hours of 0600 – 2200 as discretionary activities.

Rural development 2

Blair has provided a 1 page rural development summary of the 100+ page document. Please click here to view. A few key points that he made are as follows:

  • The council’s philosophy is around consolidation and there has been a lot of planning to get to this point.
  • All activity falling under ‘controlled’ status will be granted by the council and it is extremely unlikely that it will need to be notified.
  • Activity falling under ‘discretionary’ status will likely result in immediate neighbours being notified but Blair suggests that a high level of success can be achieved for well-presented proposals.
  • The plan has provided for future proofing in certain areas, ready for when services become available.
  • Environmental benefit – For properties that include 1-10ha native bush/wetlands, 1 small lot can be divided off. For properties with 10-20ha, 2 small lots and for properties with 20+ha, 3 small lots can be divided off.

The new plan will ultimately be a double-edged sword with many people benefiting but many also having to re-evaluate their options. We look forward to seeing how, hopefully, the new plan will benefit out local area. For more information on the new rules please visit the council’s website or call Blair on 022 639 2165 to discuss your future plans for you property. To discuss the changes and your future rural development plans from a Real Estate perspective give our team a call on 09 432 1077.

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