Written by Imogen Trupinic – Senior Planner at Thomas Consultants
So you’re thinking about subdividing and don’t know where to start? Our Senior Planner Imogen offers 5 key planning tips to consider for your next development
With terraced housing developments popping up around Auckland at a higher rate than before (thanks to the leniency provided by the current and future Unitary Plan rules), the prospect of developing and subdividing your site may seem highly attractive. But it pays to have a good idea of what lies ahead in the resource consent process to achieve these subdivisions, otherwise you may find yourself facing some unwelcome surprises.
Here are the top 5 tips from our Planning team that will ensure the process runs smoothly from the start:
#1 – Conceptualise
Look at what recent developments have been built or are being constructed in the general area around your site and whether a similar type of development will be appropriate for you site. Think about what kind of houses are going on adjacent sites. Are they attached or stand alone? Is there a shared driveway? Then picture what will fit well on your site. Think about parking, driveways and common areas as well as the new houses. If your site is in a rural area, you may also consider whether to undertake a vacant lot subdivision. For a free comprehensive guide on the subdivision process and costings, click HERE.
#2 – Check The Unitary plan
Search for your site using the Unitary Plan GIS tool on the Council website HERE. This will confirm what zone you are in which will dictate how many dwellings you can fit on your site and how many storeys new dwellings can be. For example, the most widespread zone is the Residential – Mixed Housing Suburban zone which permits three dwellings at a height of two-storeys. Anything more or higher will require a land use resource consent.
#3 – Check For Site Features
Confirm if there are any hazards or special features on the site. These features can be identified using Auckland Council’s Geomaps GIS – or you can call the Council Planning helpdesk on 09 301 0101 and ask them to check features for you. It may be your site is subject to a natural hazard feature which requires specialist input before proceeding with the subdivision design. For example, a geotechnical report is required to develop any site that is listed as ‘subject to instability’. It may also be that your site contains a feature to be protected, such as native bush covered by a Significant Ecological Area overlay, and any vegetation removal would require assessment from an arborist and/or an ecologist. Features in the road berm outside your site are also important, such as powerlines and street trees, because additional permits from Council are required for any changes to these public features.
#4 – Confirming Servicing Feasibility
Consult with a civil engineer to confirm what underground servicing is like on the site and what servicing arrangement (stormwater, water, wastewater, phone lines and electricity) will be feasible for your development. If it appears lines need to be extended through your neighbour’s property to reach your subdivision, now would be a good time to approach your neighbours for their consent. Approaching neighbours for any required approvals as soon as possible is the best way to avoid extensive and costly redesigns further down the consenting track.
#4 – Know Your Costs
Do a rough calculation of the overall cost of the process. For a free guide on the subdivision costings, click HERE. Another helpful online tool is Relab which provides revenue estimates for different yields of subdivision for individual sites while also considering all other costs. Alternatively, you may consider approaching a financial advisor for assistance with this application.
Apart from the cost of the Council deposit and overall resource consent process, you may also need to pay for the following:
- Consultant costs (planning, engineering and other specialists);
- engineering compliance/works;
- provision of utilities;
- Auckland Transport permits;
- Community Facilities permits;
- surveying and LINZ costs;
- legal costs;
- building consent costs (for private drainage);
- costs for accessways etc
The planning and engineering teams at Thomas Consultants work together to provide an overview of the consenting feasibility for subdivision of sites. We are able to help with any initial subdivision queries you may have.
To find out more about our planning services, click HERE
Need more help?
We have a highly experienced Planning team ready to help you kickstart your next project. If you’d like us to help please contact us here.