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Selwyn District Council Changes Urban Allotment Sizes

By Anna Bensemann | Sep 13, 2021

With a proposed new district plan notified and going through a public participation process, it is useful to consider what changes to the rules have been proposed. For example, one change is the urban zone minimum allotment sizes for residential activities. The existing planning framework for Selwyn has been modified through various processes over the years and it is very difficult to determine the minimum allotment as it varies between townships and there are multiple zones within a township that do not appear to follow rhyme or reason.

The Proposed Selwyn District Plan sought to remedy this situation to simplify the number of zones in the district. The Council indicated that the proposed changes were to make it clear what the provisions would be and to map those areas that they would be subject to.

In main townships there is a range of three key residential zones, being the General Residential Zone, the Low-Density Residential Zone and the Large Lot Residential Zone. When undertaking a subdivision, developments are subject to both a minimum allotment size provision and a minimum average allotment size, to allow for a range of section sizes, rather than just uniform developments throughout the district.

The General Residential Zone dominates the urban areas of Rolleston, Lincoln and Prebbleton, and seeks to create minimum allotments of 500m² with a minimum average section size of 650 m². Similar allotment sizes in the same areas under the existing plan range from 650 m² through to 800 m² under the current planning provisions.

In the Low-Density Residential Zone applied across most urban areas in Leeston, Darfield, part of Kirwee, and in Southbridge, the minimum allotment size is proposed to be 600 m² with an average allotment size of 750 m², some 100 m² larger than provided for in the General Residential Zone. For Leeston this is an increase from the current 650 m² minimum provided for currently.

The effect of changes to zone allotment size minimums is that there were many allotments created historically that could have easily been subdivided in the future when more intensive development was undertaken. However now sections created that were 1,300 m² in Leeston, will not easily be subdivided in the future under the proposed new plan as two lots will need to have an average of 750 m² each.

Large Lot Residential zoned sites are provided for on the periphery of townships with minimum allotment sizes of 3,000 m² and average allotment sizes of 5,000 m² (half a hectare). These larger allotments provide for semi-lifestyle sections.

Our Government has given clear directions to councils to provide more intensive housing, and to meet the growing housing demand. It, therefore, seems interesting that the approach taken in the Proposed Selwyn District Plan is to increase some minimum allotment sizes in parts of the district and to provide for urban development largely within the existing urban extent of townships. This appears to be somewhat maintaining the status quo, rather than promoting growth. It is now up to the Selwyn Community to decide what they want for their district through the submissions and further submissions to the Proposed District Plan.