Rural land development
With its own specific set of rules and regulations, land development in rural areas requires specialist expertise. Our inside knowledge of how councils and government agencies work, and how applications for resource consent are reviewed and approved, means we can prepare all of the required documentation and get you through the process as quickly as possible.
Get your project right from the start
Whether you need us for just one aspect of a project, or a complete package solution, our land development team works together for you, creating developments that will meet applicable council requirements and manage the design of urban and suburban areas. We understand the compatibility of different land uses and know how to negotiate the best outcome for your development
Services you may need us for and examples of the kinds of projects we assist on:
Boundary adjustments/selling a portion of property to your neighbour;
Land use and resource consent to erect structures in restricted rural zones;
Boundary fences/knowing who owns which piece of land - we offer cost-effective alternatives to pegging the boundary that still get your desired end result;
Resource consent for bridges
Underpass design and consent
Stormwater and wastewater discharge consent
Downsizing/selling off portions of a large farm
Structural demolition consent
Wild Weather and Resource Consent Requirements
Emergency powers under the Resource Management Act (RMA) allow for works to be undertaken without a resource consent in certain circumstances. With the wild weather hitting New Zealand recently, these provisions are sure to be exercised, but Section 330 of the RMA does not provide carte blanche ability to start moving debris or altering waterways by any person who considers there is a risk. The provisions contain key features to control who, and when, emergency powers can be exercised.Learn more
Fundamental Culture Shift in New Zealand Planning Legislation.
There is a general shift in New Zealand legislation to better honour the partnership principles between the Crown and Iwi, embodied in the Treaty of Waitangi. Central
Government driven National Policy Statements (NPS) for both fresh water and highly productive soils illustrate this fundamental change and arguably have directed some of the most significant changes to compliance measures for modern farming.
Crunch Time For New Freshwater Legislation
In 2020, Central Government released an abundance of Freshwater Policies, including National Policy Statements (NPS-FW) and National Environmental Standard for Freshwater (NES-FW), and addendums to the RMA bringing in Freshwater Farm Plans and Stock Exclusion Regulations. As we near the end of 2022, push has come to shove, and these regulations are starting to take effect. Understanding what the raft of regulations will mean for farmers is important to ensure regulatory compliance for our agricultural sector.Learn more
Proposed Selwyn District Plan Update
Selwyn District Council’s proposed District Plan was notified on 5 October 2020 and is now nearly two years into the consultation process, with hearings now complete. Council have delayed the release of the fully Operative Plan until 20 August 2023 to align with the decision on the new legislation required by Central Government relating to medium density standards.Learn more
Highly Productive Soils – Big Picture Thinking vs Private Landowners Needs
The expansion of our towns and cities, and our ever growing obsession with rural lifestyle blocks has been threatening the viability of our productive soils for many decades. The balance is now being tested by the recently established National Policy Statement (NPS) relating to Class 1, 2 and 3 land and possibly other productive rural land.Learn more
Is it a Wetland or Not?
Wetlands play an important role in our ecosystems providing water filtration and a
plethora of biodiversity values. However, managing wetlands located within farms raises challenges around stock exclusion and land drainage management. In recent years many councils began mapping wetlands in an effort to provide a clear rules framework, and to delineate clearly where rules apply.
Housing Intensification – Not for Everyone Says CCC
Christchurch City Council (CCC) recently voted against notifying a plan change to give effect to the Government Housing Intensification legislation. Meanwhile, Selwyn District, along with most other local authorities in New Zealand, notified new rules in August to meet its obligations under the intensification plan. Provisions notified under this legislation have immediate legal effect and allow for up to three dwellings per property in specified urban areas; in the case of the Selwyn District this is the Rolleston, Lincoln and Prebbleton urban areas.Learn more
Change isn't coming, it's here!
You may have read or heard about the amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) with respect to enabling housing intensification. The amendments required certain Councils to adopt the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) into their District Plans. In Canterbury, this includes Selwyn District, Waimakariri District and Christchurch City Councils.Learn more
Who Pays for Infrastructure in Greenfield Land Development?
Development of large areas of land to allow for additional residential housing in Selwyn is at an all-time high, with the region experiencing multiple privately initiated plan change requests. These requests usually seek to allow farmland on the edge of townships to be converted to residential zones. There is much dispute if this is a good thing or not, or if we should instead be accommodating people within the existing urban extent of Selwyn’s townships.Learn more
Have your say on Development Projects
As part of a resource consent process, applications have to go through a notification test to determine who needs to be made aware of the development and be given the opportunity to have their say. This is referred to as limited notification (only certain parties are considered affected) or public notification (open to the public and anyone can make a submission).Learn more
Outstanding Natural Features and Landscapes - effect on farming
From time to time a Council will review its planning documents or look to update them in light of changes to the common understanding of best practice planning. The Resource Management Act (RMA) also requires a review of each planning provision every 10 years to ensure its still relevant for similar reasons.
State highways, noise and reverse sensitivity: what’s the buzz?
The expansion of Selwyn’s towns and economies requires access via state highways for efficient transport of people and goods. The importance of state highways and residential development can result in the two competing land uses in close proximity to one another, resulting in spill over effects of noise, vibration, and dust. In anticipation and response to this Waka Kotahi (NZTA) have actively been working with district plan updates to create legislative instruments designed to protect property owners from any unwelcome surprises.
Planning land use to be resilient to natural hazards
There is an increasing concern about climate change, greater reports of extreme weather events resulting in flooding, landslides, and coastal inundation and the potential effect on our urban and rural landscapes. The dreams of owning a house overlooking the beach, are in some instances, literally slipping away. In other cases, new information and flood modelling has identified greater risk as a result of where we have historically chosen to develop land.Learn more
Boundary disputes – What are they and how can you resolve them?
For most people, purchasing their own home will be their biggest investment. Whether it’s your first time or not, you undoubtedly want the experience to be positive with no unexpected issues. To avoid any surprises, it is important that you undertake comprehensive due diligence. This includes checking the Record of Title and associated survey plan to ensure everything is true and correct, especially the sites' boundaries as to avoid any potential boundary disputes between neighbours.Learn more
A recent Baseline Group project was recognised at the 2022 Canterbury Architecture Awards
Thirty buildings around Canterbury all scooped up the prestigious awards from the Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects Local Architecture Awards this year, with a range of styles, new and old, recognised.Learn more
Highly Productive Soils – Big Picture Thinking vs Private Landowners Needs
The expansion of our towns and cities, and our ever-growing obsession with rural lifestyle blocks has been threatening the viability of our productive soils for many decades.Learn more
The impact of consent notices when purchasing land
Buying or selling a home can be a stressful time, and due diligence forms are a critical part of deciding if you ought to purchase a home.Learn more
The Role of Planning in the Climate Change - Discussion for Agriculture
The decisions made around how we reduce emissions and how land is managed to reduce risks from climate change, does indeed effect how farms are run on a day-to-day basis.Learn more
How might Development Contributions affect you?
Make sure to consider Development Contributions whilst planning for your next project.Learn more
Negotiating with Neighbours Under the RMA
You have rights when it comes to deciding if you want to give your written approval to a project neighbouring your property.Learn more
The dream of subdividing your land
Subdivision of land is often depicted as being an effective way to maximise the value of your land.Learn more
Managing Cultural Heritage Sites
Early consultation with iwi can assist in achieving a suitable outcome and help to manage our Cultural Heritage sites for future generations.Learn more
RMA changes are coming, are you ready?
Beginning in August 2022, new Resource Management Act (RMA) regulations will change the face of planning in New Zealand.Learn more
Hazardous activities, land contamination and resource consent applications
Have you had your site checked for past or present hazardous activities?Learn more
Times' up on the RMA
Love it or hate it, the RMA has shaped the development of New Zealand over the past 30 years.Learn more
Game changers for housing under the RMA
Game changers do not come along often, however the Government recently released a Bill that will change how land development occurs across New Zealand.Learn more
What to do when you inherit land
At some point in your life you may find yourself inheriting land from a recently passed loved one or from a distant relative.Learn more
Housing Growth continues in Selwyn with Legislative Support
Selwyn District has long been known as one of New Zealand’s most rapidly growing districts, and this does not appear to be changing.Learn more
Indigenous Biodiversity: what does it mean for a farmer?
Historically, New Zealand has seen the extensive loss of indigenous biodiversity associated with original land development practices to create farmland. However there is an increasing trend, and direction through legislation, to protect and enhance biodiversity values on farms.Learn more
How lizards might affect your new development
There are five species of lizard consisting of either skinks and geckos present on Banks Peninsula and in the Canterbury High Country; four species in particular are either declining or nationally vulnerable, namely the Spotted Skink, Jewelled Gecko, Canterbury Gecko and Common Skink.Learn more
But that’s the way we have always done it!
Just because you have always been allowed to do something does not mean you will not need a resource consent for that activity in the future. Activities to the use of the coastal environment, a discharge to land, air or water, a water take for irrigation, or the use of the bed of a river may require future consent if a Regional or Unitary Council change the rules.Learn more
What does a professional planner do?
Acquiring a resource consent can involve several different professionals, including planners, surveyors, lawyers, landscape architects, engineers, and ecologists. So how does planning differ from other professions and when should you engage one?Learn more
Who Shapes our Planning Rules?
With Further Submissions to the Selwyn District Plan due to open soon, it’s interesting to consider where our planning rules come from. The district plan is full of rules that determine building setback distance from neighbours, roads, reserves and waterways. It sets out the maximum height of buildings, the maximum amount of site covered with buildings and the minimum allotment area for the subdivision. All of these rules have fixed and definite limits in terms of specific meters or square meters.
Risks to farmland in the planning framework
With the RMA under scrutiny lately and a new planning framework for managing risks to land being integrated over the next two years, it’s a good time to consider the potential environmental risks to your land and how you might best manage them.Learn more
Spotlight on District Plan Provisions
The Proposed Selwyn District Plan includes a number of residential zones including the Large Lot Residential Zone, which has a minimum allotment size of 3000 m². This zone is proposed on the edge of townships to provide a buffer between intensive residential activities and the General Rural Zone. There are large areas around Darfield, Kirwee and West Melton and smaller areas on the periphery of Prebbleton, Lincoln, Leeston, Dunsandel, Southbridge and Rolleston.Learn more
Selwyn District Council Changes Urban Allotment Sizes
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.Learn more
Proposed Selwyn District Plan - What next?
After having made your submission to the proposed Selwyn District Plan outlining concerns with changes or lack of changes to zoning, flood risk areas, noise limits, changes to minimum allotment sizes, or changes that enable multi-unit developments on site, - you may be asking what is the next step?Learn more
Good District Plan provisions save time and money
New planning provisions in district and regional plans can lead to an increase in public notification of resource consent applications to ensure any activities that are outside the anticipated planning provisions are appropriate. The costs of the public notification and subsequent hearing process can be in the order of tens of thousands of dollars to the applicant under the RMA’s user pays system, emphasizing the need to get our planning provisions correct early on.Learn more
A Practical Guide for District Plan Reviews
Understanding changes in legislation can be difficult enough, and with the Government bringing in new provisions under National Policy Statements and National Environmental Standards, it can be difficult to keep up. At a local level, there are many district and unitary councils going through a plan change process after their 10-year plan review and are making rule and policy changes consistent with national legislative changes.Learn more
Planning Rules can Affect Property Value
The Selwyn District council have notified a new District Plan with planning rules that govern how we use our properties and what our neighbors can do on their properties. These permitted activities are intended to ensure amenity values are achieved within our communities. The activities undertaken on your property or neighbouring properties can influence the value of property.Learn more
Rural Allotment Sizes set to Double
Selwyn District Council notified the new Selwyn District Plan in early October with a wide range of changes to the planning provisions that apply across the district. One big change in the new look district plan is that it will increase the minimum allotment size for rural subdivisions in the western part of the Selwyn District.Learn more
District Plan in Selwyn – How will it Affect You?
Selwyn District Council are ready to notify a revised new District Plan in early October. While it’s not certain what this new plan will contain, we understand that the current large number of planning zones is to be reduced. No doubt this will change the zoning for parts of our urban and rural zones and may also change the minimum area you can easily subdivide your land too.Learn more
Minimum Car Parking Requirements to be Chopped
Car parking requirements for new urban developments are due to be on the chopping block within 18 months under new planning provisions. All district councils are required to remove any objective, policy, rule or method that imposes a minimum carparking requirement in accordance with the Governments Urban Development National Policy statement.Learn more
Commercial Activity in a Rural Zone – What’s the Harm?
Most District Councils place a restriction on commercial activities being carried out in rural or residential zones. By commercial I’m not talking about the commercial nature of your farm which may be your business. I mean businesses which are not relying on the use of the land to operate. Activities such as cafés, shops, office space or even warehousing and storage activities fall under the type of commercial activities councils are trying to control.Learn more
Why we have complicated septic tank disposal rules
When extending a dwelling in the rural environment and you don’t have access to council sewer, it’s important to be aware of the potential issues you are uncovering. Find out what you should consider for your septic tank to meet the standards
Is the RMA really the problem?
For years we have heard the issue that development gets held up because of resource consents and this adds significant costs and delays to development. Is the RMA to blame for this or is it the way developers and councils work together to achieve positive planning outcomes?Learn more
Buildings under exemptions may still need resource consent
Recently Government announced exemptions to the Building Act which mean building consents may no longer be required for small builds. Before you rush out to buy building materials be aware that the devil is in the detail.Learn more
Cross lease titles - an overview
Find out more about the ins and outs of cross-leases and how ownership over a household unit is determined by the title.Learn more
The importance of knowing your boundaries
Land is an important asset and discussions with neighbours over where the boundary lies between properties can occasionally be problematic. This is particularly relevant if your land contains trees, good grazing land, streams,rivers or a coastal margin. It’s helpful to know your rights and obligations when it comes to property boundaries.Learn more
Minimum car parking requirements to be chopped
Car parking requirements change for new urban developments are due to be on the chopping block within 18 months under new planning provisions.Learn more
Rural allotment sizes set to double in West Selwyn
With new changes being made to planning provisions in the Selwyn District, see how the minimum allotment sizes increase for rural subdivisions in the western part of the Selwyn District.Learn more