Rural Lot Size & Development - including Rural Residential

This is about how densely settled our rural areas should be, and the best way this can be managed through control of new houses and subdivision. At present, four hectare subdivision is provided for across a single rural zone while rural residential is provided in specific locations.

Key Issues:

Managing residential development in rural areas is important to ensure that rural land continues to be available and attractive for farming (primary production), recognising that houses are required to support farming. Housing can lead to conflict with new and existing farming operations and vice versa, and take land out of production.

The character of rural areas is important as well. If housing and subdivision intensify, rural character may change and this can also lead to a demand for infrastructure which can be expensive to provide. It is also likely to conflict with aims to concentrate residential growth in existing towns and settlements.

Key Draft Changes:

Community feedback through the District Development Strategy and Issues and Options consultations identified that:

  • The purpose of rural zones should be for rural activities
  • Non-rural activities should be located in other zones
  • Rural character should be protected
  • More should be done to manage reverse sensitivity where new activities are established that are sensitive to effects from an existing activity
  • A larger minimum lot size (currently 4ha) for rural subdivision has been suggested from some of the feedback.

The intention is to ensure rural areas are mainly for farming (primary production) and that housing density and subdivision are both managed to ensure land continues to be available for a range of farming and supporting activities, and to maintain rural character.

To do this, the intention is to provide for some further rural residential areas located in accordance with a Rural Residential Development Strategy as the main way of providing for rural living on small lots (average of 5,000m2 to 1ha).

This approach will more efficiently cater for demand to live in rural areas, and do more to keep rural lots at a size suitable for farming.

In line with draft new National Planning Standards, a rural zone would provide for a range of rural activities, as well as a rural residential zone to provide for identified areas of smaller properties where residential living is more significant. This approach could also recognise existing 4ha properties and continue to allow a house to be built.

This is a different approach to the current District Plan, and we are interested in your views.

Relevant Information: - see Rural District Plan Effectiveness Review Paper
Effluent Spreading and Intensive Farming, pg 25 (What's the Plan?)
Business Activities in Rural and Residential Zones, pg 29 (What's the Plan?)