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Rural Boundary Re-locations, Adjustments and Subdivision

Originally Published in Nelson Marlborough Farming March 2011

Over the years we have had a number of clients who have successfully made money from subdividing and otherwise rearranging boundaries of rural properties. Generally most property developers focus on residential or rural residential properties however a small number have recognised the potential of undertaking developments in rural areas.

The advantage of developing in rural areas include minimal servicing requirements, long settlement times and sometimes less complex consent processes. Often the preferred type of development is a boundary adjustment or relocation where an existing boundary is moved or an entire title is relocated. In these situations the number of titles does not change, councils see little or no impact on the environment, generally financial contributions are not paid and minimal conditions are imposed by the local authorities.

Typically this sort of project involves rearranging the boundaries of existing titles to maximise their value. This might involve, for example, taking two titles that are neither productive, or attractive as a potential lifestyle block, and creating a smaller title with an attractive building site and leaving the rest as a block with better productive values. These sorts of resource consent applications are generally discretionary meaning Council can turn them down, if so inclined, however the rule of thumb that I use is that if we can demonstrate that what we are doing is done for sound land management reasons then councils will look upon such applications favourably.

Another way that rural land can be developed is to purchase a larger block that has sufficient area so that they can be subdivided as of right down to the minimum block size prescribed by the relevant district plan of the Council. Because additional titles are being created these sorts of subdivisions can attract more council conditions and financial contributions than a boundary relocation/adjustment.

As well as developers buying land specifically to develop landowners often undertake subdivisions, or if they, own more than one title, boundary relocations/adjustments in order to free up capital and rationalise one's landholdings. The desire to free up capital is not something Council resource planners get too excited about, however landowners are the ones who best know the potential of their property and usually the rationale behind rearranging, or creating new boundaries is quite defensible.

Generally all subdivisions (which includes boundary relocations/adjustments) require resource consent, and the bureaucracy involved in obtaining subdivision consent (a type of resource consent) is growing by the day. Never the less there are still situations where a simple proposal can be submitted to Council that makes absolute sense and consent is issued with a minimum of drama.

The key to this is not only the way way it is presented to council but also making sure the proposal stacks up in the first instance. While these days there are many different people sticking their oar into the resource management cauldron, land surveyors have bean dealing with these sorts of things since the dim mists of time. An experienced land surveyor with long-standing relationships with councils is your best bet to keep it simple and expedite a straight forward subdivision consent thorough the local authorities consent process.

This article was prepared by John Cotton specialized in rural surveys.

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