We get asked a lot of questions about the Unitary Plan, and the main one is this: When will it come into effect? Unfortunately, nobody has an official date, but the current prediction is mid-2016. I wouldn’t bank on it, though. On any project with this many people involved complications will crop up; I wouldn’t expect the switch to be flipped until 2017.
At the moment the Plan is at the hearings stage; nothing has been finalised. Even the zoning is still under consideration. So far we’ve heard the Council has been getting through the submissions reasonably rapidly, with overall less resistance to the Plan than might have been expected.
Minor dwellings could make way for converted dwellings
For our clients the news is good: the new Unitary Plan is going to provide fresh opportunities to add value to your property, although not necessarily in the same way we’re presently doing it. The proposed changes would be a big departure, calling for converted dwellings with a three-metre shared wall instead of minor dwellings – but this is not yet confirmed.
We recently went to a workshop specifically about minor dwellings and found there were about 60 others in attendance. There have been 238 submissions on minor dwellings and the majority of submissions, as well as most of people at the workshop, were in favour of keeping the existing rules. We’ll keep you posted on that one.
Potential benefits to our clients
Some potential upsides for our clients under the proposed Unitary Plan regulations for minor dwellings:
- The chance to put an extra dwelling on properties which right now can’t be developed at all.
- The possibility of flying under the LVR restrictions: It’s not yet clear where the Reserve Bank’s restrictions will draw the line on converted dwellings, but it’s possible that they will count as new builds.
- More cohesion at the Council: instead of each area having its own rules for development, there will be one plan to rule them all. We will be able to make submissions for consent to any branch of the Council, no matter where the build will take place.
If you’re considering subdividing your section or building a minor dwelling, give us a call 0800 FUZO LTD (389 6583) and we can help you get your plan in before the rules change, or talk to you about how the new Unitary Plan could work for you.
By Troy Patchett, General Manager