The ability of those who own land on the urban fringes of
Christchurch to develop their land in future is now in the
Earthquake Recovery Minister's hands. This follows the closure
on 2 August of submissions on the Draft Land Use Recovery Plan
The draft plan put forward far-reaching changes to the urban
fringe planning zones and rules of the district plans for not just
Christchurch but also Selwyn and Wamakariri - in the same way as
the Central City Plan changed them for the CBD. It also proposed
changes to the Regional Policy Statement, identifying a number of
Greenfield Priority Areas, which consist of undeveloped land, some
of which already has a residential or commercial zoning, and some
of which are to be changed to that zoning from its current rural
That rezoning, along with the provision of more detailed
development designs (outline development plans) for the newly zoned
and already zoned areas the LURP earmarked for development, are to
happen through changes to the district and city planning
With the opportunity to make submissions on these changes having
closed on 2 August, the decision as to whether the changes put
forward in the Draft LURP will make it into the finalised version
is now entirely in the Minister's hands. Once he releases his
decision the changes to the district planning rules, zoning and
policies as well as the RPS, will take effect pretty much
Once that occurs the resulting new zones, rules and design plans
will dictate whether currently undeveloped land on the urban
fringes can be developed, if so, how, and in many cases in what
configuration. Some land owners will find their rural land has
become commercial or residential. Many of these land owners, as
well as owners of undeveloped land that is already zoned for
development, will also find that they do not have much flexibility
as to how to configure development. The outline development plans
dictate where things like roads, parks, green corridors and
stormwater ponds must go.
This then is a double-edged sword. Yes, once the plan takes
effect, it will undoubtedly speed up the process for making more
residential sections available, but it comes at a price. If you
happen to own land that is within the priority development areas -
and can easily fit in with an outline development plan (where there
is one) - you will find that once the LURP takes effect, it will be
a lot easier to get your own subdivision plans approved.
On the other hand, if you have rural land that happens to fall
just outside one of the priority areas, it is going to be very
difficult to get it rezoned for development in future, or to get
subdivision consents to develop it for a purpose other than rural.
In the same way, if you find that an outline development plan has
drastically cut down the number of lots you could achieve, it will
be a very hard to get a subdivision approved that gets a better
yield by not following the design prescriptions in the outline
Because these changes are being put through under the earthquake
legislation there is no opportunity to appeal. Only if it becomes
obvious that the Minister's final decision has ignored
compelling evidence put forward in submissions, or is patently
unreasonable for other reasons, would there be a possibility to
challenge the finalised LURP, but then only in the High Court and
on limited grounds.
So for now it remains simply a waiting game for owners of
affected land, for the final version of the LURP as approved by the
Minister. Once that version is released, affected land owners and
developers will want to find out what finalised form the new zones,
rules and policies take, as they will have to start complying with
them pretty much immediately. To find out when those changes are
released, keep an eye on this page or the LURP page on the CERA
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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