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Know your zone

Could you tell me right now what zone your property is in? Is it Mixed Housing Urban or Mixed Housing Suburban? Single house zone maybe? Or is it Future Urban zone?

Knowing which zone your property or potential next purchase is in can be hugely beneficial.

It can tell you if the site is large enough to subdivide (subject to other conditions) or if you are allowed to build a minor dwelling. It will tell you how much of the site can be covered in building, and how much can be covered in driveway or other impervious surfaces.

A common mistake made by investors, for example, is that they see a site with a large back yard and automatically think they can subdivide, only to find out its in a Single House zone where the minimum lot sizes are larger.

Knowing all of these ‘controls’ is imperative if you want to be able to develop your site to its maximum potential. Thankfully things have gotten a lot easier now to find your zone than it used to be, and wonderful websites such as homes.co.nz show this information with any house search.

How to find your zone

To find out which zone a property is in, all you have to do is type in your address in the search bar then scroll down to the Council Records section. As you will see in the example below under the Auckland Unitary Plan this site is zoned H3 Residential - Single House Zone.

Done. That was easy right?

So now you know what zone your property is in, we now need to find out what this actually tells us about what we can and can’t do with the site, and this is where it gets a little trickier.

The current list of development controls at the Auckland Council website can be found here:

Auckland Council Unitary Plan

What rules apply to my zone?

Without getting into too much detail, this is the Auckland Unitary Plan in all its glory, broken down into chapters A through N. Thankfully, for now, we can ignore most of it (unless you’re super keen) and head straight to Chapter H Zones. Clicking on the + symbol next to the heading will open a drop-down list showing every possible zone under the Unitary Plan. Again, there is a lot of additional information here that we can ignore and, assuming you are a residential property owner or prospective purchaser, for the most part we will only be interested in the Residential zones H1 through to H6.

Of those 6 residential zones, the majority of Auckland is now made up of the 4 zones H3 to H6, or Single House, Mixed Housing Suburban, Mixed Housing Urban, and Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings. That’s a far cry from the old system before the ‘Super City’ was introduced when there were 9 different District Plans some with as many as 9 different residential zones.

Clicking on the link labelled PDF to the right-hand side will bring up a document specific to that zone. Inside this document it outlines the description, objectives, and policies behind the zone – essentially what its purpose is, how it’s going to achieve it, and what will define it.  

Understanding and being familiar with these documents – that’s where the money is.

This is also where our expertise is.

Are you looking to buy soon and would like to find out more about what impact the zone of the property has on your ability to develop?

Or perhaps you have been thinking about what options you have with your current back yard? If you would like some great advice then contact us at hello@iamdeveloper.co.nz

In the coming weeks, we’re also going to be adding some additional posts for each residential zone and an accompanying download sheet showing the relevant development controls for the zone so stay tuned.

Drone shot 5 site selection