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TDC's Rural Land Use Draft Plan

February 27, 2015
by Martine Bouillir, Tasman District Councillor for Golden Bay

Around 80 people attended the Takaka public consultation meeting this week for the Rural Land Use Draft Plan issue. It was a good meeting with amicable discussion which reinforced once again that the most submitted on aspect of this plan hasn't really been addressed.

The plan also covers such aspects as home occupations, subdivision etc but I have not dwelt on any of this because of the over-riding issue in our communities of multiple-dwellings and land sharing.

I feel as if, along with many of you, I'm repeating myself over and over and not really being heard - in fact since I came into council over 5 years ago this has been in the pipeline and was one of the main issues I campaigned on!

Yes there has been some movement on the Rural 2 zoning in that a few more dwellings can be managed onto a property over 25 hectares but the majority of people wanting change live on smaller properties or in different land zones. For the record, Rural 1 is the most desirable, productive, best-soiled land in our district (not always the case as for many titles there is a mix of soils and land geography with varying degrees of usability).

There is no desire for council to subdivide these large tracts of productive land and lose the rural character of our area. Few people dispute this. However there are plenty of examples of smaller blocks (many of them 12h blocks which were allowed back in the 90s following another plan change to encourage 'lifestyle' properties.) These are mostly not big enough to be productive in the traditional sense but could be highly productive if we allowed a few families to live together - thus providing affordable housing situations and a chance for small scale production or boutique crops and small home businesses.

Not only would this provide housing opportunities, it would provide employment opportunities and enliven and enrich our rural areas - which we are told are dying or at least not growing! This same scenario applies across the zonings - Rural 1 and 2 and Rural Residential. There is no reason that traditional farming and this style of living cannot happily co-exist. I see it as complementary.

The fears around losing rural amenity or cross-boundary effects to farming are unfounded. There are plenty of rules in the TRMP to cover such effects and the sort of people who are looking to share land are in the majority looking to live with a light footprint, with low-impact development - this would enhance rural amenity.

We are not talking subdivision and developers so the fears of a need for increased infrastructure and artificially pushed up land prices are also not an argument against what is requested. There is no reason council can't make LID (low impact development) a requirement for these titles. There is also a good argument for unit titles which would enable cluster housing whilst keeping the bulk of the land in common intact.

The frustration lies in a complicated 'blanket' plan that is trying to cover every disastrous potential for a district that is widely differing in topographical and social nature. I believe a much more coherent and intelligent plan would consider each locality distinctly and with regard to what was appropriate for that area and community. All time and money admittedly but surely 'do it once, do it right' makes sense.

Areas like Golden Bay and Motueka Valley could have variations to the plan to accommodate what is really going to work in these wards. If council thinks under-the-radar activity is going to cease through plans and regulations they are dreaming. Human beings will revolt again what is clearly prohibitive, over-regulated and doesn't make sense when it comes to basic living.

Why try to heavily control and force costly compliance if something obviously isn't working? The fact that this is happening is pointing to a need that we as a council should be finding ways to enable rather than punish. We are told that a policy change 'to enable co-operative living on Rural 2 land of over 25 h' is going to make a difference. It's too prescriptive.

These are some of the things you could consider in your feedback which needs to be in by 31 March - go to the feedback form on this page. Please take 5 mins out of your busy days to do this - it's important - voices need to be heard!

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