General Rural and Rural Lifestyle Environments
A majority of Taupō District falls within the rural environment. Because of the range of activities happening in rural areas we need to make sure our District Plan allows people to live and work while making sure any impacts on the environment and to other people are acceptable.
When we think of a rural area, we picture wide and open spaces, natural landscapes and pastoral or forestry areas. This can be described as the “character” of an area. There are a lot of different activities that take place in the rural environment - from milk processing plants, forestry, power generation, tourism activities, visitor accommodation and farming. Rural areas are also home to many people, whether on small blocks of land or large working farms.
What is working
- Currently, rural properties service themselves (we call this “on-site servicing”). This means they provide their own access to water, disposal of rubbish, and there are no footpaths or street lighting like you see in town. Properties in the rural environment will continue to service themselves.
- Limiting residential subdivision within the rural environment has meant that the character and the productive nature of the rural area has been maintained. It has also reduced the cost to the community for servicing less efficient development.
- Flexibility within the rural rule framework has meant that a wide range of appropriate activities have also been able to establish in the rural area (for example- milk processing plants and power stations). It is appropriate for these activities to be located in the rural environment. However, sometimes the conditions these activities operate in have required landowners to plant screens or upgrade infrastructure to reduce the effect of their activity on the surrounding environment.
Key changes in the Rural Environment chapter
GENERAL RURAL AND RURAL LIFESTYLE ENVIRONMENTS
We are proposing to split our Rural Environment into two sections:
- General Rural Environment
- Rural Lifestyle Environment
To see the proposed rural lifestyle areas have a look at our online map.
GENERAL RURAL ENVIRONMENT
We want to keep large spaces of land available for productive use. This means we are aiming to keep property sizes large and limit the number and location of houses. However, we have heard from the community that one house per 10 Ha is too restrictive.
Key provisions within the rural environment are proposed to include:
- You will be able to subdivide down to 10 hectares, given you meet requirements as outlined in our plan.
- If you need another larger house (for example a workers house) you can also have one per 10Ha.
- You will be able to build one minor (smaller) dwelling per primary household, given you meet the requirements outlined in the section below.
- A building on your property cannot exceed 10% of the site area (building coverage). And a single building must not be larger than 5000m2.
- The maximum height of your building can be 12m, or 5m in height restricted areas.
RURAL LIFESTYLE ENVIRONMENT
We know more of our community want to live rurally, but on smaller pieces of land. We are introducing a new environment- the rural lifestyle environment to allow for the development of lifestyle blocks around our district.
The Rural Lifestyle Environment will cover areas that are already being used for this purpose. We are proposing to allow for some additional subdivision within these areas. This will meet the demand for additional rural lifestyle blocks, while ensuring efficient use of our infrastructure and protecting the general rural environment from further subdivision.
Our community have also provided feedback that they would like to have a second dwelling to allow for other family members to live in, to rent out or to provide for tourist accommodation.
We want to allow for smaller spaces of land, for lifestyle living, but also need to make sure these smaller blocks are not establishing in productive rural areas, that buildings are separated from one another and do not dominate the landscape.
- You may* be able to subdivide down to 2 hectares in the Rural Lifestyle environment, if you meet requirements outlined in our plan.
- You may* be able to build one minor (smaller) dwelling per primary household, if you meet the requirements outlined in the section below.
* There may be other constraints on some sites which mean subdivision or second dwellings may not be able to occur. This could include existing geothermal rules, identified hazards or natural value overlays. We are also proposing it being a little more difficult to subdivide and build a second dwelling in rural lifestyle if it shares a boundary with the general rural environment.
HOW HAVE WE CHOSEN THE RURAL LIFESTYLE AREAS?
Under the RMA we can only rezone areas where there is good planning evidence that it should be another zone/environment. These reasons are usually based on things like infrastructure efficiency, surrounding land use, type of land and the natural values of the area. Commercial gain is not a reason we can use to justify rezoning under the RMA.
The criteria we have used to form the new rural lifestyle zone is:
- There is a presence or existing clusters of smaller/lifestyle lots.
- Areas have not been selected where there are physical constraints such as topography, geography or infrastructure
- Rural Lifestyle zoning will only be applied to lots smaller than 30ha (unless completely surrounded by smaller rural lifestyle blocks).
- Overlays such as Outstanding Natural Landscapes will be taken into account.
- Proximity to Taupō township.
- Rural lifestyle zoning will not be applied where properties are accessed from State Highways.
- Properties subject to the D1 Geothermal Rule have been excluded.
It is important to note that if your property is proposed as a new rural lifestyle zone, it does not mean you have to change the way you live on your property if you don’t want to. If your property hasn’t been included in the rural lifestyle zone and you think it should be, you need to provide us the reasons why in your submission.
At this stage we have not identified areas for rural residential rezoning in Turangi and Mangakino. We are happy to work with specific landowners in Turangi and Mangakino to establish if there are appropriate rural lifestyle sites.
Some of our community who live in the rural environment have told us that they want to build a smaller unit on their property for family or friends to stay in. We are proposing to change the current District Plan rules to make it easier for people to build a second home on their property if they wish to do so.
The new rules we are proposing mean in both the General Rural and Rural Lifestyle Environments:
- 1:1 - there can be only one minor unit for each primary house
- A minor unit includes tiny homes, caravans, and other structures used for more than 2 months in a row on the site
- Size - the unit cannot be larger than 100m2 (including any garages)
- Location - the unit needs to be located within 20m of the primary house
- Access - the unit needs to share the same driveway with the primary house
Please note: If you meet these requirements in our District Plan you will still need to apply for a building consent if you want to build a minor unit on your property.
Papakāinga is a term used to describe any dwellings that are built on Māori land to house members of the same whanau, hapū or iwi. Papakāinga developments can deliver social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits through the strengthening of Māori communities.
Papakāinga provides a connection to and relationship with the environment. It nurtures where and how communities live in relation to the environment, and preserves Māori design concepts such as ahi kā, whakapapa and whanaungatanga (relationship).
We are aware that there are a number of other obstacles and barriers for Māori to use and develop Māori land. It is important that our District Plan doesn’t act as another obstacle/barrier or put further pressures on papakāinga development across Taupō district.
In rural environments, any papakāinga development will occur in a manner where whanaungatanga, mātauranga and tikanga (culture and traditions) of Māori with the environment informs the size, scale and extent of development.
The proposed changes to our district plan rules recognise that the current building coverage limit and setback requirements may not be appropriate for the development of papakāinga in our rural environment. Changes recognise that the design, size and layout of papakāinga development should continue to be guided by the history and iwi, hapū or whanau relationship with the land.
Conversations with our iwi partners are ongoing. We have included some papakainga provisions within the draft chapter to give an idea of where our thoughts are heading. However we expect these provisions to continue to evolve as the rural chapter continues to evolve.
Mapara Valley Structure Plan
In the early 2000s there was a lot of pressure for people to build houses and develop land within the Mapara Valley. At the time, we developed a Structure Plan to make sure that the development occurred in an appropriate way.
To date, the development that we anticipated has not occurred, and we now believe there are other areas that are closer to our urban centres that we want to prioritise for development.
We are proposing that the Mapara Valley zonings are removed and replaced with general rural and rural lifestyle environments.
Full draft chapter and online map
Please note not all parts of the plan changes have been covered in the sections above. You can read the full draft rural chapter in the PDF document below.
Full Draft Rural Environment Chapter (PDF, 1MB)
View the online map to see the proposed rural lifestyle areas.
Consultation on the first bundle of plan changes closed on Monday 13 June 2022.
Thank you for all of the feedback received.