What is TRSS?
In late 2016 the new Auckland Unitary Plan became operative in part, and most of the provisions of the previous district plans across Auckland expired, however, parts of the Rodney and Franklin plans that allowed landowners to subdivide for the protection of bush and wetlands remain “live”, as a number of the generally equivalent (but not as flexible) rules in the Unitary Plan are under appeal to the Environment Court (the changes the Council made to the recommended provisions are summarised below).
Rural landowners with unprotected significant native bush and wetland areas need to consider whether to take up their subdivision options now under these Rodney or Franklin sections of the district plans, or wait for the outcome of the appeals on the Unitary Plan rules (which probably won’t be settled by the Court until approximately May 2018).
In rural Rodney under the current rules, the minimum area for significant bush subdivision is 2 hectares, and further sites are available for each additional 10 ha protected (maximum 152 ha). The comparable Unitary Plan rule starts at 5ha with a maximum of 4 sites for 20ha. The minimum area for wetland subdivision is 5,000m2 (0.5ha) with a 10 metre native vegetation buffer; with 2ha of wetland protected, two sites are possible, and with more wetland than that protected more sites are available on a sliding scale. The new 1-2 ha sites generated from protecting natural areas under these rules can be used on the parent site, or potentially transferred to an identified receiving area (TRSS).
How does it work?
If the appeals are accepted by the Court in full, the rules will widen the opportunities for subdivision regarding more Significant Natural Areas (SEA) protection, restoration planting, and a consequential increase in the number of new sites available. Donor sites under Rodney and Franklin District Plan consents can be transferred to the Countryside Living zone receiver areas under the Unitary Plan.
This process allows landowners to transfer development rights from protecting and/or replanting bush and wetlands on most rural land to the Countryside Living zone (Subdivision Control areas). In the Subdivision Control areas, the minimum size can be reduced from 2ha to 1ha by importing transferrable sites.