By Anna Bensemann, Senior Planner, Baseline Group Marlborough, Ph 027 946 0445 or email email@example.com
Attracting good quality farm workers is not easy at the best of times, and the ability to offer accommodation as part of a package to attract the right kind of workers or share milkers to a farm is a helpful tool. However, your dreams of building additional dwellings on your farm aren’t always as simple as simply build it.
District planning rules outline how many residential dwellings are permitted on rural land to ensure there is not a proliferation of dwellings that might detract from rural character. Additionally, the rules aim to make sure clusters of rural houses on different properties located together at intersections do not create small settlements that over time require Council infrastructure.
The rules differ between district Councils and its always best to understand the rules specific to your site, but in Selwyn’s Outer Rural Zone you are allowed one dwelling per 20 ha of land. If your farm is at least 40 ha you can have two dwellings and if your farm is 60 ha you can have three. But the limit ends there.
While ideally Council would like to see these set out separately so there is a clear 20 ha around each dwelling to maintain rural dwelling densities, from a practical perspective you may want these clustered together. In those cases, the area of land that would make up the separate 20ha areas is subject to a land covenant that prevents your or future owners from creating more dwellings on that land.
A dwelling can also include a separate family flat of up to 70 m² but, this is only for family members and will be subject to a legal encumbrance to secure this. These kinds of smaller units are great for parents who are retiring or slowing down their farming input but want to stay living on the farm and enjoy the rural lifestyle. In a post Covid 19 world its also nice to have immediate family a little closer to home.
One size does not fit all when it comes to additional dwellings for family or farm workers and your situation may be very different from what has been allowed over the fence or what has existed historically, so it’s a good idea to get the rules checked for your farm at the time of considering development. These rules may change during the district plan review anticipated in late 2020.
Additionally, the resource consents process allows for you to seek dispensation from the rules if you don’t fit perfectly with the requirements around numbers of dwellings, or area of land per dwelling. So even if you need more than three dwellings, or you don’t have the sufficient amount of land to achieve the density anticipated per dwelling for your zone, it can be worth seeking a resource consent.