Residential Growth Indicators (what we measure)
Recent census data shows a slight growth in population of the three main centres of Morrinsville, Matamata, and Te Aroha. Rural population shows a slight decrease between 1996 and 2006, but a slight increase between 2006 and 2013.
Residential growth puts extra pressure on the use of good quality soils for agricultural purposes, and also can create adverse effects from the construction, location and dominance of new buildings. New development can also affect the open space character of residential and rural areas. Growth in the number of dwellings is likely to be an issue, as between 2006 and 2013 the district’s population increased by 3.5 per cent, while the number of dwellings increased by 8.8 per cent.
As of 2009/10 there are a total of 1896 hectares of land zoned for residential and rural-residential purposes in the district. In 2012/13 there were 455 lots between 2,500 and 10,000 m² in the areas zoned Residential and Rural-Residential. No additional lots between 2,500 and 10,000 m² were granted subdivision consent in 2013/14 while four lots of this size were granted consent in 2014/15. One further lot was granted consent in 2015/16, and a further 14 residential or rural-residential lots between 2,500m2 and 1 hectare in area were granted consent in 2016/17.
By the 2014/15 year, 9,606 residential properties had access to water and 9,076 had wastewater access. By 2015/16, 9,706 properties had access to water and 9,159 had access to wastewater, and in 2016/17 this remained at 9,706 for access to water and increased to 9,217 properties with access to waste water.
The Morrinsville water supply will support the forecast population growth over the next five years, with a new bore completed in 2014/15 and the commencement of the construction of a new reservoir in 2015/16. The upgraded Morrinsville wastewater plant will have sufficient capacity well into the future.
A new bore has been drilled for Matamata, although there has been no increase in the volume of water that Council is permitted to extract. A larger reservoir has been established at the Matamata water treatment plant. The town’s sewer plant was upgraded in 2011 and has adequate capacity for forecast growth, but an upgrading of reticulation will be required.
The Te Aroha water supply is adequate for residential growth forecasts, but the treatment facilities will need upgrading at industry cost if their predicted demand eventuates. The Te Aroha waste water plant has adequate capacity to meet forecast population growth in the town.
Between 2007/08 and 2016/17, 818 new residential lots have been granted subdivision consents. This has included major developments such as:
- An 86 lot development in Banks Road, Matamata, in two stages from 2009/10 to 2010/11
- A 44 lot development in Mangawhero Road, Matamata in 2016/17
- A 32 lot development in Fairway, Morrinsville in 2016/17
In 2014/15 four additional lots were created and 17 further lots created in 2015/16 as the result of residential subdivision. In 2016/17 the total of 118 new lots was the highest in eight years. Residential subdivision between 2013/14 and 2015/16 all stemmed from small-scale, two lot subdivisions, except for 4-lot subdivisions in both 2012/13 and 2015/16.
Between 2007/08 and 2016/17 1077 building consents have been granted for the creation of new dwellings within the Residential Zone. Over a third of these consents were granted in the two years 2007/08 through to 2008/09, after which the number of building consents granted dropped sharply, until a sizeable increase in 2015/16 and 2016/17. This is likely to be due to the economic recession of the late 2000s and its lingering impact on the economy. The increasing economic confidence of recent years has resulted in house price growth and a building boom which helps explain the sharp increase of building consents granted in the past two years.
The Resource Management Amendment Act will amend the RMA so that from 2017/18 subdivision will be permitted unless it is expressly restricted by a District Plan rule or a National Environmental Standard, which indicates that subdivision is potentially acceptable as a permitted activity in certain circumstances.
Development controls are in place for new developments to ensure any negative impacts are minimised. These include ‘maximum heights for buildings’, ‘yards’, ‘site coverage’, etc. The number of resource consents granted to breach development controls has generally followed the level of activity in residential subdivision and building construction over the last ten years. This suggests that, at this stage, the existing development controls are not creating increasing pressure on the efficient use of land.
Since 2007/08, no resource consent applications have been declined for non-compliance with Council development controls. The potential cost of making a resource consent application may discourage people from submitting designs which contravene the development control rules. It’s possible that the costs involved with an unsuccessful resource consent application might offset the potential gain made from increased building intensity or height.
New development can also affect amenity values through the removal of trees protected by the District Plan. A total of 13 consents have been issued to remove trees in the last 10 years.
During 2008, Council completed a plan change to amend the tree protection provisions within the District Plan. Previously, a resource consent was required to remove, or do any major work to any tree in the urban area that was over 10 metres in height, which was deemed to be too restrictive. In addition, changes to the Resource Management Act meant that only trees listed in a schedule of the District Plan could be protected. A process was undertaken to identify those trees which added to the amenity of the district and these were added to the schedule of outstanding or significant natural features and trees and other protected items. This plan change aimed to give confidence to whether or not resource consent was needed to remove a tree, and to also remove unnecessary restrictions.
The plan change allows notable trees to be removed as a permitted activity if they are dead, dying or terminally damaged. This change has been reflected in the reduced number of consents granted for tree removal.
In 2014/15, Plan Change 48 – Protected Trees commenced, which reviewed the rules and provisions relating to protected trees, as well as Schedule 3 in the District Plan, which lists all protected trees in our District. All currently protected trees were examined by an arborist, using the Standard Tree Evaluation Method to assess and score them. Council nominated a threshold score of 140 that all trees proposed for protection must meet and then held a public formal submission process in 2015/16. As a consequence of Plan Change 48, which became operative in 2016/17, 97 individual or groups of trees achieve the threshold of 140 and have been protected by the District Plan.