Updated 14 December 2018
The purpose of the Rural Zones is to provide for a range of primary production activities on the City’s rural land resource, as well as an open green landscape as a backdrop to the City’s intensive urban and suburban areas and to Tauranga Harbour which the Plan seeks to maintain. The Greenbelt Zone also plays an important role in the management of stormwater in the City.
The Plan provides for development standards in the Rural Zones which reflect the predominance of primary production activities, provides for these activities to operate with a minimum of constraint, and restricts the establishment of activities which could adversely impact on the ability to use the rural land resource or carry out certain primary production techniques. The Plan does however, seek to reduce adverse impacts on surrounding properties where primary production activities are poorly managed or unacceptable land management practices are taking place, through reference to industry guidelines.
The Plan also provides additional development standards for mining and forestry, which are recognised as activities connected to resources within the Rural Zones, but which may have potential adverse effects which need to be addressed.
Provision is made for residential activity, dependent on on-site servicing, in conjunction with primary production activities. Residential activity that is not connected to primary production, or is of a density more characteristic of the Rural Residential or Residential Zones of the City is not anticipated or desirable in the Rural Zones.
The Zones also have a distinct rural character. Elements which make up rural character include: A predominance of natural features over human made features; a high ratio of open space relative to the built environment; significant areas of vegetation in pasture, crops, forestry and/or indigenous vegetation, including natural and artificial crop protection structures; a rural working production environment; presence of farmed animals; noises, smells and effects associated with the use of rural land for a wide range of agricultural, horticultural and forestry purposes; low population densities relative to urban areas.
Multiple-owned Maori land makes up a large proportion of the City’s rurally zoned land. While this land is used for primary production, there is also a growing need and demand for housing to be provided on the land in a way that recognises the constraints posed by the Maori land tenure system. Provision for papakainga development in the Rural Zones seeks to meet this need while balancing it with productive rural use of the surrounding environment and the maintenance of the rural landscape. The Rural Marae Community Zone provides for the unique mix of activities, including residential activity, occurring within the City’s rural marae.
Some land within the City zoned Rural has been identified in the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement as future growth areas for the sub-region. These areas adjoin the Western Bay of Plenty District and include the medium term Te Tumu Future Urban Zone located at the eastern edge of the City and the longer term Rural Zoned Growth Areas at upper Ohauiti Road, Pukemapu Road, Neewood Road, Kaitemako Road and Keenan Road at the southern edge of the City. The geographic extent of these areas and their indicative sequencing are described in the Regional Policy Statement, which includes objectives, policies and methods on implementing growth management in the sub-region. The Plan must give effect to the Regional Policy Statement.
One key purpose of the Rural Zones in the southern edge of the City (adjoining the Western Bay of Plenty District) is to manage the cumulative effects of any fragmentation of productive rural land through subdivision and development in the interim period until such land may be needed for urban development.
This approach supports the continued use of these areas for rural activity, prior to effective and efficient development of land for urban purposes and the associated provision and funding of essential infrastructure in the long term. A similar policy approach applies to the Te Tumu Future Urban Zone.