visionary thinking

Definitions 1 Freeloading

In our work we have a tendency to use jargon. An example is the term "freeloading" which can unfortunately be interpreted several ways.

Here is what we mean by the term.

The term "freeloading" in the land development field is used to describe the situation where one party benefits at the expense of another without the possibility of recovery or contribution of funds toward the cost of development whether it be at the time of the expense or at a later date.

Two examples of where this occurs though the RMA zoning process are detailed below:

1.0 The rezoning of greenfield land from rural to urban use.

The vast majority of this work in South Auckland has been funded by the Private Sector. The Private Sector being the larger developers, who have acquired sufficient land to make the effort worthwhile. The Special Housing Areas established under HASHA legislation are included as Private Sector developments.

The preparation of an application to rezone land will cost a minimum of $1 million. In order to justify this expense one should aim to rezone at least 50 hectares of land to keep the cost at a reasonably manageable level of $20,000 per hectare.

The land covered by the application will almost certainly include multiple titles and landowners. The landowners will all have different views and aspirations for their land. This will vary from do nothing to rezone to the maximum possible density. The willingness to fund the application will follow the same pattern with the consequence that some will pay more per hectare and others receive the rezoning at no cost.

In the private sector this work has to be done by agreement as there are no means of compulsion. The application when presented to Council is usually developed to a higher standard to enable a consensus landowner view to be achieved. Without a consensus view the application does not proceed remembering it represents the participating landowners views.

In general the landowner participation in RMA rezoning processes varies from 60% to 95%. This translates into from between 5% to 40% of the landowners "freeloading". The net effect is the cost of rezoning for those contributing landowners potentially can double to $40,000 per hectare.

2.0 Submissions to applications for rezoning; Plan Changes.

As part of the rezoning process the application will be subject to the normal RMA submission and hearing processes. Having the application open to public scrutiny is a good thing but one of the consequences is there will be submissions from adjacent properties wanting the zoning to be extended to include the submitter's property. These submissions are called "Me Too" submissions.

These "Me Too" submitting parties have made no contribution to the cost of the application that created the opportunity but expect to receive the benefit; again an example of "freeloading".

In closing, whilst "freeloading" remains a part of the private sector funded RMA plan change process it will continue to cause frustration, cost and delay in development delivery.