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Land Use Capability reports

16 March 2015

AUTHOR:Kevin Birch

What are LUC’s and when do we need them?

There are situations which arise which require the productive capability of rural land to be assessed. These are commonly referred to as Land Use Capability reports (LUC’s). Historically the soils in NZ were mapped and classified according to the various uses that could be made of the land. Factors such as soil type, steepness of the land, susceptibility to erosion, drainage characteristics all contributed to the Land use classification. In general terms the most versatile land was classified as Class I and any land up to Class III was considered versatile. These mapping units are relatively broad brush in nature, and in any particular site, may not be reliable.

Because of the extent of versatile land across the Franklin region, Council have frequently used the Land Use Capability as a means to control rural subdivision. Either requiring rural lots to be capable of being used productively, or alternatively restricting the extent of versatile land in small rural lifestyle lots.

The current rules in Franklin, which enable the transfer of rural lots, and the adjustment of existing lots both have reference to the extent of versatile in the existing and new lots. Where Councils are not prepared to accept the existing maps as evidence of land use capability, then an updated assessment and report is required.

LUCs provide a written assessment on how land is capable of being used and are frequently required as part of a rural subdivision assessment, particularly where subdivided lot contains a percentage of versatile land.