Thames-Coromandel District Council says it has no choice but to go to court to move people out of a commune near Whitianga, which may have to be demolished.
Wilderlands - a farming commune on the Coromandel Peninsula at Coroglen - has traded as an educational charitable trust since 1964, but the council says there are safety and sanitation problems.
Wilderlands offers an alternative lifestyle for volunteers wanting to work as a collective, from growing their own food to composting their waste.
Trust chairman Russell Mooyman says the council has been slow to provide the paperwork, but quick to impose deadlines for compliance upgrades.
Council chief executive Steve Ruru says the council has spent a long time trying to work through the problems with Wilderlands.
He says he's been forced to go to court because a notice to evacuate was ignored.
A hearing is set for 15 November.