Planning Guidance & Resource Consents
The Planning Department carries out processes under the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Operative South Waikato District Plan relating mainly to subdivisions and land use. The District Plan is used to guide the development of the District to ensure effects of activities are managed in an appropriate manner.
Resource Management Act 1991
The purpose of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources in New Zealand. The RMA governs the use and development of land, air and water resources and focuses on managing the effects of activities on the environment.
What is the District Plan?
The District Plan is designed to control the activities of people to ensure they do not have harmful effects on the surrounding area and the environment. To achieve this, the District Plan provides zoning throughout the district. Some activities can only be practiced in certain zones and not in others, unless a resource consent is granted.
The current District Plan document and zoning maps can be found in the "Strategies, Plans and Policies" section of this site.
What is a Resource Consent?
A resource consent is a formal, written permission to undertake an activity on a particular site. If you wish to undertake an activity that is not listed as permitted in the district plan, or does not comply with the district plan rules, then a resource consent is required.
To ensure effects on the environment are managed, your application can be refused, approved with conditions or approved with no conditions. If you are unsure of whether your activity requires a resource consent, please contact the Council Planning Department to discuss your proposal with the duty planner.
How do I apply for a Resource Consent?
An application for resource consent must be made on Council’s standard resource consent application form. Checklists are also provided for you to work through to ensure that you provide all of the information necessary for the processing of your application.
You need to make sure that you provide enough information for planning staff to consider your proposal, otherwise further details may be required and this can delay your application. Sometimes you will need to seek advice from a specialist eg, planner, landscape architect, registered engineer, surveyor, traffic engineer or other such person.
Please click here to access the application forms and relevant checklists. Forms are also available from Council offices.
If you have any questions or require assistance with completing your application form, please contact the duty planner.
How much will a resource consent cost?
Resource consents vary, with a current minimum fee of $350.00. However, more complex applications may require a more involved assessment and this will be reflected in the fee. Generally the fee for processing a resource consent application is 'actual costs' with a set deposit payable when you bring your application into Council. Click here for a list of Council Fees and Charges.
Do I have to get my neighbours' approval for my proposed activity?
When you apply for a resource consent planning staff will determine if anyone else could be affected by your proposal. If planning staff consider a third person(s) may be affected, then you are asked to explain your proposal to that person(s) and get signed approval on an Affected Party Approval form and on a copy of the site plans. This form can be obtained from Council offices or downloaded here.
Discussing a proposal with your neighbours and getting their written approval before you apply for a resource consent can reduce the time it takes for your application to be processed. It can be more time consuming and more costly to change a resource consent application once it has been applied for.
Does my application need to be publicly notified?
A planner will assess your application and determine whether it needs to go through the public notification process. If the application is publicly notified a public notice will appear in the newspaper, notice will be served on affected parties, and a sign may be placed on the property. This will give people the opportunity to make a submission on the application. In most cases, the submission period is 20 working days.
How long will the consent take to be processed?
If a resource consent application is not notified, then it must be processed within 20 working days. The application can however be placed on hold or rejected if there is insufficient information to properly assess the proposal. Council may in special circumstances extend the 20 working day timeframe. Non-notified applications are generally able to be approved under a delegated authority and do not need to go to a Council hearing.
A resource consent that is notified generally takes up to 70 working days to process. After the submission period, a planning report is prepared and a hearing will be held if necessary. Anyone wishing to voice their opinions or concerns can attend the hearing and are given an opportunity to speak. The applicant has a right to reply at this time. A decision is generally made at the hearing unless circumstances require the decision to be deferred. Written notice of the decision is sent to the applicant and any submitters within 15 working days of the hearing.
If an applicant or submitter is unhappy with the decision, they have a right of appeal to the Environment Court.
What is Resource Consent Monitoring?
If Council has granted a resource consent that is subject to conditions, then Council monitors the activity to ensure that it complies with these conditions.
What Compliance and Enforcement procedures are in place?
If anyone undertakes an activity without obtaining the necessary resource consent, or does not comply with any conditions of an approved consent, the Council is obliged to investigate and take action to ensure that requirements are met.
What zones do we have in the district?
Each property in the district is located in a specific zone and each zone has separate rules determining the scale and use of buildings and other structures. Brochures giving guidelines around these rules are available from Council offices or can be downloaded from the links below.
If you are not sure what zone your property is in or if you have any queries regarding the information in the brochures, please contact the duty planner.
For more information contact the Planning Assistant