The District Plan is periodically reviewed and updated through a process known as a plan change. Changes to the plan may be initiated by the council or by individuals.
A proposed plan change must be publicly notified, and there is then the opportunity to make a submission and then a further submission on the proposal.
The change process involves the following broad steps:
A public plan change is proposed by Council as a part of a District Plan review process. A private plan change is a change to the District Plan proposed by an applicant.
As a part of the preparation of a plan change Council will consult with interested parties, stakeholders, and hapū.
The proposed changes to the District Plan are notified and opened to the public for submissions and further submissions. Only people who are identified as “directly affected” are notified.
If submitters wish to be heard, a hearing panel hears the submissions and provides recommendations to the Council. If no submitters wish to be heard, the recommendations of the reporting planner are provided to Council.
The Council decides on whether to adopt or reject the recommendations:
- If Council decides to adopt the recommendations, the Decision will be publicly notified unless Council resolves to delay effect.
- If Council decides to reject the recommendations, the plan change process starts over.
If submitters are not satisfied with the Council decision, they are able to lodge an appeal with the Environment Court. Environment Court controls the appeal resolution process which involves mediation and court hearings.
Once all appeals have been resolved the plan change chapters become a part of the Operative District Plan.
Plan-Making Process (www.environmentguide.org.nz)