Designations for public works

Designations allow public works to be carried out without land use consent. For example, building a new road or school, or new utility infrastructure.

A designation is a kind of “spot zoning" over a certain site, area or route in a District Plan.

Designations can apply to both privately-owned land and land owned by the requiring authority. Designations that apply to privately-owned land enable the requiring authority to make use of the designation, and can restrict what landowners and occupiers can do.

Only Ministers of the Crown, government agencies and network utility operators approved as requiring authorities can seek designations for land.

Designation process

The authority seeking a designation must give us notice of its intention via a process called a notice of requirement. We then decide if a notice of requirement needs to be notified

If a notice of requirement is notified this provides an opportunity for submissions to be made in support or opposition of the public work. 

Notification, submissions and hearings

Once a designation is in place it is incorporated into our District Plan. This has a similar effect to a zone in the District Plan and will usually include conditions to manage the works.

The authority may also need to submit an outline plan to us or seek an outline plan waiver before starting the public work.

Outline plan of works

When details of a public work or project on a designated site are provided after the notice of requirement is granted, an outline plan is needed.

An outline plan is not needed if:

  • the proposed work or project has been otherwise approved under the Resource Management Act 1991;
  • the details of the proposed work or project are already incorporated into the designation; or
  • we have granted a waiver to the requirement for an outline plan.

An outline plan must show:

  • the height, shape, and bulk of the public work, project, or work
  • the location on the site of the public work, project, or work
  • the likely finished contour of the site
  • vehicle access, circulation, and the provision for parking
  • the landscaping proposed
  • any other matters to avoid, remedy, or mitigate any adverse effects on the environment.

We will consider and request any changes to an outline plan within 20 working days.

Other planning approvals application(PDF, 254KB)

Outline plan waiver

The authority may apply for an outline plan waiver if they don’t believe an outline plan is necessary. 

We will consider the following:

  • the size of the effects the work or project may have
  • if the work or project is a permitted activity in the underlying zone and meets any performance standards
  • if the effects of the work or project are addressed through a regional resource consent process
  • if the information has already been provided to the territorial authority as part of the designation
  • if meeting the conditions of the designation provides adequate control and certainty.

Other planning approvals application(PDF, 254KB)