What is a Private Plan Change
The Resource Management Act 1991 allows any person to seek changes to the District Plan through a request for a private plan change. The Council can also initiate plan changes.
All plan changes are required to go through public notification, submissions and hearings processes, including the right of appeal to the Environment Court.
Private plan changes can be used to change or introduce new provisions into the District Plan, for a variety of situations, including but not limited to:
- Rezoning of land.
- Addition of a building to the schedule of heritage buildings.
- Amendments to rules.
Should I apply for a private plan change?
If your proposal is site specific, one-off, and/or a small scale project, it may be more appropriate for you to apply for a resource consent. Essentially a resource consent grants permission for an activity, while a private plan change alters the District Plan itself.
We actively monitor the effectiveness of the District Plan and will regularly initiate plan changes to respond to emerging issues. If your proposal is not an issue we are proposing to deal with through the plan change process, you have the option of applying for a private plan change.
What does the private plan change process involve?
If you have decided to investigate the viability of undertaking a private plan change, you will need to be familiar with the process below.
- The applicant lodges a private plan change request with us. This must be in writing and express your reasons for the plan change and describe the environmental effects of the proposal, with supporting technical evidence. You will need to produce a plan change document that includes an explanation of the proposed change and a section 32 report which considers the appropriateness of the plan change and assesses the costs and benefits of the environmental, economic, social and cultural effects anticipated from the plan change.
- We process the request. We can request further information and commission reports if necessary.
- We modify the request with the applicant’s permission, if appropriate.
- The Council decides whether to adopt as one of Council’s own plan changes (in which case Council takes the lead), accept as a private plan change for processing, reject the plan change request, or to convert the request to a resource consent.
- The Council publicly notifies that it has adopted or accepted the plan change, allowing submissions and further submissions from the public to be made.
- The Council holds a hearing if required, where it assesses the plan change, and the submissions made. Plan Change proposals may be heard by Councillors who are accredited commissioners, by independent commissioners who are not councillors, or by a mix. The Council will then publicly notify its decision.
- Any submitter can appeal the Council’s decision to the Environment Court within 30 working days.
How long does it take?
A basic private plan change can take between six months to one year to process. A more complex plan change could take two years to process.
An application containing evidence of appropriate consultation and complete and correct information will take less time to process.
How much will a private plan change cost?
You will require expert advice from a planning consultant to prepare the private plan changes. Any costs associated with this are at your own expense.
The Council requires a deposit Fees & Charges on receipt of a private plan change to process the application. This is only a deposit and additional fees are likely to be required. This cost covers all staff time, professional expertise and associated notification costs. The total cost of a private plan change will depend on the scope of the request
How do I apply for a private plan change?
Before preparing your application it is best to arrange a meeting with one of our District Planning Team. It is also advisable to hire a planning consultant to help you prepare your application.