Review of Draft District Plan underway
19 Apr 2022, 4:52 PM
For the past few years, Waitomo District Council staff have been undertaking a review of the Waitomo District Plan.
Council is required by law to review the district plan every 10 years. It has been a huge undertaking, and we’re not there yet.
We are now consulting on the proposed changes and will be seeking feedback. Feedback on the draft plan will need to be sent into the Council by 31 May 2022.
What is a district plan?
A district plan makes rules about where we can subdivide, the location and height of buildings, what activities we can do and where we can do them. It also controls things like nuisance – so that the places we live in are com-fortable and safe. It protects special places and buildings in the District. It is totally different than the Long Term Plan. The Long Term Plan is all about what projects the Council is going to undertake, and when, and how these will be funded.
Why is the current district plan being reviewed?
Under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) Council is required to review its district plan every 10 years. Why? To make sure it is up to date with new national policies and regulations and responds to new challenges (i.e. affordable housing options). A lot has changed since the last district plan was prepared; one example is how our district plan looks and is now regulated by national standards (National Planning Standards) – so it won’t be the same as it is now.
We have been reviewing the current District Plan since 2017. During the review process, the Council has consulted with mana whenua, residents, landowners and stakeholders.
The Council has also worked with communities to develop Town Concept Plans for Te Kūiti, Piopio, Mokau, Waitomo Caves Village and Benneydale, discussed coastal hazards and erosion with affected communities and con-sulted on significant natural areas with landowners. The new zoning that is proposed for each property has also been on the Council’s website for well over a year.
Feedback from these processes has guided the development of the Draft District Plan. We are currently receiving feedback on the draft, and following this the Proposed District Plan will be notified for formal public consultation.
How could the new district plan affect me?
• It might mean you can now operate a business from your property
• It could change how much land you need to subdivide
• It may mean there are new areas identified on your property that need to be protected for their cultural or natural values
• It might mean there are new rules about where you can construct a building on your property
• It could mean there are new rules about how you build e.g. your prop-erty might be located within a building platform suitability area
The district plan could also affect you by changing what happens in your neighbourhood. Some land has been rezoned, so it can now be used for industrial or commercial purposes.
The district plan impacts on almost everything you do across the Waitomo District – setting out the activities you can or can’t do, where you can con-struct buildings, and what activities you need a resource consent for.
The district plan also controls any adverse effects of activities between you and your neighbours. For example, how much noise you can make, whether you can subdivide your land or how close to a boundary you can build your house.
It also looks after other important aspects of the District such as cultural values, historic heritage, natural environment and biodiversity – ensuring our District retains its unique characteristics for future generations.
We're consulting on the Draft District Plan
Before we notify the Proposed District Plan, we are undertaking the following:
1. Releasing a full Draft District Plan and seeking your feedback;
2. Writing to residents who have a proposed heritage building or structure on their property;
3. Writing to residents who have a site or area of significance to Maori on their property;
4. Making the zoning and overlays live on the Council website, so people can view their property and see whether there has been a change in zoning. There will also be fact sheets explaining key changes.
We encourage you to check our website and look up your property and any changes that may affect you. There will be an opportunity to provide feedback from 19 April to 31 May 2022.
Your feedback will help us to get the document as right as we can before it is formally notified. Council staff will present the feedback received on the Draft Plan to Council for consideration ahead of formal notification. When the Plan is formally notified there will be an opportunity to lodge a submission and talk to your submission at a hearing.
If you would like to have a chat about it then please contact the Council on 07 878 0800 or email [email protected].
Keep an eye on the Council’s dedicated District Plan Facebook page for regular updates as well.