About the District Plan Changes
What is a District Plan?
It's the community's key document for managing the way people use their land. There are objectives and policies that set out what we want the district to look like and how we will balance landuse issues when they are in conflict. Rules in the plan set out what activities you can do as of right (permitted activities) and what activities we need to look at more carefully through a resource consent application. These rules cover things like how land can be subdivided, the height and location of buildings, where commercial and industrial activities can go, protection of heritage sites and management of noise.
You may have heard or know about the council’s Long Term Plan (LTP) and also the Annual Plan. The LTP is different to the District Plan. The Long Term Plan includes the vision and goals for the district over 10 years. It also includes what council is planning on doing and why, how much it will cost, and how it will be funded. The Annual Plan is a more detailed break down of this for the year ahead.
What parts of the District Plan are changing?
Most of our District Plan is over ten years old, and the Resource Management Act says we need to kick off a review at 10 years. Taupō district has grown and changed a lot in that time and some of the rules are no longer appropriate. We have been thinking about the best way to review the District Plan and make sure that the document is effective for the current day and the things our community want to do.
The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) is the legal document that tells us what we need in our District Plan. The Government is currently making changes to the RMA and in future it will be replaced by the Natural and Build Environment Act (NBEA). There will also be two additional Acts that will work alongside the NBEA, called the Strategic Planning Act and the Climate Adaption Act.
There is a lot of uncertainty about what our future planning framework will look like at present. Rather than spending a lot of time and money reviewing our entire District Plan (which would likely change under the NBEA), we have decided to focus on the parts of the plan that have the most issues. We will look to resolve these through a series of plan changes. By tidying up these parts of the plan, we will be ensuring that it is operating as efficiently as possible while we transition to a new planning system.
Throughout 2022 we will be consulting on the first bundle of plan changes. This bundle includes:
- Strategic Directions – new chapter to replace the current Significant Resource Management Issues chapter
- Rural Environment – full review of all rural chapters
- Residential building coverage – change of coverage rule only
- Industrial – additional industrial land zonings
- Town Centres:
- review of the building height limits in the town centre,
- review of the temporary activity rule
This will be followed by a second bundle of plan changes which will include the Residential Chapter, Turangi urban area and Maori Purpose zone.
How have we come up with the draft material?
Over the past two years we have talked to a lot of key stakeholders and collected a lot of data from consents and development. Through conversations with iwi partners, developers, community groups, real estate agents and other councils we have put together the key issues that we think need to be addressed through plan changes. However we may not have got everything right or addressed everything, so now is the chance for you to let us know if there are other issues we may need to have a look at.
The process from here
At this stage we are still consulting informally. You can make a submission however you like. Send us an email or give us a call to have a chat. We are also happy to meet with you to discuss key issues. Once we have received feedback we will make some further changes and develop the full evaluation reports (these are known as section 32 reports, which are required to accompany any district plan change).
Once we think we have achieved the right balance between all the issues we will notify the plan changes. This means anyone can make a formal submission under the Resource Management Act. When we get to this stage the process is quite formal, and you need to make sure you put in your submission in the correct format and follow the correct process.
The following diagram may help understanding the process:
Consultation on the first bundle of plan changes closed on Monday 13 June 2022.
Thank you for all of the feedback received.