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Processing Applications - Subdivision, Land Use and Permitted Boundary Activities

From 3 March 2015 the government has put in place expanded requirements for the information that must be provided to Councils with resource consent applications.

These can be found in Schedule 4 to the Resource Management Act (95 KB) Adobe PDF document.

The Council now has to return incomplete applications.

The government’s intention is that Council only accept complete applications – so as to avoid delays in the long-run.

Please therefore ensure that all required aspects are fully addressed in your application.

The following is an outline of the procedure the Council will follow in processing your subdivision or land use application.

Initial Assessment for Completeness

This is a check for application completeness, i.e. has Resource Consent application form 9 [PDF, 1.7 MB] Adobe PDF document been filled in, have all the matters required to be addressed (Schedule 4 (95 KB)Adobe PDF document) been addressed, have five copies been submitted, has the fee deposit been paid?

Note: Five copies are required for subdivisions and 'larger' landuse consent applications.  For 'smaller' ones contact the Duty Planner

If the answer is NO to any of the questions, Council will return the application to you with reasons outlining why it is not complete.

Council has to make a decision on completeness of your application within 10 working days of receiving it.

If you re-lodge the application with all the required information the Council has to treat it as if it were a new application.

Note that for Controlled and Restricted Discretionary applications the matters to be addressed are those to which Council has reserved its control and restricted its discretion respectively, as set out in the District Plan.

Initial Assessment - of Content

Once the application has been accepted as being Complete it will be checked for Content i.e. has enough information been supplied to allow everyone to understand exactly what you are proposing and what effects it will have?

If necessary, further information will be requested from you.

If you receive a further information request within 20 working days (10 working days for qualifying controlled land use activities) of lodging the application with Council the processing of the application will be suspended until the further information is received.

You have 15 working days to respond with the further information (or advise Council in writing that the information will be provided). If the information is not received within the 15 working days (or other date as advised), Council must continue to process the application. If it does not have sufficient information this is likely to mean consent will be refused.

The Council can make additional requests for further information, but must continue to process the application.

If the application is being processed through the notified or limited notified process you (as applicant) can ask for processing to be suspended.

However – the total period an application can be suspended (for all reasons) is 130 working days.

After that Council will have to return the application to you or continue to process it. Again, if Council has insufficient information, this is likely to mean consent will be refused.

Notification/Non Notification

As part of its initial assessment the Council has to decide whether your proposal needs to be publicly notified, processed with “limited notification”, or processed without notification.

In some cases controlled activity, and restricted discretionary and discretionary activity applications for subdivision and residential activities, can not be publicly notified. Some controlled land use activities can't be "limited notified" either. (See below)

For other applications it makes this decision based on the likely effects of your proposal and the response of the affected people. The process for each is outlined below.

Non Notified
  • The Planning Officer usually visits the site. If necessary comments are sought from Engineering and Building staff.
  • The Planning Officer then writes a report on your proposal – based on the information you have submitted, staff comments, the District Plan requirements and the Resource Management Act provisions.
  • In most cases, a decision will be made under delegated authority by two members of staff. In some cases, a hearing will be held by the Hearings and Judicial Committee (or Commissioners) and a decision made.
  • Depending on how the decision is made (by staff delegation or by hearing) the decision made can be objected to, either to the Hearings and Judicial Committee or Independent Commissioners (note - for the latter, the costs are payable by the objector.)
  • In some cases the decision can also be appealed to the Environmental Court.
  • Staff may need to make contact with you during the processing and consideration of your application. This will normally be to ensure that we have a full understanding of your proposal. Please feel free to keep in contact with staff.
  • If no Hearing is held the decision has to be issued within 20 working days of the application being lodged, or within 10 working days if the application is for a qualifying Controlled Activity land use consent.
Notified
  • The Council will place a public notice in the local newspaper within 20 working days from lodgement of the Application, calling for submissions (submission period is open for 20 working days). Form 13 - Submission on Application Publicly Notified [PDF, 110 KB] Adobe PDF document
  • The Planning Officer will visit the site. If necessary, comments are sought from Engineering and Building Staff.
  • The Planning Officer then writes a report on your proposal – based on the information you have submitted, the submissions received, any other staff comments, the District Plan requirements and the Resource Management Act provisions.
  • If a Hearing is required the staff report has to be provided to all parties 15 working days before the Hearing starts.
  • You (the applicant) have to provide your evidence to Council 10 working days before the Hearing starts.
  • Submitters have to provide their expert evidence to all parties 5 working days before the Hearing starts.
  • The Hearing must be completed 75 working days after the submission period closes.
  • In most cases Hearings are held by the Hearings and Judicial Committee of Council. In some cases independent Commissioners will be used.
  • In addition applicants or submitters can request that an independent commissioner be appointed, to hear and decide the application, within 5 working days of submissions closing (note the responsibility for costs associated with appointing a commissioner are set out in Section 36(1) of the Resource Management Act.
  • Depending on how the decision is made (by staff delegation or by hearing) the decision can be objected to, either to the Hearings and Judicial Committee or Independent Commissioners. (Note for the latter the costs are payable by the objector.)
  • In some cases the decision can also be appealed to the Environment Court.
  • If no Hearing is required the decision has to be issued no more than 20 working days after the close of the submission period.
Limited Notification

“Limited Notification” is a category of notification which relates only to those resource consent applications where council staff have determined that the activity will have or is likely to have only minor effects on the environment, but where an affected party approval has not been obtained. In this case, the application would be notified only to the party or parties who are deemed to be adversely affected and have not provided written approval. Only these parties will be able to make a submission on the resource consent application and participate in a hearing. The remainder of the process is the same as for a publicly notified application except that the Hearing must be completed 45 working days after the submission period closes.

If there is no Hearing the decision must be issued no more than 20 working days after the submission period closes.

Direct Referral

Amendments to the Resource Management Act in 2009 allow projects of National Significance (See Part 6AA, Resource Management Act) to be directly referred to the new Environmental Protection Authority, or Environment Court. Please talk to staff before lodging your application if you are considering direct referral.

Permitted Boundary Applications

The following is an outline of the procedure the Council will follow in processing your permitted boundary application:

Initial Assessment for Completeness 

This is a check for application completeness i.e. has Deemed Permitted Boundary Activity application - form 9A [PDF, 1.6 MB] Adobe PDF document been filled in, have all the following been provided:

  • description of activity;
  • plan (to scale) of site showing height, shape and location of proposed building, signed by the owners of the affected properties;
  • full name and address of each owner;
  • full name and address of each affected neighbour;
  • written approval for Deemed Permitted Boundary Activity - form 8B [PDF, 1.5 MB]  Adobe PDF document.

If all the information is not included the Council has to return the application to you. You can then resubmit it once you have all the required information.

Certification

Once Council receives all of the required information it will issue you with a certificate advising that the proposal is a permitted activity.

Refusal of Certificate

If you are not able to provide all of the required information e.g. an affected owner refuses to provide consent to your proposal, you would have to apply for a resource consent if you still wanted to proceed.

Your application would then be limited notified to the affected owner.

Timeframe

A certificate will be issued, or the application returned to you, within 10 working days of you lodging the application with Council.