Any Landuse or subdivision decisions issued by Council which are subject to a public notification process can not be objected to, and can only be appealed to the Environment Court. Likewise where an objection is not accepted by Council, that decision can be also be appealed.
The Act provides that appeals must be lodged within 15 working days of receipt of the decision of Council. And the Act further provides for the format of those appeals and the information that must be provided to the Environment Court and the fees payable.
When an appeal is lodged the matter is normally referred to an Environment Court Judge who determines the process that the appeal will follow. The standard process is for the parties to be given 50 working days to consider whether negotiation or mediation can resolve the appeal. At the end of this period, the parties then update the Court with progress made to resolve the appeal.
Where appeals can not be resolved by mediation, then a Hearing will be scheduled to consider the appeal. Parties need to ensure that appropriate evidence is prepared and copies of evidence exchanged between the parties prior to the Hearing. At any stage prior to the Hearing, the parties can agree to mediate or the appeal can be withdrawn. However parties need to be mindful that the preparation of evidence can be a costly exercise, and either party can request that their costs be reimbursed by the unsuccessful party.
Based on recent experiences of Birch Surveyors Limited, my next article will look at when it is considered prudent to appeal a decision.