What is a plan change and does it really affect you?
District (also read City) Councils are required to maintain a planning document (District or City Plan) which sets out the rules on how you can use your land and when you can subdivide your land. This is required under the Resource Management Act (RMA).
These rules set out when you need “resource consents” for certain activities and when you don’t. A typical rule will include the right to erect a dwelling on a property without obtaining a resource consent. However the rule will also set out the relevant controls – eg The dwelling must be located a certain distance from a boundary. If these controls are not met then a resource consent will be required. Similar rules will exist for subdivisions, and almost without exception all subdivisions will require a resource consent. It is an offence to undertake an activity without a consent if one is required, and Councils regularly prosecute offenders, often resulting in significant fines.
A Plan Change is a process Councils undertake on an increasingly regular basis to change these rules. Changes to the RMA now enables councils to choose how to review their plans provided each provision of the plan or policy statement has undergone a review or alteration at least once in the preceding 10 years. (More information on this process can be obtained at : http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/rma/rma-amendment-act-factsheets-2009/fact-sheet-5.pdf)
Our Land Surveyors in Pukekohe and Tauranga maintain a watchful eye on plan changes, and make submissions on behalf of the general public and as requested by our clients.
My next published article will look at how this affects you and what you can do about it.