What is a Resource Consent?
The District Plan aims to control the effects of activities to ensure they do not have harmful impact on the surrounding environment. To achieve this, activities are either permitted or provided for as controlled, discretionary, non-complying or prohibited activities under the rules of the District Plan.
A resource consent is a permission to undertake an activity on a particular site if a rule in the District Plan requires it. A resource consent may have conditions to control the effects of the activity on the environment.
When do I need a Resource Consent?
You will need to refer to the District Plan, if you are unsure, discuss your proposal with a Council Planner who will advise you.
What types of activities could require a Resource Consent?
- New buildings (if outside the District Plan rules)
- Working on protected trees
- Quarrying and mining
- New dwellings if outside the District Plan Rules
- Visitor accommodation
The District Plan provides zoning throughout the District. Certain activities that are permitted in one zone, may not be in another.
How do I apply for a Resource Consent?
You will need to obtain an application form from the Council. You will need to make sure you provide all of the information requested, including an assessment of the environmental effects. Sometimes you will need to get advice from a specialist e.g. planner, landscape architect, registered engineer, surveyor, traffic engineer, etc. to assist you with your application.
What is it going to cost?
Does my application need to be publicly notified?
A resource consent will be publicly notified if the effects on the environment are more than minor and if there are people who are affected by the proposal.
A planner will assess your application and determine whether it needs to be publicly notified. If Publicly Notified, people directly affected by your application will be informed, a sign will be placed on the property for a period of time, and public notice will be made in the paper. This allows any person to make a submission on the application. In most cases, the submission period is 20 working days, but this can be extended for complex applications.
How long will the consent take to be processed?
Non-notified resource consents must be processed within 20 working days, although Council can suspend an application if further information is needed. Processing times can also be extended, if needed. Non-notified applications can generally be approved under delegated authority and do not require a Council Hearing.
Notified resource consents are a more lengthy process taking up to 70 working days to complete. Following the submission period, planning reports are prepared and a hearing date is set. Any submitters can attend the hearing and applicants have a right of reply to objections.
Decisions are generally reserved at the completion of the hearing. Within 15 working days of the hearing being completed, a written decision of the Council is sent to the applicant and submitters.
Applicants or submitters dissatisfied with any decision have a right of appeal to the Environment Court. Further details can be obtained from Council.
Resource Consent Monitoring
If a resource consent for an activity is approved, the Council is required to monitor the activity to ensure it complies with the approval and any specified conditions.
Compliance and Enforcement
If anyone undertakes an activity without obtaining any necessary resource consent the Council is obliged to investigate and ensure that necessary consents are obtained.
People who commit an offence against the Resource Management Act (RMA) can face penalties.
How can I find out about the Resource Management Act (RMA)?
The Ministry for the Environment has put out a series of useful guidelines.