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March 2021

Environmental Planning Newsletter

Welcome to our first environmental planning newsletter for 2021! This year is going to be an exciting one for us, with the ongoing City Plan changes and the announcement of the RMA reform.  Our team are looking forward to the changes, challenges, and learnings that will be a part of this.

This year our team will continue to be highly involved in the City Plan change and review process by way of implementation and technical advice. We have also reached out to the Ministry for the Environment to be involved in the RMA reform.

We would like to introduce a new initiative, which we will be launching this year. We would like to hear from you whether you would be interested in participating in a series of focus groups or forums about the City Plan changes and RMA reform. These sessions will be aimed at sharing knowledge and ideas, as well as interpretation on how we intend to implement these changes at TCC. Please register your interest by emailing EPenquiries@tauranga.govt.nz and we will set a date for our first session following confirmation of attendees.

Contrary to what was forecast during last year’s lockdowns, we have seen a very high number of applications come in over the last four months. The high number of Resource Consent and Building Consent applications is not unique to our region, with all major centres seeing a bump in application numbers towards the end of last year. Despite this, there has been a consistent decrease in overall numbers of applications over the last few years after a very busy period in 2016/17 (728 in 2017 to 614 in 2020). Not surprisingly, we have seen an increase in discretionary and non-complying activity status applications over the last five years. These consents are usually more complex and generally take more time to assess and involve greater technical input. The increase in discretionary and non-complying activity consents has seen a concurrent decrease in controlled and restricted discretionary activity consents.

Plan Change 27 update

On the 16th November 2020, council publicly notified three plan changes, including Plan Change 27 – Flooding from intense rainfall, which has legal effect. This means that all resource and building consent applications, where required, must have regard to the proposed objectives, policies and rules from the date of public notification. 

Now that we have had a chance to work through a few applications, we have prepared some guidance material on when resource consent is required under Plan Change 27. The below infographic summarises the process:

Important Reminder - Application Lodgement

We are currently receiving a large volume of applications that cannot be accepted by our Planning Technician Team. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the following requirements to ensure your application is not returned:

Application Form

Please ensure that an Application Form is completed when lodging all Resource Consent Applications, including s223/s224 Certification Applications.  This is imperative to ensure that the correct applicant’s details are entered for each application and for financial purposes.  Applicant’s details need to include their own correct and current postal address, email address and phone numbers.  The applicant’s details cannot be care of the agent.

File size for uploading

Each document lodged must be no larger than 10MB. A document can be easily resized through PDF software. This is essential particularly when we have to add a document to our Website.  Documents larger than 10MB are more troublesome to deal with, both for us here at council and anyone from the community trying to load down a document larger than this.

Break up application documents

When submitting an application, please separate the application documents. The AEE and each appendix need be lodged as individual documents. This will allow for efficient document management, reducing time and cost being added to an application.

Maximum size plans A3

Please ensure that all applications with plans/drawings/photos have pages no larger than A3. Documents larger than A3 cannot be downloaded.

Record of Title

Please remember that a Record of Title cannot be older than 3 months, and must include the title plan.

Lodgement Fee

Processing of your application will not begin until the correct fee is paid. Please refer to the Fees and Charges listed on our website and ensure that you lodge your application with the correct fee at the time of lodging to prevent any unnecessary delays. 

Contact Number

A contact number is required to lodge an application. A contact number is a council reference attributed to a council customer (including rate payer, dog owner etc.). Where the applicant does not have a ‘contact number’ one can be requested through the contact centre (Ph: 07 577 7000 or email: info@tauranga.govt.nz).

If any of the above points are not addressed when submitting an application, the application will not be accepted, and we will ask that you update/amend and re-lodge the application.  Only then will we input the application details into our system.

If you have any questions regarding the lodgement of applications, please contact our Planning Technician Team at planning@taurnaga.govt.nz.

Online Applications

Just a reminder that council’s Online Application Portal has been updated to receive larger documents and provides an option to save an application in the portal where another party is paying the deposit fee. This portal will slowly become the sole application method over the coming months.
 
Objective Connect will still be available for uploading large s92 information responses that cannot be sent through an email. If you currently use Objective Connect we encourage you to start using the online system before it becomes mandatory.
 
Please use the on-line system in full and to the end, which includes the payment of the lodgement fee(s) applicable for the application(s) being submitted. 

Click here to apply for a resource consent online.

For assistance using the online application please contact EPenquiries@tauranga.govt.nz.

Undersized Allotments and Density Non-Compliances 

Our team has noticed an increase in the number of undersized subdivision applications which have been lodged as Comprehensively Designed Developments, where land use and subdivision matters are considered in an all-inclusive manner. The information requirements for these applications are more rigorous than a subdivision application where a permitted level of residential density is proposed.

The principal direction of the Suburban Residential Zone objectives and policies ensure:
  • Predominately low density of dwellings;
  • High on-site open space to building ratio;
  • Open space between sites is preserved; and
  • Visual and aural privacy of adjoining sites is maintained.
In some cases, the outcomes of the Suburban Residential Zone can be achieved through the combination of the minimum density provisions and the other design standards. Where a development proposes increased density, it is necessary to consider how the expected outcomes of the Suburban Residential Zone will be achieved.

As such, applications should include (but not be limited to) a design assessment with the following:
  • Interface with adjoining properties, in particular those of lower density;
  • Connectivity and transportation interface (where is the site located within the road hierarchy, where are the closest bus stops, pedestrian connectivity etc.);  
  • On-site and off-site amenity;
  • Practical function of the site;
  • Landscape plans and elevations;
  • Plan showing boundary treatments;
  • List of plant species including plant grade at time of planting, height of landscape planting once fully matured; and
  • Schedule of building and landscaping materials, including colours.
Incorporating good design principles at the early stages of the development will ensure an appropriate level of development can be accommodated and be consistent with the relevant objectives and policies. Council recommends that the Residential Outcomes Framework is used and/or an urban designer involved from the concept design stage to ensure the plan’s outcomes are achieved.

Please see our website for the Residential Outcomes Framework.

Do you know the property? 

There are two interactive web-based tools to help you search for property information. Mapi is widely known, although can be complex with multiple layers. Ensure You Know the Property is another tool that is a simplified version of Mapi and provides you with site specific information.

Ensure You Know the Property

This tool identifies specific features of a property that are critical for you to understand when looking to develop a site. The tool is easy to use, provides the relevant information with one click and identifies features such as City Plan Zoning, servicing requirements and natural hazards.

Mapi

Mapi is council’s Geographic Information System that contains layers of information regarding all the properties located in the council’s jurisdiction. Mapi contains more in-depth information regarding a property, however this is presented in broad layers rather than site specific. Ensure You Know the Property extracts its site-specific data from Mapi.

If you are having difficulty using Mapi or finding the information you are after, please call the Duty Planner who can explain how to use this tool.

"Fast Track Applications"

The Covid-19 (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020 (the Act) came into effect on 9 July 2020. The Act sets out an alternative ‘fast-track’ consenting pathway to the Resource Management Act 1991 for eligible projects, which can be applied for by anyone. An eligible project would achieve the purpose of the Act. The purpose is to urgently promote employment to support New Zealand’s recovery from the economic and social impacts of COVID-19, and support the certainty of ongoing investment across New Zealand, while continuing to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.

The fast-track consent pathway presents an exciting opportunity for developers to expedite the consenting of suitable developments. Council would like to encourage any developers that may have suitable projects to make contact and discuss the opportunity further. For further information on the Act and the fast-track process, or to set up a meeting time to discuss the suitability of a project, please contact Steph Bougen - steph.bougen@tauranga.govt.nz.

Tauranga City Boundary Changes

There are four boundary adjustments being considered by the Local Government Commission:
  • Tauriko West (Redwood Lane);
  • Belk Road;
  • Tara Road; and
  • Keenan Road.
Tauriko West transferred from Western Bay of Plenty District Council to Tauranga City Council on 1st January 2021. The remaining three areas were transferred to Tauranga City 1st March 2021.

You can view the area maps and read further information on this process on the Local Government Commission website.

What does this mean in practice?

Where you own, occupy or are an agent for development within these areas you may need to do things a little differently. Please see council’s website for further information on what the council boundary changes mean for you.

Vested Infrastructure

Where infrastructure is going to be vested to council, it is important that our Development Engineers have a good understanding of what you are proposing and how it aligns with the City Plan and our Infrastructure Development Code. As part of any resource consent application, an assessment should be provided against the relevant performance standards of Chapter 12 of the Plan. The performance standards sit under Appendices 12A-12E as follows:
  1. 12A – Transport;
  2. 12B – Stormwater;
  3. 12C – Wastewater;
  4. 12D – Water Supply; and
  5. 12E – Reserves.
The performance standards align with the Infrastructure Development Code and, by demonstrating compliance with these, the Development Engineers can quickly assess the proposal and it’s suitability.  Where this has not been provided, it will be requested via a s92 request.

New Staff

This year we are pleased to welcome four new Planners to the Team. Haley Brunel, Brian Huang, Holly Norton and Mikayla Haggo.  These four bring a range of experiences and backgrounds to complement the diverse group of Planners we currently have.  We are always keen to introduce our current and new crop to the fraternity, so if you’re interested in bringing your team in or hosting us, please contact Dylan or Stacey.

Helpful links

 
Resource Management Act 1991
Tauranga City Plan
Quality Planning
The Planning Panui will be sent out to our current mailing list and will be uploaded to council’s website. Please email EPenquiries@tauranga.govt.nz if you would like to be added or removed from this mailing list.
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