Update: The District Plan review

Council planners are slowly progressing a review of the whole plan and is are considering a

partial change to activities based rather than the too-permissive effects based current District Plan (as long advocated by VKK) – the new deadline for a draft plan is June 2018.

A Strategic Planning Committee has been formed of all Councillors, Chair Willow-Jean Prime

; Sub Committee: Chair W-J Prime (Chair) , Court, Foy, Hookway, Vujcich

Focuses of the District Plan are:

  • affordable infrastructure

  • climate change hazards resilience

  • coastal management

  • heritage

  • important landscape criteria

  • indigenous biodiversity

  • rural communities

  • rural sustainability

  • urban sustainability

  • tangata whenua relations

District Plan Objectives: mindfulness, appropriate decision making, format

Effects based v Activities Based Plans

All but three the District Plans in New Zealand are Activity Based. With these plans, environmental effects are controlled by placing like land uses together – for example – industrial and service industries.

With an effects based plan (which currently exists for the FNDC), although it makes use of “zones”, no specific effort is made to keep lands uses grouped. The “effects” of allowing a particular land use are determined for each consent but the approach is highly permissive and flexible..

The rules in the District Plan to a large extent do not control the use of land and there are no restrictions on the siting of commercial and/or industrial land uses within the zones, except through the control on the effects of such land uses. Nonetheless, by leaving the control of land uses open and only controlling effects does leave it open to something locating in an area that, while it meets all the rules, might itself be out of character and impact on amenity values.

In the Far North where most land is zoned as Rural Production, this is problematic. It allows for the fragmentation of land uses across a wide area resulting in higher servicing and infrastructure costs, environmental issues and nuisance through Incompatible activities being sited next to each other. For example, residential developments being located amongst existing orchards leads to issues such as; spray drift, smoke nuisance during pruning, noise during harvesting. These activities are expected on rural land but are activities that ‘urban residents’ do not.

Plan Change 15, which is currently being appealed to the Environment Court, seeks to deal with various activities in the Rural Production Zone by simply imposing limitations on daily traffic movements, a condition which cannot be effectively monitored (who is counting?). appreciate.

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