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State of the Environment report on District Plan released

July 30, 2019

The Resource Management Act 1991 requires Councils to monitor the efficiency and effectiveness of their District Plans at least every five years. This report is intended to address that requirement. These reports are often also referred to as State of the Environment Reports (SoE).

Whilst the requirement is specific to the District Plan there are a wider suite of both national and local documents that will impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of the District Plan. These are referred to in this report.

The current District Plan became operative in November 2013. This report addresses areas of specific interest in the District Plan. These relate mainly to the rural living zone, rural subdivision, dwelling density and location, the rules for subdivision and development in the residential zone, natural hazards rules, noise rules in the rural zone, regional environmental issues and rules relating to Papakainga.

Generally speaking, this report finds that the Objectives and Policies of the District Plan in relation to the above matters are well structured and gives clear direction to users in relation to the above matters. There are recommended areas for development with them. Similarly, the rules relating to matters reported on are efficient and effective. Recommendations made relate to the need address certain areas of complexity or the need for clarification.

Key recommendations are that:

1. The subdivision rules for the Rural Living zone should be reviewed to encourage the further use of that zone for the purpose intended.

2. Consideration should be given to broadening the rules for the Rural zone to: a. Accommodate the subdivision of sites with a mix of soil classifications b. Introduce rules for both controlled activity and non-complying activity subdivisions c. Reviewing the policies, objectives and rules to allow for more than two dwellings on a rural property

3. Amending the rule in the Rural zone covering the proximity of dwellings on the same site to each other to reduce the required separation.

4. The minimum lot size for residential zone subdivisions remains at 400m2 and that rules be considered for specific site layout requirements and visual assessments in applications for subdivisions of less than 400m2.

5. A review of the interpretation of the rules and definitions for natural hazards (flooding) be undertaken.

6. The rules relating to the use of bird scaring devices and wind machines within close proximity to living zones be undertaken.

7. A review of the rules relating to Papakainga be undertaken.

Read the full report here