The RMA Quality Planning Resource

Designations in a district plan are usually included in a schedule, with the designated area also shown on the planning maps. Clear formatting and layout is essential to aid understanding by the public.  An important consideration in including designations in district plans generally is the drafting and referencing. Clarity and easy linking is important as the information is often separated by volume.  A designations schedule should clearly identify the map reference and the location of any relevant text, such as conditions, associated with a designation.   

When including a designation in a district plan and depicting it on the relevant planning map it is important to indicate the provisions that would apply to the designated land in the event that:

  1. all or part of the designation is uplifted; or
  2. an activity is proposed (subject to the requiring authority 's agreement) which is not associated with the purpose of the

This is often referred to as the 'underlying zoning' (usually consistent with the surrounding area).  For certainty, it is important to be explicit when more than one underlying zoning could be interpreted to apply (e.g. where different zones abut a road designation the district plan may state the underlying zoning extends to the road centre line).  Techniques such as overlays indicating designations and other limitations are useful to depict this.

Schedules

As good practice, a schedule of designations should include the following information in a proposed plan in respect of each designation or notice of requirement:

  • the name of the requiring authority
  • the purpose of the designation or proposed designation (sometimes known as the notation)
  • the name, address and legal description of the site
  • a cross reference to the relevant map
  • any conditions of the designation.

To improve understanding by the public and for ease of plan administration, councils should also consider adding to the schedule of designations the lapse period of the designation (default of five years but this may be extended when the designation is sought).

Maps

Designation maps must be precise.  The requiring authority and the council should provide adequate and compatible mapping systems. 

Large-scale district plan maps can make it difficult to determine the extent of designations in relation to property boundaries which can result in errors when interpreting the plan.  This is particularly important when the designation only applies to part of a site. 

Councils should work with requiring authorities at an early stage to ensure accurate, high-quality detail and maps are provided with notices of requirement.

The council should decide what the required size, scope, and standard of precision is required for the planning maps. Large-scale designations (such as those in the rural area) and complex designations such as airport approach paths often require specific maps and explanations.