When deciding whether to adopt, accept, convert, or reject a private plan change, the council needs to consider the integrated effects of the change, how the private plan change impacts on the operative plan's approach to sustainable management, what parties need to be notified of the private plan change and the cumulative effects of all private plan changes in the area. It also needs to assess the environmental effects of the proposal, including reverse sensitivity, and the infrastructure services available.
- Consider the cumulative effect on the surrounding area from the request
- Examine the proposed change's consistency with the operative plan's direction and framework
- Examine the proposed change's consistency with any relevant national environmental standards or policy statements, the regional policy statement, regional plans, the district plans or proposed plans of neighbouring authorities and regulations made under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012.
- Determine whether the proposed change is consistent with regulations relating to taiapure or fisheries conservation or management, and planning documents recognised by iwi authorities
- Take into account any relevant planning document recognised by an iwi authority, and lodged with the council
- Recognise and provide for the matters in a planning document prepared by a customary marine title group undersection 85of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 to the extent that they relate to the relevant customary marine title area; and take into account the matters in the document to the extent that they relate to a part of the common marine and coastal area outside of the customary marine title area of the relevant group
- Assess whether the services required to support the change can be provided at a rate that the community can cope with economically and physically
- Consider if further information is required under s92 including other relevant reports, modification of the private plan change request with permission from the applicant
- Take a broader view and assess all relevant matters including the potential for reverse sensitivity, impact on amenity, traffic impacts, ecological values, earthworks, runoff effects of the proposal
- Determine which parties, if any need to be notified of the proposed private plan change.
A council must also assess the private plan change under Part II, including:
- Assessing whether the private plan change will meet the purpose of the RMA (s5)
- Considering matters of national importance under the RMA (s6)
- Having regard to matters listed at s7 of the RMA
- Taking into account the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (s8)
- Analysing the necessity, effectiveness and efficiency of, and alternatives to, the proposed change (s32).
A council does not need to take transitional plans into account (although it might be prudent to do so).
A council must not have regard to trade competition or the effects of trade competition (s66(3) and 74(3)).
Identification of affected parties by council
Affected parties must be identified when considering the notification of private plan changes.
- A site visit should be undertaken to assist with identifying who may be directly affected.
The process taken to identify affected parties should be a wider approach than that that would be undertaken for a resource consent. In particular, the policy implications and potential impacts on the surrounding community, including interest groups should be taken into account.
Notification decision by council
When making a decision on notification, the council should ensure that:
the provisions as set out under clause 5(1A) of the First Schedule have been met (clause5(1C) for regional councils)
adequate reasoning and conclusions are provided - including the reasoning as to why and why not persons/parties have been identified as being directly affected or not directly affected
all relevant effects have been taken into account
all parties identified as being affected by the proposal have been directly notified, and that there is no reliance on indirect notification e.g. via the local newspaper (refer to clause 5(1A) where there is a requirement on the council to send a copy of the public notice to any other person who, in the territorial authority's opinion, is directly affected by the (request) (or clause 5(1C) for regional councils)).
Record keeping and documentation by council
Record keeping and documentation of all decisions and steps is critical in all plan change processes, including the private plan change process.
- Keep file notes or other written records of all conversations and meetings relating to a private plan change application (prior to and after receipt of a private plan change application)
- Keep file notes or other written records of the reasons why the decision was made as to whether to adopt, reject, or accept the proposed plan change
- Maintain written documentation of the reasoning and conclusions for the notification decision associated with the private plan change application.
The applicant should also maintain good records and documentation, as it is likely that the applicant will hold meetings with other parties that do not always include the council.