After receiving the request for a private plan change, the council can request further information from the applicant as per clause 23 of Schedule 1 of the RMA within 20 workings days of lodgement. This additional information can be in relation to the effects and their mitigation, the section 32 evaluation report, or consultation, including consultation with tangata whenua. On receipt of the further information the council then has 15 working days to ask for any additional information if necessary.
The council can also commission a report about the requested private plan change, within 20 working days of receiving the request. The council must inform the applicant about the report. The council would normally pass on the costs of any such report to the applicant and as such it is good practice for the council to liaise with the applicant over the expected cost of the report.
Written reasons must be given for the further or additional information request or for the need to commission a report. The applicant can refuse to provide the information sought, or can refuse to agree to the report being commissioned, and can request that the council proceed with the original request. If the council subsequently considers that there is insufficient information to process the private plan change request, it may reject the request or not approve the plan change sought.
All additional information or matters of clarification relating to the request should be sought prior to the council making a decision whether to accept the request in whole or in part, convert the request to a resource consent, adopt, or reject the request. The need for further information should be assessed as soon as practicable in the process.