Working with the Private Plan Change Process

Councils can enable, or facilitate, the private plan change process, and reduce its complexity and length. Councils should work closely with the applicant at all stages.  

  • Be receptive to private plan changes as a legitimate tool under the RMA. Provide information for applicants and for the general public on how the private plan change process works. The community needs to understand how councils make decisions about private plan changes.  

  • Involve developers in district growth strategy discussions, to help identify the potential for private plan changes for rezoning.  

  • Provide training and education for council staff on the private plan change process, and ensure staff are up to date with relevant case law.  

  • Create a project group or a support team to deal with applications. Applicants will benefit from meeting with all the necessary council staff to share ideas and information. Early guidance can greatly increase the efficiency of the process.  

  • Deal with requests for private plan changes quickly. Remember that their purpose is to avoid 'plan paralysis'.  

  • Monitor the time frames and costs of processing the private plan changes and compare with the time frames and costs in other districts and regions.  

  • Map all private plan changes for rezoning, to get an idea of where and what development pressures are occurring.  

  • Monitor the cumulative effects of private plan changes, what kind of changes are being sought, and the overall use of private plan changes in the district or region.