Change within residential areas usually takes place over long timeframes. However, it will be appropriate to undertake monitoring at the time of plan reviews or when major variations or plan changes are undertaken. An exception to this approach may be required if the Council is unsuccessful on appeal, or a major controversy arises over a particular land use. In these circumstances an investigation of what went wrong should be initiated.
The establishment of non-residential activities inevitably involves a balance between economic diversification and enabling community support services on the one hand, and protection of residential integrity, character and amenity values on the other. Some potential methods to measure and balance this issue are provided below:
- A review of complaints and feedback (whether from residents or sector groups) will be one indication of whether this balance is right.
- A review of resource consent applications may also provide information on this issue. Consents granted by the Council that appear inconsistent with the plan (or by the Environment Court on appeal) may indicate that provision for non-residential activities is inadequate.
- Consents granted that are inconsistent with plan objectives may also indicate problems with effects thresholds being too liberal or too restrictive (e.g. noise/traffic generation rules), poor definitions (particularly in activity-based plans), or poorly focused policies on which to base decisions.
- Where particular residential environments are fragile, a review of resource consents and field checks should be undertaken on a geographically targeted basis to see whether the residential integrity of the area is being maintained. Inner-city housing enclaves and areas adjacent to major centres and on arterial routes are particularly relevant in this context.
- Finally, where applications for non-residential activities have been granted, information from monitoring consents and longer-term reviews will provide some indication as to the adequacy of rules. Any rules in the plan need to be sufficiently clear to enable enforcement. Without this, the community may have their expectations of the residential integrity of their neighbourhood undermined.