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Planned zoning changes in Tuakau withdrawn ahead of District Plan Review


The Waikato District Council decided today to withdraw a separate plan change to introduce residential zoning changes for Tuakau and to include its intent in the proposed new Waikato District Plan due to be notified early next year.

The resolution to withdraw proposed Plan Change 16 (PC 16) was made on the basis that the proposed District Plan would address the growth of Tuakau and provide significantly more flexible options for residential development than the notified version of PC 16, effectively addressing the many submissions seeking greater flexibility. Other reasons given for the withdrawal were the number of legislative and policy changes that had occurred since PC 16 was notified.

The vote went to a division with eight Councillors in favour and six against.

Late last month the Council’s Strategy & Finance Committee recommended the Council should allow  PC 16 to ‘lie on the table’ rather than withdraw it, but independent legal advice provided to the Council was that keeping PC 16 ‘alive’ without making it operative would have no practical effect. 

Resource consent applications would continue to be assessed under the operative Franklin Section of the District Plan since proposed new rules under PC 16 would have no legal standing. The option to leave PC 16 ‘on the table’ would, instead, create uncertainty and could set unreasonable expectations that an application may be successful.

Plan Change 16 was notified in July last year to give effect to Stage One, only, of the Tuakau Structure Plan that was adopted in 2014 to provide a 30 year planning framework to manage Tuakau’s future growth.  All stages of the Tuakau Structure Plan (Stages One to Three) will be included in the proposed new District Plan due to be notified next year.

Residents and ratepayers are invited to another drop-in session at the Tuakau Memorial Hall at 2.30-4.30pm on Friday 15 September if they want to discuss the move with Council staff.  Councillors will also be available for the first hour of the drop-in session.

Waikato District Council General Manager Strategy and Support, Tony Whittaker says since Plan Change 16 was notified, a number of national and regional policy changes have come into effect, including the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity, the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017, and a North Waikato Business Case on sub-regional development, all of which have a bearing on Plan Change 16.

“All these changes have made it much more complex to proceed with Plan Change 16 and it will be easier to deal with the intent of the proposed changes through the District Plan Review next year instead,” he says. 

Mr Whittaker says 52 submissions were received on Plan Change 16, but many of them had either requested its withdrawal or its deferral until matters raised could be dealt with in a more comprehensive way through the District Plan Review.