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Resource consent changes that Waikato district residents need to be aware of

A number of Resource Management Act changes come into effect today (18 October). 

One of the big changes we’re quite excited about is the new Permitted Boundary Activity process, says Consents Manager Ana Maria d’Aubert. 

“This change will make the planning approval process easier and cheaper for customers wanting to build within their boundary setbacks so long as they have their neighbour’s written approval.”

“There are some nuances with the legislation though and it’s quite specific on what rules and neighbours are looked at. A project will continue to require a resource consent if it breaches any district plan rules other than boundary rules.”

Customers may have heard that there will also be a new Fast Track process for resource consents if your proposal has a controlled activity status under the Waikato District Plan. 

“Fast Track consents are required to be processed in a maximum of 10 working days instead of 20 days. Controlled activities generally have localised effects and a common example in district is a re-sited dwelling.”

“One of the big changes to the RMA is how natural hazards are assessed for subdivisions. As a result of the changes, developers are now required to provide a risk assessment as part of their geotechnical report for subdivision. This increases the rigor of the upfront assessment to make sure the land is suitable for development. We encourage our customers to make sure their geotechnical engineer is aware of what’s required.”

In addition, how Council determines if a resource consent application needs to be notified will change from today. There are certain types of proposals that will be excluded from public notification and, in some cases, excluded from limited notification. 

“We realise that these changes may be confusing or daunting for our customers and we encourage people to contact us if they have any questions. We’re always willing to talk through these things and our Duty Planner service is a great place to start. The intent of the changes is to make things easier and cheaper for our customers and our staff so we’ve been looking forward to today.”