Growing Places e-newsletter

Welcome to 2017!  We trust that you have all had a restful break over Christmas and New Year.  All indications are that the coming year will be a busy one with growth continuing to occur across the Waikato District.

We hope you are finding our newsletter a useful source of information, in particular about changes we’ve made and tips that will help when preparing your building consent and resource consents applications.  We will continue these on a quarterly basis over 2017.

 If you wish to receive this via email, you can subscribe here.

Staffing update

To help us stay on top of the massive workload, we’ve increased our reliance on consultants both for building consents and resource consent.  We're still outsourcing the review of some building consents to a company in the South Island and we’ve engaged another contractor to assist with the review of building consents in the Tuakau office.

Resource Consents staff changes

Sadly we have just said farewell to Michelle Carmine one of our very capable Consents Team Leaders and also Nicola Laurenson who has been standing in for Michelle.  We are currently recruiting for these two roles.  We have appointed Deborah Scott full time as a Planner which means we will continue to have four Planners providing duty planner services alongside processing resource consents. Victor Wong will be starting with us in the position of Land Development Engineer on or about 27 February. A career officer in the Australian Army with degrees in environmental engineering and geoscience, Captain Victor Wong has decided to move across the ditch and into civilian life.

Building Consents staff changes

We have engaged the services of a further Administration Officer, Lisa Pudney, on a one-year fixed term contract to assist us with the workload in that area.  We’ve also had two Building Inspectors start with us this year; Tim Goodman and Tom Circuit. We are currently looking to recruit two more Building Review Officers to add to the team and to replace staff that have, or will be leaving us.

Processing statistics: A busy end to 2016

For the final quarter of the 2016 calendar year, we received 496 building consent applications, of which 210 were for new dwellings. These high numbers continue to put strain on our ability to process consents in a timely manner.

We received 283 resource consent applications between 1 October and 31 December. This is a 20% increase over the same period of the previous year and continues to be a demanding workload for staff across the resource consents unit.  

Tuakau

What's happening: Tuakau Structure Plan

The Tuakau Structure Plan, which was adopted by Council in December 2014, is a guide to the development of the town of Tuakau through to 2045. The plan was prepared by Waikato District Council working with local iwi, residents and key stakeholders.

Importantly, this structure plan reflects the vision of the local community for Tuakau to maintain its individual identity and character and continue to thrive as a vibrant town while absorbing the expected growth in population and development over the next 28 years.

The structure plan is a non-statutory document that will be used by Waikato District Council in a number of ways.  It will inform a plan change to the Waikato District Plan as well as a comprehensive review of this document that incorporates appropriate rezoning and development controls to enable the future growth and development of Tuakau. Furthermore, the plan and proposed staging of development will be used to guide our Long Term Plan and strategic planning of infrastructure and service delivery of projects in the town over the next 28 years.

In regard to our plan change processes, Council publicly notified Plan Change 16 (PC16) in July 2016 to; implement what is generally shown as Stage 1 of the Tuakau Structure Plan; address an immediate housing need in Tuakau and to improve the provisions relating to the industrial area on Bollard and Whangarata Roads.

On 12 December 2016, Council resolved to withdraw the industrial component of PC16 on the grounds that it is more appropriate to address new provisions for industry in Tuakau through the comprehensive district plan review currently underway.

The withdrawal of the industrial provisions does not affect the residential component of PC 16 but it does mean that some submissions concerning the proposed industrial provisions no longer require consideration as part of the PC16 process.

PC16 will therefore now address the rezoning of all properties currently zoned Rural Residential and selected blocks on Harrisville Road, Dominion Road and Barnaby Road.  This rezoning will provide for both intensive and low density residential living and address existing zone anomalies.

The PC16 provisions are based generally on the Waikato Section provisions and apply to selected properties in the Franklin Section. These provisions address land use, building and subdivision activities.

The hearing report is currently being prepared and this will consider and make recommendations to an independent hearing panel on the submissions received in respect to the residential component. The hearing is expected to be held early in 2017.

We’ll let you know when there’s been a decision and what the key changes are.

Process focus: the NES for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health

The National Environment Standard (NES) provides a nationally consistent set of planning controls and soil contaminant values to ensure that land affected or potentially affected by contaminants in soil is appropriately identified and assessed before soil disturbance and/or land developments take place. If necessary it also ensures that the land is remediated or the contaminants are contained to make the land safe for human use. 

What does it apply to?

It can apply to proposals which involve building consents, resource consents and/or permitted activities (i.e. activities that don’t require resource consent).

The NES applies if both of the following bullet points are met:

  1. The proposal includes one of the following five activities listed in Regulation 5 of the NES
    1. Soil disturbance
    2. Change in land use
    3. Subdivision of land in a way that causes the piece of land to stop being production land
    4. Removing or replacing an underground fuel storage system
    5. Soil sampling

And

2. A HAIL* activity is, has or is more likely than not to have occurred on the subject site.

Not sure if your proposal falls under one of the five activities? 

Please contact the Duty Planner on 07 824 8633.

What is a HAIL activity?

* The HAIL is a list of activities or industries that have the potential to contaminate the land they are undertaken on. The NES defines a ‘HAIL’ activity as “the current edition of the Hazardous Activities and Industries List, Wellington, Ministry for the Environment” This can be found on the Ministry for the Environment Website (www.mfe.govt.nz).

An assessment under Regulation 6 of the NES is needed to determine whether a HAIL activity has occurred.

How do I establish whether a HAIL activity has occurred on the subject site?

Regulation 6 of the NES specifies that an applicant must establish if any HAIL activities has occurred on the subject site.  The applicant can do this by adopting one of two methodologies:

  1. Review of all relevant council records including dangerous goods files, property files, registers, databases, resource consent databases, records available from Regional Council;
  2. Preliminary Site Investigation undertaken by a suitably qualified and experienced practitioner in accordance with the current  Ministry for the Environment’s Contaminated Land Management Guidelines No. 1 Reporting on Contaminated Sites in New Zealand.

We offer a HAIL reporting service to meet the requirements of Regulation 6(2)(a) if required.  Click here for more information on Hail reports.

There is a 10 working day turnaround for this report. The current fee for a HAIL report is $90.

Where it has been identified that a HAIL activity is being undertaken, has been undertaken or is more likely than not to have been undertaken on the land, the following reports may also be required:

  1. Preliminary Site Investigation Report (PSI)
  2. Detailed Site Investigation Report (SIR)
  3. Site Remedial Action Plan (RAP)
  4. Site Validation Report (SVR)
  5. Ongoing Monitoring and Management Plan (MMP)

All reports must be prepared by a suitably qualified and experienced practitioner in accordance with the current edition of the Ministry for the Environment Contaminated Land Management Guidelines No. 1, Reporting on Contaminated Sites in New Zealand.

If it has been identified that a HAIL activity is associated with the site, for further advice, please contact Hollie Griffith (Contaminated Land Specialist) or Alan Parkes (Environmental Health Team Leader).

WDC-Te-Kauwhata-cropped

Changes to be aware of

New Resource Consent Application forms are here!

We have reviewed, updated and added new application forms for:

  • Application for Landuse Consent
  • Application for Subdivision Consent
  • S127 Application to Change/Cancel Conditions of Consent
  • Application for an Outline Plan/Waiver
  • Application for extension of a lapsing period for a resource consent
  • Application for Pre-Application Advice.

These forms can now be completed electronically. Check these out here.

Here are some useful tips and reminders when completing your forms:

  • Complete your form electronically or print the details/information on the form. We need to be able to accurately record this in our database
  • Ensure all sections are completed
  • Check you have signed the relevant sections – we prefer not to receive a PP signature
  • Note how your deposit payment has been made in the Billing Section – this can speed up the start to processing your application
  • Email your application to applications@waidc.govt.nz  and/or post to Consent Applications, Waikato District Council, Private Bag 544, Ngaruawahia 3742.

Swimming pool law changes – effective from 1 January

On 20 October 2016 Parliament passed the Building (Pools) Amendment Bill, repealing the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 and including new pool safety provisions in the Building Act 2004. Key changes include:

  • A new requirement for mandatory three-yearly inspections of swimming pools
  • Allowing safety covers to be used as barriers for spa pools and hot tubs
  • Introducing additional enforcement tools for territorial authorities, including notices to fix.

Late last year MBIE undertook consultation on proposed new Acceptable Solutions to support the changes to pool barrier requirements. The changes made by the Building (Pools) Amendment Act took effect on 1 January 2017. Click here for further details. We hope to have more information for you later in the year. Swimming pool fencing should be checked for compliance and it is the owner/tenant’s responsibility to ensure this is so. 

Free hour for 224 Pre-Start Meetings!

In 2017 we’re mirroring for 224 Pre-Start Meetings the one-hour free staff time you get with Pre-Application Meetings. At this stage the offer is limited to the 2017 calendar year and is a trial to test the costs and benefits of such an approach. Going hand-in-hand with this trial is that Yuto, our Technical Planner, will be charging for more of the queries he currently doesn’t charge for – further incentive to book a pre-start meeting.

Pre-start meetings are designed to help make the post-subdivision approval process more efficient and smoother. Following the grant of the subdivision consents, there are number of conditions the consent holders will have to comply with – some of them can be complicated, confusing or hard to be met. Pre-start meetings can help resolve these issues and help consents move forward.

Pre-start meetings are extremely useful when you have issues with the subdivision post-approval process that require input from a number of our experts (e.g. Planners, Engineers, Legal Officers, Environmental Health Officers, Monitoring Officers, or a DC expert), as we can all sit down at the meeting to resolve the issues, rather than all going back to you individually.

Examples of where prestart meetings are useful.

  • To go over consent conditions prior to lodgement of s223 and s224 to ensure the conditions are being interpreted by the applicant correctly in order to be signed off.
  • To discuss conditions that can’t be met and to find acceptable solutions going forward that still are in line with the intention of the original condition (prior to an s127 application).
  • To discuss and ensure compliance with conditions which require plans to be submitted and reviewed, for example landscaping plans or engineering plans.
  • To discuss telecommunications and power for new lots – making sure the evidence provided is acceptable.

What do you need to do?

  1. Email us through subdivisions@waidc.govt.nz to organise a pre-start meeting.
  2. Our Technical Planner will be in touch with you to find out what your concerns and/or issues are.
  3. Our Technical Planner will discuss the issues internally with other teams within Council.
  4. Our Technical Planner will organise a meeting with you and send agenda if requested.
  5. Hold the pre-start meeting.
  6. Our Technical Planner will send you the meeting minutes, and discuss issues further if needed. 
  7. Start s224 process. 

RMA Amendments

The most recent Resource Legislation Amendment Bill has now gained the support of the Maori Party in order to pass through the House. There is a raft of changes that will affect the Resource Consent process for both us and you. Most of these changes will pass into law six months after Royal Ascent of the Bill. The date of Royal Ascent is unknown at this stage.  Some of the more notable changes include the following: 

  • Natural Hazards to be considered as a matter of national importance and additional measures have been introduced to manage the risk of natural hazards
  • Council to have the discretion to waive the requirement for a resource consent for a minor infringement that meets certain criteria
  • Introduction of a Fast Track Consenting process for applications that meet certain criteria (10-day consents)
  • Changes to how an affected person is determined
  • Clarification on the legal scope of conditions
We will be analysing these changes over the coming months to ensure that our systems are updated appropriately and our staff are trained on any new processes.  If you would like to read more about these changes, the two departmental reports to the Local Government and Environment Committee are available here and here with the Resource Consenting process information mainly in the Second Report from Page 225 onwards.
-Te Kauwhata

Helpful tips and reminders

Each quarter we'll include some tips that we hope will be helpful for you when you are compiling an application or when interacting with us.

DPDs, sleeps outs and second dwellings (Waikato Section)

Over the last few years we have seen an increase in both building consent and resource consent applications for Dependent Persons Dwellings (DPDs). 

We have developed a practice note for the relevant rules within the Waikato Section of the District Plan.  This will help make sure that when you prepare your application, you know the ins and outs of the rules.  Please click here to view the practice note.

We are working on a similar note for the Franklin Section of the District Plan and hope to have this ready to share with you in the next edition of Growing Places.

What is a Reserve Management Plan? 

A Reserve Management Plan is a document prepared under the Reserves Act 1977. A plan will contain objectives and policies for the management, protection and future development of a reserve, and must: 

“….provide for and ensure the use, enjoyment, maintenance, protection and preservation….and the development, as appropriate, of the reserve for the purpose for which it was classified…..’ Section 41(3) Reserves Act. 

Our Reserve Management Plans act as a guide for our officers in making both day-to-day decisions as well as the long term decisions about how reserves and open spaces under its control are to be used, managed or developed.

Reserve management plans can be used as a method (other than a rule in a plan) to meet the objectives and policies of RMA plans, although they may not have been developed for that purpose. For example, a historic reserve classification under the Reserves Act could be used to assist in the management of a historic site under council control in place of some RMA plan controls.
Sections 61(2)(a)(i), 66(2)(c)(i), and 74(2)(b)(i) of the RMA require that regional policy statements, and regional and district plans have regard to management plans and strategies prepared under other Acts.

What Reserve Management Plans have we produced recently?

In 2015, we adopted a Sports Park Reserve Management Plan and a General Policies Reserve Management Plan. The Sports Park Reserve Management Plan outlines the future use and development of sports parks. The General Policies Reserve Management Plan outlines management policies for all reserves in the district.

In 2016, we adopted a Neighbourhood Parks Reserve Management Plan. Neighbourhood parks are passive spaces primarily used by local communities for casual recreation, play, relaxation, community activity, links to other areas, or quiet open space. They often include walkways and a playground.

Reserve Management Plans can be viewed on our website.

What does this mean for me as a resource consent applicant?

Proposals/applications for activities within a reserve subject to a Reserve Management Plan (RMP) should include an assessment against said RMP. It is recommended that anyone wanting to undertake activities within any of our reserves should discuss it with our Asset Management Team at the earliest opportunity and/or utilise our pre-application service.  

 

Emailing attachments to us

To ensure your emails are not blocked by our email system and can be actioned quickly, here are some helpful tips:

  • Ensure the total size of the email is less than 10MB
  • Attach only common, recognised file types such as .pdf or .jpg -.zip files are also ok
  • Send an electronic file if possible - rather than re-scanning a document – as this will retain quality and keep down the file size. If scanning is necessary, try using the compression options on your scanner.
  • Ensure there is no password protection on the attached files
  • It’s our process to send a response acknowledging receipt of the email
  • If you don’t get a response from us acknowledging its receipt, please phone and confirm that we’ve got it.

 

The onsite manoeuvring rules for Te Kauwhata Structure Plan area

There are specific onsite manoeuvring rules in the District Plan for the Te Kauwhata Structure Plan area - specifically, certain properties require less manoeuvring space so they can more easily comply with the standards in Schedule 21A and 21B.

The onsite manoeuvring rule exemption only applies to the living zones that access the quieter roads in Te Kauwhata.  

The district plan is written so that these rules also apply to planned future roads, which has meant Local Roads ‘A’ and ‘B’ are not as distinctly identified as other roads are.

To allow a more black-and-white interpretation of these rules, we’ve created an Interpretation Note which can be found here.

 

Common Further Information Requests (FIRs) for Building Consents

Below is a table listing the common FIRs that are issued on building consent applications. Ensuring you provide this information, where relevant to your build, will help ensure you can receive consent quicker and easier.

January FIR table

We’d love to get your feedback

We’re interested in what you think about this newsletter so we can improve it over time. Click here to provide feedback.