What is a District Plan?

A District Plan is a document which sets out the guidance and rules on how you can use and develop your land. 

Every development project needs to be assessed under the Waikato District Plan to determine if resource consent is required.

What is a District Plan Review?

It's like a Plan Change, except it’s more comprehensive. This means that things can be looked at holistically.

Why is the District Plan being reviewed?

Under the Resource Management Act, each provision of a District Plan has to be reviewed every ten years. Much of the review blends the Franklin and Waikato sections into a single District Plan with a consistent approach to development and growth for the first time since the district’s boundary changes in 2010.

Review of the District Plan allows communities to reassess environmental outcomes and priorities, and to redefine their vision for the future of the district.

Who is the review likely to impact on?

If you own land, live, work, play in or visit the Waikato district, then the Proposed Waikato District Plan will affect you.

How does the District Plan affect me?

The district plan affects the way you and your neighbours can use and develop your properties. It identifies a range of activities that are anticipated in the district, where they should occur and regulates these activities through the objectives, policies, rules, explanations and definitions.

The positive outcomes achieved through the district plan generally go unnoticed for most people and it is often not until someone wants to start a new activity or redevelop their property that they become aware of the district plan regulations and the intended outcomes. 

Some common ways the district plan can affect property owners are:

  • How close to the boundary you can build or extend your house, garage or other buildings.
  • How many dwellings you can have on your property.
  • Whether you can subdivide your property.
  • Whether there are any 'special values' relating to your property.
  • Whether you can operate a business from your home.
  • The organisation of festivals and events.

Why are District Plans important?

Everyone is affected by the District Plan because it helps shape how we live, work and play in the Waikato district. Its policies are designed to ensure the environment, and the things people love about living in the Waikato, are protected. 

No-one can use land in a way that contravenes the District Plan – even visitors may be affected by rules relating to rubbish disposal, hazard management, noise, etc.

Who has been consulted with as part of the District Plan Review process?

The District Plan Review has been worked on for the past three years. Comprehensive consultation has taken place, especially with the district’s iwi. In consultation with iwi, Council developed an Iwi Reference Group that provided the forum for the issues and options to be discussed. 

Wider community consultation has been undertaken through open days and the opportunity for comment on the draft district plan.  Key stakeholders with specific interests (such as other local authorities, and New Zealand Transport Agency) have been consulted throughout the plan development.

In addition, where landowners have been directly affected by a proposed provision (such as a heritage building), landowners have been invited to one on one meetings or been contacted by phone.

Why should I be interested in the District Plan?

The District Plan plays a big part in how the Waikato district develops, addressing such diverse issues as character, amenity, heritage and landscape, open spaces, urban growth, subdivision and coastal management.

You may be interested in big picture aspects of the District Plan or just what you can and can’t do on your property – whether it be subdividing, renovating, building a new garage or deck, or starting a home business.

What issues does the District Plan deal with?

The District Plan says how Council will manage significant resource management issues. This might include:

  • Building development and earthworks
  • Land use activities such as residential, retail and industrial activities
  • Subdivision of land and associated earthworks
  • Protecting historic heritage and natural areas
  • Managing natural hazards
  • Hazardous substances
  • Contaminated land
  • Noise control
  • Activities on the surface of water in rivers and lakes

It also manages more minor matters such as the minimum distance a garage should be located from a property boundary.