Streamlined Plan Change Process steps

20 January, 2020

The streamlined plan change process differs from the standard RMA Plan change process. Under the streamlined process, the steps are as follows:

1. Submissions

Submissions close 20 February 2020
Council will then summarise the submissions received and make these available online.

2. Further Submissions Period

This is an opportunity for people to make a 'further submission' to support or oppose the submissions received if they:

a) represent a relevant aspect of the public interest; or

b) have an interest in the proposed policy statement or plan greater than the interest that the general public has; or

c) are the local authority itself.

3. Pre-Hearing Mediation

If considered appropriate, Council may initiate pre-hearing mediation on key topics raised during submissions. The intention is to understand and, if possible, resolve issues prior to the hearing. An independent mediator will oversee any mediation.

4. Public Hearing

The hearing provides the opportunity for submitters to present their submission in person. Three independent commissioners will oversee the hearing.

5. Draft Recommendations to Submitters

The independent commissioners will write a report to the Minister for the Environment setting out their recommendations on the plan change and reasons. Prior to issuing this report to the Minister, the draft report will be circulated to submitters and further submitters. This step has been included to ensure that minor or technical errors or omissions can be corrected.

6. Final Decision by Minister for the Environment

The commissioners' recommendations are then forwarded to the Minister for the final decision on the plan change. It is important to note, under the streamlined plan change process, the decision cannot be appealed to the Environment Court.

This is a summary of the Plan Change steps. The full statutory requirements are set out in the Minister's Direction.

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