District Plan - Plan Change 3 - Significant Natural Areas

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The public hearing of submissions on Plan Change 3 was held on 17 and 18 February 2020. Thank you to all submitters for putting forward your submissions on this plan change, the Commissioners Decision is anticipated by mid-April. The Commissioner's Report will then be reported back to Council. Updates will be posted here, as they come to hand.

The hearings panel's minutes regarding the closing of the hearing and timeframes for their recommendation is available here

Plan Change 3 proposes changes to the maps of significant natural areas (SNAs) and the associated schedule of SNAs in Appendix 2 ‘Natural Heritage Inventory’ of the District Plan.

The plan change involves:

  • Adding new significant natural areas to the planning maps and District Plan’s list of significant natural areas
  • Extending some existing significant natural areas
  • Removing several significant natural areas or parts of significant natural areas from the District Plan due to alternative legal protection for these sites
  • Reconsidering the boundaries of some existing significant natural areas.


The Initial Evaluation Report (section 32 report) includes the details of the proposed changes to the maps of significant natural areas (SNAs) and the associated schedule of SNAs.

The Hearings Report (section 42A report) report evaluates the submissions and makes recommendations to the commissioners.


The public hearing of submissions on Plan Change 3 was held on 17 and 18 February 2020. Thank you to all submitters for putting forward your submissions on this plan change, the Commissioners Decision is anticipated by mid-April. The Commissioner's Report will then be reported back to Council. Updates will be posted here, as they come to hand.

The hearings panel's minutes regarding the closing of the hearing and timeframes for their recommendation is available here

Plan Change 3 proposes changes to the maps of significant natural areas (SNAs) and the associated schedule of SNAs in Appendix 2 ‘Natural Heritage Inventory’ of the District Plan.

The plan change involves:

  • Adding new significant natural areas to the planning maps and District Plan’s list of significant natural areas
  • Extending some existing significant natural areas
  • Removing several significant natural areas or parts of significant natural areas from the District Plan due to alternative legal protection for these sites
  • Reconsidering the boundaries of some existing significant natural areas.


The Initial Evaluation Report (section 32 report) includes the details of the proposed changes to the maps of significant natural areas (SNAs) and the associated schedule of SNAs.

The Hearings Report (section 42A report) report evaluates the submissions and makes recommendations to the commissioners.


  • Submitters' Evidence Submitted Prior to Hearing

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    10 February, 2020

    The following evidence has been submitted to the Council prior to the hearing:

    The commissioners' direction to extend timeframes to allow late expert evidence from Waikato Regional Council is available here. If submitters wish to make comments regarding this late staement of evidence the hearing panel is open to receiving written submissions on this matter before the opening of the hearing on Monday 17 February at 10am.

  • Summary of submissions and further Submissions

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    17 September, 2019
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    Submissions and further submissions on Plan Change 3 - Significant Natural Areas have been loaded onto our website via the relevant links below.

    These are presented here in two forms:

    1. In full, initial submissions compiled into one document here with a contents page to locate submissions by submitter name (some personal details have been deleted).
    2. In full, further submissions as above here
    3. In summary form, as a downloadable Excel spreadsheet and PDF file (more details on this below)

    The Excel spreadsheet allows you to filter the summary of submissions by particular topics.

    We recommend you read at least the submission points relating to your SNA, as well as the topics relating to SNAs generally or groups of sites.

    Tips for using the spreadsheet:

    1. Open the spreadsheet
    2. Click 'enable editing'
    3. You can filter by 'topic' (circled in red below) which views ALL topics
    4. You can select or deselect by any topic that you are interested in (circled in orange below)
    5. The green line highlights some general sub groups of SNA feedback (mainly feedback from organisations/advocacy groups)
    6. The blue line highlights feedback specific to an SNA number





  • Privacy Act and Official Information Act

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    12 July, 2019

    Submissions are made under the Resource Management Act 1991(External link). The submissions and the information contained in them will be held by the Rotorua Lakes Council and will also be available at Rotorua Lakes Council's Customer Centre, the Rotorua library and on the Rotorua Lakes Council website.

    By taking part in this public submission process submitters will, for the purposes of the Official Information Act 1982(External link), be understood to have waived privacy interests in their submission.

    Submitters are also reminded that the information supplied in written submissions may be personal information within the meaning of the Privacy Act 1993(External link). Submitters are advised that under the Privacy Act that they have the right to enquire as to the personal information held by the Council and request that it be accurate.


  • Process once submissions are received

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    12 July, 2019

    The process for public participation in the consideration of the proposal under the Act is as follows:

    • after the closing date for submission, Rotorua Lakes Council must prepare a summary of decisions requested by submitters and give public notice of the where this information can be inspected; and
    • there must be an opportunity for the following persons to make a further submission in support of, or in opposition to, the submissions already made: 1) any person representing a relevant aspect of the public interest; 2) any person who has an interest in the proposal greater than the general public has; 3) the local authority itself; and
    • if a person making a submission asks to be heard in support of his or her submission, a hearing must be held; and
    • Rotorua Lakes Council must give its decision on the provisions and matters raised in the submissions (including its reasons for accepting or rejecting submissions) and give public notice of its decision within two years of notifying the proposal and serve it on every person who made a submission at the same time; and
    • any person who has made a submission has the right to appeal against the decision on the proposal to the Environment Court if, in relation to a provision or matter that is the subject of the appeal, the person referred to the provision or matter in the person's submission on the proposal; and in the case of a proposal that is a proposed policy statement or plan, the appeal does not seek the withdrawal of the proposal as a whole.