What is a District Plan and what is its purpose? According to the Auckland Council website “A district plan contains guidance and rules about how you can use and develop your land. District plans can be
amended at any time, through a plan change, variation, correction or as a result of a notice of requirement to designate land.” Auckland Council is currently developing a Unitary Plan. Until such time as that plan is adopted the District Plans of the various former Councils now making up Auckland
Council are in effect.
Under the note for Plan Changes for Waitakere is the comment “The Resource Management Act 1991 requires that all Plan Changes must be publicly notified. Any person can lodge a submission in relation to a particular Plan Change. A summary of submissions is then prepared and an opportunity is provided for parties to lodge further submissions either supporting or opposing the original submissions.
According to Section 72 of the Resource Management Act 1991 “The purpose of the preparation, implementation, and administration of district plans is to assist territorial authorities to carry out their functions in order to achieve the purpose of this Act.”
Section 75 describes the contents of district plans.
District Plans have a statutory ten-year life. The comments under Plan Changes in the Waitakere District Plan state “it is also the intention of the Council that the Plan be a “live” Plan, with reaction, where necessary and if possible, to changes in the environment or better methods of dealing with environmental effects.”
What is a Designation in a District Plan?
A designation authorises a requiring authority’s work or project on the site or route without the need for a land use consent from the relevant territorial authorities.
On 20 Sep 2011, Auckland Transport wrote to 109 property owners in Edmonton Rd and Te Atatu Rd advising them parts of their land had been identified as necessary for road widening. For 40% of these properties intended acquisitions were outside the designations shown in the Waitakere District Plan.
On 9 Dec 2011 Owena Schuster (Auckland Transport) advised me “It is not necessary to amend the District Plans because the excess land can be acquired using the Public Works Act (PWA) process (through AC?). No further designation process will be undertaken as part of this land acquisition exercise for this project.” When I pressed for a date when Auckland Transport had first decided sections of land beyond those designated in the District Plan might be required I was informed “Middle of this year (2011) during the preliminary design phase.” Yet this contradicted the Agenda notes of a meeting of the Works and Infrastructure Committee of Waitakere City Council, a year and a half earlier on 3 Feb 2010 which stated “It is noted that currently the Waitakere District Plan has a 2.88m designation along both sides of the corridor between Edmonton Rd and the motorway interchange. This will need to be uplifted and replaced to reflect the current concept design as it requires a wider designation up to 7 metres.”
Auckland Transport and Auckland Council’s roles will be expanded in my next blog.