After 2 ½ years of submissions and hearings, the Independent Hearings Panel will be releasing their recommendations to the Council on 22 July 2016. The Councillors will have until 19 August 2016 to either accept or reject the recommendations of the Panel, and appeals regarding the provisions must be lodged with the Courts by 16 September 2016.
How much will change?
Like you, we do not know what the Panel’s recommendations will be. We expect that they will adopt the agreed positions that submitters and the Council have come to, however they are not likely to adopt all of the Council’s submissions. We also understand that the look and feel of the Plan will be different to the current version.
Under the specific legislation for the Unitary Plan there is a reduced scope of appeal available. In general, appeals are only able to be made on points of law (to the High Court) unless the Council does not accept the recommendations of the Panel.
What does this mean for you?
The rules are changing - there are likely to be activities that you can do now that you won’t be able to do without consent. Equally there could be activities that are more permissive than currently. We understand that some zoning is also likely to change, this could be upzoning of some residential areas or changes from rural to urban.
There will be uncertainty – it is likely there will be a number of appeals made on the Decisions Version of the PAUP. It will take the Council some time to identify what appeals affect what parts of the PAUP.
There will be delays – we except that due to the new statutory planning regime the Council processing times will be extended as they work to address applications under the new rules and criteria. It’s likely there will be higher processing costs due to the need to address both the legacy plans and the new plan.
Consenting Regime – it may be beneficial for your project to lodge prior to the Decisions Version being notified (August), or alternatively it may be beneficial to wait. We can provide advice on this for you.
When will it all be over?
Only after all appeals have been settled will we have the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) and (apart from the Hauraki Gulf Islands) we can disregard all legacy plans. However, it could be that aspects of the appeals are settled more quickly than others so some areas of Auckland will only be subject to the new plan.
We’re here to help
4Sight Consulting has a strong relationship with the Council and will be kept informed of how the Council, in particular the resource consents department, will be implementing the Decisions Version of the PAUP. We can provide advice to you on when to lodge consent, and whether, as a submitter, it is worth lodging an appeal.
For help or advice, speak with one of our planning consultants