Plan Change to go to Minister for the Environment



28 March 2019

Council has voted that an application be made to the Minister for the Environment to use the Streamlined Plan Change Process (SPP) for the processing of Plan Change 2: Pukehangi Heights.

The draft plan change is aimed at enabling housing development in Rotorua’s Pukehangi Heights area.

If ultimately approved, the District Plan Change would effectively unlock land for the provision of up to 700 houses by allowing for a mix of residential and rural residential development of the Sumner, Hunt and Te Arawa Group Holdings blocks (located on either side of the Parklands development).  The use of the Streamlined Plan Change Process this would provide the potential to speed up the rezoning of this area.

The Council voted in favour of the following recommendations:

1. That the report: Notification Of Plan Change 2: Pukehangi and The Use of The Streamlined Plan Change Process be received.

2 (a). That the Council approves that an application be made to the Minister for the Environment to use the Streamlined Plan Change Process for Plan Change 2: Pukehangi Heights (staff preferred option).

3. That Council agrees that any final changes that are not substantive in nature to the proposed Plan Change prior to notification be made by the RMA Policy Committee after consideration of:

a. the reports on stormwater;

b. the Cultural Impact Assessment and Archaeological Assessment; and

c. any additional reports or information received.

Following Council’s decision today [Thursday 28 March] an application will be made to the Minister for the Environment to use the Streamlined Plan Change Process. 

If the Minister approves the use of the Streamlined Plan Change Process, the process proposed by Council will provide a number of opportunities for the public to influence the process, including through submissions, further submissions (where groups have an interest greater than the public in general), pre-hearing meetings, and presentation of submissions at the Hearing.  In addition, an Independent Hearing Commissioner must also be included on the Hearings Panel.  The Minister for the Environment will make the final decision on the Plan Change.

If not approved for the streamlined process the standard plan change process will apply. This will also involve hearings by qualified commissioners, however, submitters would have the ability to appeal any decision.

Elected members were told today that work already done ahead of the formal consultation, hearings and decision process represents a far more comprehensive approach to planning than normal.

The Council was told matters such as stormwater, landscape values, roading and traffic, water supply, natural hazards, archaeological and cultural impacts had all been taken into consideration with assessments, reports and peer reviews either completed or sufficiently completed. . Any not already completed will be completed.

Modelling of the Greater Utuhina catchment is being undertaken by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

Rotorua Lakes Council staff have been working with representatives from the Sumner,Hunt and Te Arawa Group Holdings blocks for the past two years, as well as consulting with Ngàti Kea, Ngàti Tuara, local residents and more recently, providing an open forum for the wider community.

Pukehangi Heights was identified as a future growth area in the District Plan but a zoning change to enable residential development was previously not anticipated to be needed until 2021, based on prior growth predictions which have since changed. Development of the area would contribute to easing local housing shortages Council’s Operations Group Manager Henry Weston said.

Mr Weston told elected members Rotorua’s growth rate generated the need for about 200 new dwellings every year, requiring the availability of 250 to 300 new lots every year. While there were already “some significant proposals” coming up in the eastern part of Rotorua city, there was a need to develop more housing capacity to meet growth demand, he said.

Elected members at today’s Full Council hui where asked to make two decisions:

  • Approve the proposed Plan Change for public consultation, in principle, if they were comfortable it was ready to go to the formal process;
  • Decide whether to apply to the Minister to use the Streamlined Plan Change Process – which eliminates appeal rights – or proceed as per the standard Plan Change process.

The Resource Management Act (RMA) Policy Committee had already considered the draft Plan Change and recommended it was ready to go to public consultation but considered the decision about whether to use the standard Plan Change process or apply to use the streamlined process to be a political decision and did not therefore make a recommendation in that regard.

See p18 of the Full Council hui agenda to view the full report on this matter.

See THIS LINK to view today’s presentation on this matter.

View assessments/reports on various aspects of the proposed Plan Change, including geotechnical aspects, landslide hazard, landscape assessment, traffic and stormwater at THIS LINK on Council's Let's Talk/Korero Mai platform. You'll find more information regarding the proposed Plan change HERE on Let's Talk/Korero Mai

Today’s hui was livestreamed and the recording can be accessed at THIS LINK on Council’s website.



Page reviewed: 28 Mar 2019 3:00pm