A plan change is a change to an Operative District Plan. Council can initiate a plan change or an individual can request a private plan change. Plan changes are summarized, and members of the public can lodge a submission either in support or against the proposed change.
There are currently no plan changes under way. Refer to the plan change update schedule(PDF, 261KB) for previous plan changes.
The Far North District Plan is being reviewed. This is a one in 10 year opportunity to influence how the plan promotes the sustainable management of the district’s resources. Find out more about the review on our Let's Plan Together website.
The Resource Management Act 1991 allows any person to seek changes to the District Plan through a request for a private plan change. The council can also initiate plan changes.
All plan changes are required to go through public notification, submissions and hearings processes, including the right of appeal to the Environment Court.
Private plan changes can be used to change or introduce new provisions into the District Plan, for a variety of situations, including but not limited to:
- Rezoning of land
- Addition of a building to the schedule of heritage buildings
- Amendments to rules
The council actively monitors the effectiveness of the District Plan and will regularly initiate plan changes to respond to emerging issues. If your proposal is not an issue the council is proposing to deal with through the plan change process, you have the option of applying for a private plan change.
In some cases it may be more appropriate for you to apply for resource consent for your proposal than a private plan change. Resource consents grant permission for an activity, while a private plan change alters the District Plan itself.
If you have decided to apply for a private plan change, this is the process:
- The applicant lodges a private plan change request with the Council. This must be in writing and express your reasons for the plan change and describe the environmental effects of the proposal. Refer to the Law Foundation's Environment Guide for further information.
- We will process the request and request further information and commission reports if necessary.
- The Council modifies the request with the applicant’s permission, if appropriate.
- The Council decides whether to adopt, accept or reject the plan change request, or to convert the request to a resource consent.
- The Council publicly notifies that it has adopted or accepted the plan change, and allows the public to make submissions and further submissions.
- The Council holds a hearing if required, where it assesses the plan change, and the submissions made. The Council will then publicly notify its decision.
- Any submitter can appeal the Council’s decision to the Environment Court within 30 working days.
Processing time and costs
A basic private plan change can take between six months to one year to process. A more complex plan change could take two years to process. An application containing evidence of appropriate consultation and complete and correct information will take less time to process.
You will require expert advice from a planning consultant to prepare the private plan changes. Any costs associated with this are at your own expense. The Council requires a deposit on receipt of a private plan change to process the application. There are likely to be additional fees.
Before preparing your application, we recommend you meet with the Council’s District Plan or Resource Consent team. We advise you to hire a planning consultant to help you prepare your application.