Absent plan change 62 holds up some innovation
Rodney’s new district plan is out but plan change 62, the section that will dictate the price of developing in the district, remains unresolved.
The proposed district plan will be open to submissions until 19 April 2001.
Among its more important proposals for business and property interests:
In business, a centres-based approach has been taken. There are three business zones â€” retail service, mixed business and industrial.
For rural subdivision, new terms â€” environmental enhancement and enhancement planting â€” will undoubtedly play a significant role. They go well beyond the previous standard of protecting native bush or covenanting areas in return for limited subdivision. Farm parks are a recognised category.
Among the residential zones, a landscape protection zone places limits on low-density residential and the intensity of nonresidential development, and encourages clusters. Medium-density (standard) residential has a minimum lot size of 600mÂ², but also allows more intensive integrated residential developments. In high-intensity residential, the minimum lot size is 275mÂ² unless the subdivision is part of an integrated development, ij which case there is no minimum.Plan change 62
Grant Kirby (right), who took over as commissioner in April when the councillors who hadn’t already resigned were suspended, says plan change 62 is headed back to the Environment Court for resolution.
The plan change was a Sharplin idea, envisaged as a national blueprint for exacting financial contributions from developers (including one-off changes to your own property) to pay for council-provided services and infrastructure.
The author of this plan, district general manager Brian Sharplin, quit soon after Mr Kirby’s arrival and other faces on the council’s side of the negotiating table have also changed many times since the plan change was notified in 1996.
A memorandum of understanding was signed in May last year and one of the developers involved in the negotiations, Leigh Hopper, said the parties needed to get back round the table again to resolve the change in terms of that memo.
Trouble is, Mr Kirby walked out on the negotiations, favouring court-ordered resolution, which is something the Environment Court has been steadfastly trying to avoid.
Formula the key
Mr Hopper (left) said the key issue was the allocation-of-cost methodology system, a formula for pricing contributions.
The developer side leans towards the view that who benefits, pays. The council wants the formula based on the principle that the exacerbator pays.
The definition was more towards the beneficiary paying, but the developers also said they needed Â±10% accuracy, and that requires a better council database.
Plan change 62, although not in force, has been the basis of agreed financial contributions for several months and was the basis for “voluntary” contributions for some time before that.
But if the developers win a lower-priced contributions formula, the council’s long-term financial strategy rate and loan differential will be out of kilter. “Are they going to borrow more for it, go back to the rates or review the long-term financial strategy?” Mr Hopper asked.
Several plan provisions held up
Several provisions of the proposed district plan will not be put into effect until the council has operative financial contribution rules prepared under the Resource Management Act.
The excluded provisions â€” policies, rules and assessment criteria â€” are outlined in section 22.17 of the new plan. The growth-related activities provided for under these suspended provisions will be non-complying activities in the meantime.
The council has retained the excluded parts in the proposed plan to indicate clearly its proposed direction once plan change 62 is operative. They are set out in a schedule in section 22.17.
Rules affected by the exclusion schedule are in chapters 7 (rural), 8 (residential), 9 (business) and 13 (future development and structure plans.
A variation to the proposed plan will be introduced once plan change 62 becomes operative. Future zonings for more intensive development, also shown in section 22.17, will also be notified through a variation. They’re shown at the moment as a set of maps in schedule B of that section.
These future-intensification sites are at Wellsford, Warkworth, Snells Beach, Orewa, Silverdale, Helensville, Waimauku and Huapai.
In business zoning, the approach is for minimal intervention by the council, but with an eye on enabling town centres to retain their role as community focal points.
The retail service zone is the general category for town centres. Following on from the height and density options discussion paper for Orewa, an Orewa town centre policy area has been identified, allowing buildings up to 30m.
In the retail service zone, any retailing is allowed. In the mixed business zone, shops above 600mÂ² would be restricted discretionary activities, to stop large-format retail undermining the ability of town centres to act as community focal points.
In the industrial zone, there are controls on activities involving gatherings of people, which put undue pressure on core industrial activities to achieve higher environmental standards than would normally be expected in the zone.
In the rural chapter, the council has retained its countryside living zones but changed several other definitions.
One category enables subdivision for legally and physically protecting significant natural areas.
Under significant enhancement planting, and also for significant land rehabilitation one rural residential site is allowed for every 6ha planted and protected, or permanently retired and protected.
The first of those two categories, enhancement planting, reads at first glance like it would have avoided five years of litigation for a property such as Ian Gillespie’s Pakiri subdivision. Its introduction may bring a quick end to that litigation, now headed for the Court of Appeal.
Under the farm park category, residential sites up to 4000mÂ² can be dispersed around a farm, which is described as “a form of land-based production activity such as agriculture, horticulture and grape growing.” The minimum site size is 80ha and one residential site is permitted for every 8ha of parent site.
A category is provided enabling subdivision of sites on Maori freehold land, as defined in the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993, so individuals can create sites on communally owned Maori land.
The landscape protection residential zone contains areas of greater significance than the low intensity area, such as such as significant native bush or sensitive ridgelines, and will encourage clustering of development so large areas remain without buildings. Minimum subdivision site sizes vary from 4000-8000mÂ².
The Rodney District Council has had a website for only a few months (External links/Local government/Rodney District Council) and it contains little information, but communications officer Carolyn Howden said yesterday the whole of the wording of the new district plan would be placed on the site. Maps will not be on the site, however.