The independent panel hearing submissions on the proposed Auckland unitary plan has set a programme which it hopes will enable it to complete hearings by 30 April 2016.
Far more individuals will submit to the panel on site-specific topics in the latter stages, and the panel said it would keep the process as simple & as flexible as possible for them.
The 2016 hearing programme is for all the remaining site-specific topics: zones & precincts (topics 066-073), the rural:urban boundary (016, 017), the Waitakere Ranges precinct (075) and pre-1944 & special character mapping (079).
Precincts & rezoning will be combined into 2 topics: one covering Auckland-wide matters, Auckland-wide theme-based matters and specific zones & precincts; and the second for the geographic areas. This reflects that for many submitters their points on rezoning & precincts are interrelated.
Points the panel has made in its latest memorandum, on its schedule:
- Lay submitters will only be expected to attend once within a topic. For example, submitters who have points relating to all geographic areas will be able to present their entire case at one appearance
- Where a submitter appears on the rural:urban boundary, but also has related rezoning requests, the panel will be open to hearing the submitter’s entire case at the boundary hearing
- Hearings on the geographic areas will be held in Orewa, Henderson, CBD & Manukau and submitters can choose where they prefer to appear. This will also apply to the hearings on the rural:urban boundary
- The proposed topics & subtopics put forward by the council will be used to structure the hearing days and to group submitters to the extent possible, but flexibility will apply
- The panel supports the council’s suggestions to reduce the need for evidence & reporting and make the hearings more efficient, including the use of Resource Management Act section 42A report
- The panel will not seek provision of supporting information in addition to & separate from the evidence exchange process in the interests of minimising the number of different steps & due dates. The panel will provide guidance on the information submitters should provide in their evidence to support their relief sought
- The panel broadly supports the council’s intended approach to mediate only on selected precincts. The allocation of time for mediation reflects an expectation that mediation will focus on principles rather than detail.
Panel staff will hold drop-in days at Orewa, Henderson, I the cbd and in Manukau in August to explain the site-specific hearing process.
The hearings on the site-specific topics will not start until mid-January and will continue to the end of April. This will allow the panel time at the end of this year to complete its deliberations on the topics heard in 2015.
Hearing days will be allocated to the topics in 2016 on the basis of the hearing days available between mid-January & 30 April: “The panel acknowledges that completion of the hearings by 30 April will depend on the attendance rates of submitters and managing submitter speaking time at the hearings.”
Early notification of the zone & precinct hearings will enable the panel to assess the responses and confirm the allocation of hearing days.
The hearings on the rural:urban boundary & rezoning/precincts will begin with Auckland-wide matters and then progress to matters in specific locations. Special purpose, coastal & public open space matters will be heard with the regionwide zoning/precinct matters, and will have the same evidence exchange dates as the regionwide.
The whole panel will hear the presentations from Auckland Council, splitting into 2 panels to hear the rest of the submissions.
There will be 2 hearing topics for rezoning & precincts. The first will include the Auckland-wide, theme-based and specific zones & precincts matters. The second will be the specific geographic matters.
The simplified approach to topic structure will reduce the need for multiple council presentations, and submitters will be allocated 10 minutes, the same basis the panel’s run hearings so far. Any extra allocation is likely to be capped, “reflecting the time constraints in 2016 and the early provision of evidence that will be read in advance”.
“The panel acknowledges that this schedule is tight, and may be difficult to achieve if higher than expected numbers of submitters attend the hearings. However, the panel is confident that the proposed programme is an appropriate basis to proceed to hear the many site-specific concerns raised by submitters.”
Attribution: Hearings panel.