Time to think seriously about District Plans especially if your clients live, work or own land in Selwyn or Waimakariri Districts.

Previous articles have raised the looming question of whether your clients might want, or need, to get involved in the Selwyn or Waimakariri District Plan Reviews. For Selwyn that question is now pressing with the release of the proposed Selwyn District Plan on 5 October with the submissions period concluding at 5pm on Friday 4 December.

Reaching the point of notification has taken a lot of work, some of which your clients may already have been involved in. The Councils have released discussion documents on strategic issues, convened focus groups and sought feedback from interested persons and groups. Now comes the formal part.

The proposed District Plan represents the Council’s preferred approach to the myriad of topics and issues the District Plan needs to contemplate and provide for. However, while the Councils positions need to be evidence based, that does not mean they are the only response or cannot be tested.

To do so requires making a submission and being heard on it at the Council hearing (at least). A submission also means your client can take the subsequent step of appealing the Council’s decision, if they consider that is required. It also means that if another appeal is made, touching on the subject matter of their submission (or is reasonably related to it) they may be able to joint that appeal as a party. So, making a submission on a topic you want to see in or out of the plan, or a rule you want changed, is an important step.

Submissions can be simple or complex. They can be made, to the Council at least, with or without additional supporting evidence. Logically a position supported by evidence will carry more weight that one without, but if an appeal seems inevitable, there may be an argument for providing limited evidence at first instance. This, however, is not generally encouraged because the Council deserve to know a submitter’s case and be able to fully consider it.

The question of what evidence to give, who might give it and how to get best value for your client in their submission preparation, are matters we can assist them with.

Please make your clients aware of the impeding plan reviews. District Plans once confirmed have a life of at least 10 years, and while subsequent changes can be made or resource consents sought, these can be costly and are not guaranteed to succeed. Participating in the proposed District Plan process is often the best opportunity to influence the content of the plan before it becomes operative.

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If you or your clients have any questions, please contact the Resource Management Team at Cavell Leitch

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