District Plan Review Project

Our District Plan aims for sustainable management of land use and subdivision activities. We've been reviewing our District Plan since 2011. Here's our progress so far.

What is a district plan?

The District Plan controls the way land is used and subdivided in the District, and what natural and cultural features should be protected. All district councils must have an operative District Plan. Its policies and rules are directed by the Resource Management Act 1991, the Waikato Regional Policy Statement, the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act and a number of national policy statements.
The current District Plan was notified in 1997 and became fully operative in 2010. TCDC must review provisions in the District Plan every 10 years, unless the provisions have been subject to a review within that period. The District Plan review has simplified and streamlined, dealt with new issues, encouraged economic and social development, given effect to changes to laws and national and regional policies, and was drafted to be an interactive e-Plan.

Decisions Version - notified 29 April 2016

Following the public hearings, the District Plan Hearings Panel deliberated on all submissions and evidence presented at the hearings. The Panel recommended decisions to the Council for confirmation.  Council released its decisions and the rules in the Proposed District Plan then had legal effect.

For 30 days after the Council notified the Decisions Version of the District Plan (29 April 2016), submitters could lodge appeals with the Environment Court if they were not satisfied with the Council's decision on their submission. Appeals to the Environment Court can be resolved through negotiation, mediation or an Environment Court hearing. Once a Plan provision is beyond legal challenge (it has either not been appealed, or an appeal have been resolved), it can be 'treated as operative'. When all appeals are resolved, the Council will release the Operative District Plan version.

Hearings 16 September 2014 – May 2015

Submissions and further submissions presented to the District Plan Hearings Panel. The following topics were given staff recommendations on submissions. 

  • 16–18 Sep 2014: Part 1 Introduction (excluding definitions), significant trees, transport, airfield, Road Zone, noise, festival/event, military training.
  • 30 Sep–2 Oct 2014: settlement development and growth, financial contributions, national grid electricity transmission line, historic heritage policy and rules (not specific items/areas).
  • 22–23 Oct 2014: Commercial, Industrial, Recreation and Rural Areas, hazardous substances and contaminated land.
  • 18–20 Nov 2014: natural hazards and Open Space Zone, Residential Area.
  • 17–18 Dec 2014: mining, Conservation Zone.
  • 10–12 Feb 2015: biodiversity, subdivision, earthworks.
  • 24–26 Feb 2015: structure plans, site development plans, site specific activities, tangata whenua, historic heritage items and areas.
  • 10–12 Mar 2015: definitions, visitor accommodation, minor units.
  • 14–17 April 2015: landscape, coastal environment, Appendix 5 colour chart, rezoning in Mercury Bay, Coromandel/Colville, Thames areas.
  • 6–8 May 2015: utilities, designations, subdivision guidelines, rezoning in Tairua/Pauanui and Whangamata areas.
  • 19–21 May 2015: residual topics.

Further submissions 30 May 2014 

Submissions notified for 'further submissions' (supporting or opposing the original submissions) from 3 June to 16 June 2014. 271 further submissions were received with 2,894 further submission points.

Submissions 13 December 2013 – 14 March 2014

Proposed District Plan publicly notified for submissions on 13 December 2013 until 14 March 2014. 1,236 submissions were received with 7769 submission points. The relief sought in the submissions is summarised below.

Full copies of submissions

The following submissions were re-summarised on 30 May 2014:

Referenced documents 15–29 November 2013 

Technical documents that are referenced in the Proposed District Plan's policies and rules were notified for public comment under Schedule 1AA in the Resource Management Act 1991. These documents can be downloaded here.

District Plan Review Committee February – June 2013

Draft District Plan redrafted and taken to District Plan Review Committee for its direction on the following topics. Some members of the community chose to present their comments to the Committee at these meetings. A number of technical assessments and expert reviews were also commissioned and presented during this time.

  • 20 March: direction setting, settlement development and growth, significant trees
  • 16 April & 17 April: heritage, coastal hazards, zoning requests
  • 22 May: coastal environment and coastal zone, mineral extraction/quarries
  • 28 May & 29 May: archaeology, tangata whenua, biodiversity, significant natural areas, landscape, natural character
  • 4 June: subdivision, structure plans, site development plans, additional rezoning, contaminated land/hazardous substances, transport, small/ancillary details, miscellaneous, maps
  • 25 June: Council workshop
  • 16 July:  Revisiting various topics
  • 27 August: District Plan Review Committee sign off. Timeframes, hearings and process.
  • 25 September: Council signs off the Proposed District Plan text for public notification

Community consultation 17 October 2012 – 31 January 2013

The Council signed off the Draft District Plan for public consultation on 17 September 2012. The formal release was on 17 October 2012. 930 comments were received from the public and organisations during consultation. Various techniques were used for consultation on the Draft District Plan:

  • glossy topic information sheets
  • website content
  • media releases
  • magazine and newspaper ads
  • a billboard at Kopu
  • a pamphlet in rates notices to all ratepayers
  • radio ads on Coromandel FM, The Breeze, Kool FM, Nga Iwi FM and Big Valley FM
  • dissemination among stakeholder/interest group members
  • content and maps in Council offices and libraries
  • 42 meetings around the district with community groups, iwi, stakeholder organisations, and the general public.

District Plan drafting April – August 2012 

Staff drafted district plan provisions, which the District Plan Review Committee reviewed periodically.

Council initiation March 2011 

In 2009/10, the Council was aware it had to conduct a district plan review, for a number of reasons:

  • The Resource Management Act requires district plan provisions to be reviewed every 10 years. The Decisions Version of the (now) Operative District Plan was released in September 1999. While various appeals continued after this date, most district plan provisions were due for review by 2009.
  • Resolution of the mining appeals on the Operative District Plan included an obligation to identify outstanding natural features and landscapes in the district.
  • Plan Change 3 (Natural Hazards) highlighted the cumbersome nature of the current District Plan for changes that weren't specific to an activity.
  • The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 and the Waikato Regional Policy Statement review had many new policy directives that the District Plan needed to give effect to. New national policy statements were also relevant. 
  • The Council wanted the District Plan to be simplified, streamlined, and to encourage economic and social development.
  • Online plan software was becoming available for district plans and processes to be accessed online.

Council staff started some technical studies to inform the district plan review, such as for landscape and natural character. A 'directions setting' document was presented to Council on March 2011 to establish the District Plan Review Committee and the district plan review.