Variation 1: Landscapes identifies and seeks to protect outstanding landscapes.
Protection of these outstanding landscapes means that the generations who follow will get to enjoy and hold as special what we here in the Kaipara currently enjoy and hold as special. Examples of this would be Tokatoka, the West Coast and the Brynderwyns.
Status of Variation 1
- Notified: 2 December 2010
- Submissions closed: 28 February 2011
- Further Submissions closed: Tuesday 7 June 2011
- Hearings were held: from Tuesday 29 November to Thursday 8 December 2011
- Closing Addresses were held on Thursday 22 December 2011
- Decisions released: Friday 6 July 2012
- Appeal period: 30 workings days
- Decisions Notified: Friday 6 July 2012
- Court assisted mediations have happened: December 2012
- All of the appeal topics are now settled. December 2014
Council received approximately 550 submissions and 56 further submissions.
- The summary of Submissions and Further Submissions Report can be viewed here.
- The Fact Sheet on Variation 1 can be viewed here.
- The Newsletter on Variation 1 can be viewed here.
- Public Notice can be viewed here.
- Decision Reports can be viewed here
- Public Notice can be viewed here
What is a Variation?
The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) gives Council the authority to change or vary its District Plan to assist Council to carry out its functions under the RMA such as the managment of effects on natural and physical resources e.g. Outstanding Landscapes.
Where a District Plan is "proposed" any change to the Plan is called a Variation. A Variation allows Council to change or amend the District Plan to include new provisions or information such as issues, objectives, policies and rules and maps. In this case, it is the first Variation to the Proposed District Plan and is called the Proposed Kaipara District Plan Variation 1: Landscapes (Variation 1: Landscapes).
The Proposed Kaipara District Plan was notified in October 2009, with a blank Chapter 18 - Landscapes. This was in response to a Council resolution to put the development of this chapter on hold, in order to concerntrate on Council's limited resources on other key strategic elements of the District Plan Review. This conclusion was highlighted in the Section 32 Reports released with the Proposed District Plan in October 2009.
Why did Council notified a Variation to the Proposed District Plan?
Hearings on submissions to the Proposed District Plan were completed in August 2010. A number of submissions related to the provision of a Landscapes Chapter. Council signalled its intention at a Council meeting on the 28 April 2010 that following the hearing of submissions on the Proposed Kaipara District Plan it would proceed to finalise and notify a variation on the Landscapes in September 2010, this was confirmed in a Council resolution following the Hearing of Submissions.
The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) sought a declaration from the Environment Court on the 'missing chapter' within the Proposed Kaipara District Plan 2009 for Outstanding Landscapes. On 23 August 2010, the Environment Court issued a decision (2010 NZ Env C 284). While the Court has not issued final judgement on EDS' application for a declaration, the Judge indicated that the omission of the Landscapes chapter may be in breach of the RMA.
Council has a statutory obligation to protect outstanding natural features and landscapes from inappropriate subdivision use and development and to maintain and enhance amenity values under the Act. The Proposed Kaipara District Plan Variation 1: Landscapes enables Council to meet its statutory obligations.
Council had sought at extension of time from the Environment Court to allow further work still being progressed by Council to be included into Variation 1: Landscapes. On 10 November 2010, the Environment Court issued an interim decision stating:
"The variation is best therefore notified forthwith in its current form, with council submissions, and/or a replacement variation, and/or a variation on the variation, to follow."
This work will now be undertaken separately over time. These include:
- Additional work on Outstanding Natural Features.
- Additional assessment of areas of high natural character.
- Further consultation with tangata whenua.
- Update to reflect changes resulting from the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010.
What Happens After Submissions Are Received by Council?
- Once Council has received submissions it will make them avaliable for review (Summary of Submission Report) and invite you to make a Further Submission (comments, concerns or support of the points raised by other submitters).
- Once Futher Submissions are received, Council will prepare a report that will be used for Hearings. The Report of Submissions and Further Submissions will analyse the Submissions and Further Submissions and recommended which parts of the Variation should be adopted, removed or modified. Before the Hearing is held, the Report will be provided to everyone who made a submission. You will be given at least 10 working days notice of the Hearing.
- The Hearing is a formal meeting where you can present your submission directly to Council. All Hearings are open to the public, and you can speak at the Hearing, if you have made a written submission and have told Council you want to speak.
- Council will make Decisions on which of the parts of the Variation should be adopted, removed or modified. Copies of the Decision will be forwarded to all those who make a Submission/Further Submission, including the reasons for the Decision. Council will also publicly notify its Decisions. It is noted that at this time, all of the rules of the Variation will have legal effect.
- Once the Decision is made on the Variation, there is an opportunity for you (or others) to lodge an Appeal with the Environment Court. The Environment Court will then hear the case.
- If no one appeals against Council's Decision, the Variation becomes operative and will be incorporated into the revised Kaipara District Plan. If Appeals are lodged with Environment Court they have to be resolved before the Variation can become fully operative.