What does a District Plan do?

Councils are required to ensure district plans meets the requirements of a range of local, regional and national plans, policies and strategies. For more information on this legal framework, follow the link below.

The legal framework for district plans

A district plan determines resource management issues, objectives, policies, methods and rules which control and manage the development of the district or city. A district plan zones the district and regulates what can be built or developed within these zones.

The Operative Kaipara District Plan does this mainly in two linked ways. It splits our District into ‘zones’ (residential, commercial, rural and others) and then it sets objectives and policies for each zone. In most cases the District Plan then provides rules designed to ensure the objectives and policies are met.

The objectives are designed to describe the outcome the District Plan is trying to achieve. The policies explain how the outcome can be achieved. The rules then reflect the policy.  Generally, rules state what activities are permitted (i.e. you don’t need a resource consent), what activities require a resource consent and in a few instances, activities that are prohibited.  The rules cover things like:

  • residential or commercial development
  • lot sizes and subdivision
  • the height and location of new buildings
  • what type of commercial activity can happen in certain areas
  • what you are allowed to do on a heritage protection site

When using the District Plan, the starting point is the identification of the site on the District Plan maps. Here, it can be determined what zone or zones the proposed activity falls within. The next step is to determine what status an activity has in the relevant zone.

Each zone provides for different activities as either:

Permitted A permitted activity is allowed 'as of right' subject to complying with the standards of the District Plan. A permitted activity does not require you to apply for a resource consent.
Controlled Council must grant consent if you apply for a controlled activity unless it has insufficient information to determine whether or not the activity is a controlled activity. Council may grant consent subject to conditions that must be complied with. These conditions may only be imposed when they relate to matters specified in the plan.
Restricted Discretionary Council may grant or decline consent for a restricted discretionary activity. If granted, conditions may only relate to matters specified in the plan.
Discretionary Council can grant or decline an application for a discretionary activity. If granted, it can impose conditions in relation to any matter that helps to control any of the activities potential adverse effects.
Non-complying Council can only grant an application for a non-complying activity if its adverse effects are more than minor, or if it is contrary to the plan's objectives and policies. If it grants consent, Council can impose conditions in relation to any matter that helps to control the activity's potential adverse effects

If your activity is not provided for at all within the zone, it will most likely be classified as a non-complying activity.

If what you want to do is not permitted or prohibited in the District Plan, you can apply for a Resource Consent.

A Resource Consent provides permission for you to undertake an activity, such as subdivide your land, or operate a small business in a residential area. Usually, a Resource Consent will have attached conditions to make sure that your activity will not have a negative environmental effect. Examples include building your shed in a way that will not impact on your neighbours’ sunlight or making sure your activity doesn’t pollute the local stream, requiring you to install a storm water detention tank.

More on Resource Consents