Final #UnitaryPlan Hearing. What Happens Next

Rezoning Hearing today, what happens next in August and September

 

Today marks the end of road that started in March 2013 when the Draft Unitary Plan (different to the currently debated Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan that came about in September 2013) came out and my feedback (later submission went in).

You can read my evidence going into the Hearing today below:

 

 

 

Manukau Unitary Plan ammended res zones evidence 2
Manukau Unitary Plan amended res zones evidence 2

 

 

So what happens next?

 

Well pretty much this:

 

How Will Council Approach the Unitary Plan Hearings Panel Recommendations

Three options to pick from

Also

Your Appeal rights

 

At the Auckland Development Committee next week will deliberate and decide on how best to approach the recommendations from the Unitary Plan Hearings Panel when it reports back on July 22, 2016.

 

This from the Auckland Development Committee Agenda:

Auckland Development Committee – 08 December 2015

Approach for making decisions on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan

File No.: CP2015/25225

Purpose

  1. To inform the committee of the statutory process for the release of the council’s decision on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (PAUP) and to seek endorsement of an approach for assessing the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearing Panel’s (the Panel) recommendations next year.

Executive Summary

  1. A special legislative process was set up to ensure the first Auckland Unitary Plan could make the journey from public notification to operative at a much faster pace than would typically occur under the Resource Management Act. Without this process, it is highly likely the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan would take at least another five years to become operative.
  2. The Panel is required to release its recommendations no later than 22 July 2016.  The council then has 20 working days to publicly notify a decision version of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. Where the council rejects a recommendation from the Panel, it must specify the alternative provision and provide reasons.
  3. Appeals to the Environment Court on the council’s decision version of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan are limited to situations where:
    1. the council has accepted a recommendation that is beyond the scope of submissions and the person wishing to appeal is unduly prejudiced by the council’s decision; or
    2. the council has rejected a recommendation from the Panel.
  4. Appeals on procedural issues can be made to the High Court.
  5. Given the tight timeframe, an approach for assessing the Panel’s recommendations should be based on a framework that ensures:
  6. the council can meet its statutory deadline;
  7. the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan continues to deliver on the priorities in the Auckland Plan; and
  8. the overall integrity of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan is not compromised.
Recommendation/sThat the Auckland Development Committee:

a)      endorse an approach of prioritising the council’s response to the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel’s recommendations based on topics that will have a significant impact on the ability of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan to deliver on the priorities in the Auckland Plan. This approach will result in a focus on the entire Regional Policy Statement and the following hearing topics:

i.        Business

ii.       Coastal: Port Precinct

iii.      Historic heritage

iv.      Infrastructure

v.       Landscapes

vi.      Mana Whenua sites

vii.     Māori land and treaty

viii.    Natural hazards and flooding

ix.      Residential

x.       Rural

xi.      Rural Urban Boundary

xii.     Significant Ecological Areas

xiii.    Special character and pre-1944

xiv.    Sustainable design

xv.     Transport

xvi.    Viewshafts

xvii.   Waitakere Ranges

xviii.  Zoning.

 

Comments

Statutory Process

  1. The Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Amendment Act 2013 (the Act) establishes a stream-lined process to help deliver the first Auckland Unitary Plan. The Panel established under the Act started hearing submissions in September 2014. The Panel is scheduled to complete the hearings in April 2016 and is required to release its recommendations to the council no later than 22 July 2016.
  2. The council has 20 working days to consider the Panel’s recommendations and to notify a decision version of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, together with its reasons for any recommendation it has rejected. This period can be extended to 40 working days by the Minster for the Environment. Within this timeframe staff will need to analyse the recommendations, prepare reports for the Auckland Development Committee and Governing Body and prepare the council’s decision. Based on a 20 working day scenario the council must release its decision version by 19 August 2016.
  3. The Act was written to create a process that enabled the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan to move from notification to operative at a much faster pace than typically could occur under the Resource Management Act. This includes limiting appeals to the Environment Court on the council’s decision version of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan to situations where:
  4. a)   the council has accepted a recommendation that is beyond the scope of submissions and the person wishing to appeal is unduly prejudiced by the council’s decision; or
  5. b)   the council has rejected a recommendation from the Panel.
  6. Appeals on procedural issues can be made to the High Court.

Decision Version

  1. The council is required to release a decision version of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan and set out the recommendations it has accepted and rejected (if any). If a Panel recommendation is rejected, the council must provide reasons as well as the alternative provision it supports. Alternative provisions must be within scope of submissions and must be based on material that was presented to the Panel at the hearings. The council also has the ability to accept a recommendation but alter the relevant Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan provision in a minor way to correct a minor error.
  2. The council is required to prepare a Section 32 AA cost benefit analysis report (under the Resource Management Act) for any changes made to the Panel’s recommended version of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

Assessment of the Panel’s Recommendations

  1. There are three main factors to consider when assessing the Panel’s recommendations. The first is to ensure the council meets the statutory timeframe for releasing its decision. The second is to ensure that the decision version of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan continues to deliver on the priorities in the Auckland Plan. The third is to ensure the overall integrity of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan remains intact, and that any provisions that are rejected are replaced with provisions that seamlessly integrate with the rest of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. This requires time and careful consideration to avoid unintended consequences.
  2. The strategic directions and related priorities of the Auckland Plan are provided in Attachment A, together with a list of hearing topics that are considered to be the most important in terms of the link between these two fundamental council plans.

Consideration

Options

  1. Three options for reviewing the Panel’s recommendations have been assessed. The pros and cons of each option and a preferred option are discussed below:

Option 1: Accept all of the Panel’s recommendations

Pros:

  1. The council can easily meet the statutory deadline.
  2. Appeals are limited to where a person is unduly prejudiced in relation to accepted recommendations that are beyond the scope of the submissions, or to the High Court on procedural issues.
  3. The Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan remains integrated and intact (assuming the Panel recommendation achieves this).

Cons:

  1. Fails to deliver on public expectations that the council will carefully consider the Panel’s recommendations before making its decision.
  2. Provisions may compromise the council’s ability to implement the Auckland Plan.

Option 2: Undertake a chapter by chapter assessment of the Panel’s recommendations

Pros:

  1. Meets public expectations that the council will carefully consider the Panel’s recommendations.

Cons:

  1. The statutory deadline is unlikely to be met.
  2. Pressure to meet the statutory timeframe will likely result in errors being made.
  3. “Unpicking” may cause unintended consequences within other provisions of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.
  4. Potential for a significant number of Environment Court appeals and delays in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan becoming operative.

Option 3: Focus on topics that significantly affect the implementation of the Auckland Plan (RECOMMENDED OPTION)

Pros:

  1. The council can make the statutory deadline (although this depends on the extent of any recommendations that are rejected).
  2. Reports to the Auckland Development Committee are based on the bigger picture, focusing on parts of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan that are fundamental to implementing the Auckland Plan.
  3. Limits the number of potential Environment Court appeals.
  4. Minimises the risk of significantly “unpicking” the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan and therefore reducing potential for inconsistencies and loss of integration.

Cons:

  1. Some aspects of the Panel’s recommendations will only have a high level review.
  2. If the council decides to reject a significant number of the Panel’s recommendations, there is a risk the council will not meet the statutory deadline.

 

  1. Option 3 focuses the assessment of the Panel’s recommendations on their impact on the implementation of the Auckland Plan.  Attachment A lists the13 strategic directions in the Auckland Plan and their associated priorities, and notes the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan hearing topics that are considered to have a significant impact on the council’s ability to implement the Auckland Plan. This option recognises that the Panel has been set up to carefully consider the submissions on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, hear expert evidence from the submitters and make recommendations. It acknowledges that within the statutory timeframe for making its decision, the council needs to focus its effort.
  2. For all options there exists the opportunity for the council to change the Auckland Unitary Plan through public plan changes after the PAUP becomes operative.

……………….

Implementation

  1. It is proposed that the hearing topics that have the greatest impact in terms of implementing the Auckland Plan are presented to the committee in two workshops on the 8 and 9 August 2016. A decision version of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan will then be presented to the committee on 18 August 2016 with the Governing Body following directly after for final approval of the council’s decision.
  2. A considerable amount of effort is required to ensure that the Panel’s recommendations and the council’s decision are available on the council website within the statutory timeframe. Training of staff from across the organisation will also need to occur during this time period.

 

Attachments

No. Title Page
AView Auckland Plan Strategic Directions and related Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan Topics 95

 

Signatories

———–

Source: http://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/Open/2015/12/AUC_20151208_AGN_6341_AT_WEB.HTM

 

……..

I need not remind readers these deadlines are set by legislation and any issue with it needs to be taken to Government.

 

Hobsonville Point Zones
Hobsonville Point Zones

………….

Source: https://voakl.net/2015/12/04/how-will-council-approach-the-unitary-plan-hearings-panel-recommendations/

 

We await until August for the next move.

 

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