Part 4: Lifecycle of a Resource Consent: Assessment of Applications - What happens?


This is the fourth part in our blog series on Lifecycle of a Resource Consent . We aren’t going to explain the legal process of getting a resource consent, but what is actually involved for you as a “developer”, or someone wanting to do something.

If you missed the other editions, you can read them here…

  1. Initial Investigations

  2. Pre Application Meetings for Resource Consent

  3. Making a Resource Consent Application

This blog will give you some insight into what happens when a resource consent application is lodged with the Council and what happens next.

What happens when an application is lodged?

Once your resource consent has been lodged with the Council, it will be allocated to a Council planner for consideration. The Council planner will review the application and providing sufficient information and assessment has been supplied, the application will be ‘accepted’ (under S88 of the RMA) for processing.

The Council has 20 working days to make a decision on your resource consent (from the date it was lodged). Depending on the type of resource consent, specialists may assist the planner in reviewing your application, for example engineers, surveyors or ecologists.

What if I get an RFI (Request for Further Information)?

The Council planner may request further information (RFI) (under S92 of the RMA) and place your application ‘on hold’ (stopping the 20 working-day clock) until the requested information has been provided and accepted.

If you have engaged a planner to prepare your application, the S92 request from Council will likely relate to simple clarification, or minor changes to the proposal. When an application is prepared by experienced professionals they can identify and assess the same issues that Council are assessing. This means that the Council don’t have to ask so many questions.

If you have not engaged a planner, the S92 request may be more time-consuming and costly, and identify issues you hadn’t thought of before.

Considering the effects of your application

The Council will make a decision regarding the overall scale of the environmental effects of your proposal, and who may be adversely affected. The Council may consider the adverse effects of your application on adjoining properties or the wider environment to be minor or more than minor, in which case the application may be notified. If you have engaged a planner to prepare your application, they should have discussed this with you before the application was lodged. The aim of undertaking the previous steps in our blog series is to identify any potential issues (which could otherwise result in notification) early in the process and either address them or amend the proposal to remove these issues.

It is also good practise to undertake consultation at the start of a project, to understand what potential issues concern your neighbours and other groups. At the early stages its easier and cheaper to make amendments to your proposal to try to address these concerns where you can, and where reasonable.

Will my consent be granted?

Once the processing planner has completed their peer review, the report will then be reviewed by the Council Team Leader and a decision granting (or declining) your consent will be issued. Again, your planner should have advised your early on, and provided you with an indication as to the likelihood of your consent being granted.

Our experience is that a well-prepared application and the completion of a detailed assessment incurs less Council processing fees. This is because Council staff can peer review the assessment rather than having to do the full assessment themselves. Poorly drafted applications need further investigation by Council officers, so increases an applicant’s costs.

Do you need resource consent?

Want to know more? We have over 42 years of combined planning experience, both processing and lodging resource consent applications. We are professional and honest. That means we will tell you if we think you are wasting your time and money, and how we think your development could be improved to increase your chances of success.

Believe it or not we love planning and would love to make this process easy for you! Contact us today for some friendly, honest advice. hello@planningplus.co.nz, 09 427 9966.

Disclaimer As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s. Planning Plus is not liable for any errors or omissions.

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