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Changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) – and how they affect Council acceptance of application

In March 2014 the Resource Management Act (RMA) was again amended. A substantial change that will affect a lot of applicants is the change to section 88. This section relates to when a Council can accept or reject an application when it’s submitted (i.e. before formal assessment starts).

Previously Councils had discretion to accept applications that were of a poor standard, and could then request further information later in the assessment process. This has been changed whereby inadequate applications are now required to be rejected. This means that if your application does not include all the relevant information and assessment it is highly likely the Council will reject the application before assessment has even begun. You will then be required to update the assessment to ensure it addresses all the relevant matters.

While it is still possible for people to draft application reports themselves, these recent changes make it harder. People will need to have a basic understanding of the RMA and planning documents even for simple and straight forward applications. The changes make it even more important for people undertaking development to contact a planner early in the process. Planners can identify what resource consents are needed, provide advice on ways to do a development better and complete an assessment for you. This need not be expensive, as long as all the relevant matters are addressed.

Planning Plus can assist you with your resource consent application, for either a large or small development.

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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