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Part 3 - Lifecycle of a Resource Consent: Whats involved in assessing a development and putting toge

This is the third 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 our previous blog, you can view it here. This blog will give you some insight into what assessment is needed for a resource consent application and how you put an application together.

This is the stage where Steps 1 and 2 in our Lifecycle series really come to the fore. The more time you have spent on initial investigations and discussing the proposal with Council, the better you can address all the relevant issues in your application. The detail of your assessment can vary depending on the complexity of your proposal. It is important though to get the right person to assist you with the assessments. The better your resource consent application is the less time it will take for the Council to process and the cheaper the processing fees should be. This is because most Councils allow planners to adopt parts of application assessments if they agree with what has already been written. This makes the processing faster, and as less time is required for the Council assessment its generally cheaper for you. In essence, the Council processing becomes more of an “audit” rather than Council planners having to do all the assessment themselves.

This can be a bit of a “trap” for some people, who think they’re getting a good deal by going with a cheaper quote or by attempting an application themselves. However, in reality the Council costs end up being higher because a substandard application is submitted and Council have to do a lot of the assessment themselves. These applications also take longer to process.

So what’s included in a resource consent application? This can vary from Council to Council and depending on the type of application you’re making. In general terms, and application should include:

  • Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE). This is the central part of your application. We’ll discuss this a bit more below.

  • Council resource consent application form. Usually you can download these from the Council website.

  • Plans. These don’t need to be detailed plans that you would submit with a building consent application but should clearly show what you propose, where on the site its located and any site features (such as watercourses etc).

  • Current Certificate of Title and any relevant Instruments.

  • Any relevant supporting reports, such as a geotechnical report.

  • Any specific information/ assessment that the relevant Regional or District Plan identifies. This could include a heritage assessment or cultural impact assessment.

  • Details of any consultation or written approval from neighbours you’ve obtained.

The AEE is the central part of the resource consent application and is usually provided as a report. This is where you actually assess the application and typically this is written by a planner. The Resource Management Act (RMA) sets out the matters the application should include in Schedule 4. This includes:

  • A description of the site and surrounding environment.

  • A description of what’s proposed

  • Identification of what resource consents are being sought/ what rules are infringed,

  • An assessment of actual and potential environmental effects, including effects on people (such as neighbours).

  • An assessment against the relevant objectives and policies of the plans (and higher order planning documents if necessary, such as National Policy Statements),

  • An assessment against the relevant parts of the RMA.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but provides some guidance on the general issues that should be assessed in the AEE. This may seem a little daunting, but for a small project Council’s will usually accept a more basic AEE. Every AEE should however address the above matters to some extent. Failing to do so runs the risk that Council will reject the application documents at the start before they even start assessing your proposal. This happens when the application is deemed to be “incomplete”. This wastes everyone’s time and money. Also its again important to remember that the better the application the less time it should take to process and the less money you should spent in Council fees.

If you have a project that you think needs a resource consent give our team a call. Believe it or not, we enjoy planning and we deal with resource consent applications every day. We have years’ worth of experience in dealing with this process and our aim is to make it as easy for you as possible. We will give you honest advice at very competitive prices.

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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