With many aspects of the resource consent process, there is a lot of jargon that you need to understand. This is the latest blog in our “FAQ” series, and we take a look at “neighbours’ approval”.
If you are proposing any type of development on your site, your neighbours may be considered an affected party. This does depend on what’s proposed and where and is something you should discuss with your Planner at the early stages. However, irrespective of resource consent processes, it’s always good practise to consult with your neighbours and other potentially affected parties. They may provide helpful input into your project and create a win- win situation. It also removes the surprise factor when contactors arrive on- site to start works and allows you to manage works to minimise disruptions for your neighbours. You may also need access to their site for part of your project works. Its always good to have positive relationships with neighbours!
What’s the benefit in getting written approval?
In their assessment of your resource consent application, the Council determines whether any of your neighbours (or other people) are an affected person. If a party is identified as being adversely affected, this can mean that your application will be limited notified. This increases the time and cost associated with your resource consent application substantially and can create appeal situations. Its best to avoid the limited notification process if you can.
Under s95(3)(a) RMA, a person is not considered an “affected person” if they provide written approval- called a “written notice”. This in effect means that the Council must disregard potential adverse environmental effects on that person. Therefore, obtaining written approval from your neighbours (or other parties) can be very useful in relation the Council assessment of your application and reducing the potential for notification.
An example of a development that may adversely affect neighbours includes proposing a care centre within a residential zone, where there may be adverse effects such as additional noise and traffic that affect neighbouring property owners. In this case, if the Council identifies the owners or occupiers of the adjacent sites to be an affected person, under s95B, limited notification of the application will be given. This means that the identified affected persons will be notified of the proposal and will be able to make a formal submission and speak at a Council hearing.
Written approval of affected persons Form
The Council provides a “Written Approval of Affected Persons” form for affected neighbours to complete and sign, including any owners and occupiers of the site. The process requires affected parties to fully understand what is being proposed. It’s important to ensure that neighbours who are providing approval are given all the plans and relevant documents, such as the Assessment of Environmental Effects, that accurately show what is proposed. As the applicant it is your responsibility to ensure that your neighbours fully understand what you propose and what your resource consnet application will include.
These people should also be contacted if your proposal is updated, and the approval form should be updated. This ensures that the people who have provided their written approval are fully informed of what is actually proposed and agree to the potential adverse effects on them. This ensures there will be no issues further down the track, such as a dispute with your neighbours (if what’s established isn’t in line with what they thought, for example), or Council disregarding the written approval as it doesn’t reflect the proposal accurately.
Having written approval is definitely helpful for your resource consent process, but you do need to ensure that its in the right form and that it accurately reflects what’s proposed.
Need more advice on your development?
If you require assistance with a resource consent application for your development, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Planning Plus. Planning Plus can assist from the initial investigations and concept through to the preparation of the resource consent application and managing the consent process on your behalf. You can contact us on email@example.com or (09) 427 9966.
We also have a lot of other blogs on our website that can help you with your resource consent journey- www.planningplus.co.nz.
Mary Zhou is an Assistant Planner at Planning Plus™. Mary is a fourth year Bachelor of Planning (Honours) student and has a real passion and drive for all things planning. Mary assists the team with a variety of projects including rural and urban land use, subdivision and feasibility analysis.
Mary is a Student Member of the New Zealand Planning Institute.
As with all our blogs this information is preliminary in nature only and we have used our best endeavors to ensure it is correct at the time of writing. It is not intended to substitute for your own investigations or obtaining specific advice on your proposal from professionals. Planning Plus LtdTM is not liable in any way for any errors or omissions.