Whether or not a Resource Consent is required depends on the type of activity planned and the rules set out in the relevant District/Regional plans. Because District and Regional plans restrict the type of activities that can be carried out ‘as of right’, and impose ‘controls’ on certain activities, permission must be obtained to:
- Carry out activities that aren’t allowed as-of-right, or
- Carry out activities that exceed controls set out in the relevant plan
This permission is obtained by applying for a Resource Consent.
A Resource Consent, if approved, grants permission to a person, group or organisation to use or develop a natural or physical resource, or to carry out an activity, that affects the environment in some way. It is important to note that you commit an offence if you do not obtain a Resource Consent when one is required and you then use resources in a way that breaches a rule contained in a district or regional plan.
Important: A Resource Consent should not be confused with a Building Consent. These are two quite different documents, with different purposes.
The Different Types Of Resource Consents
There are five types of Resource Consents:
- Land Use Consents
- Subdivision Consents
- Coastal Permits
- Water Permits
- Discharge Permits (for discharges into air, water or land).
The type of consent you need to apply for will therefore depend on the exact nature of your proposed activity. In some cases, you may have to apply for more than one type of Resource Consent (eg: a proposed subdivision may require a Land Use Consent for additional dwellings or earthworks as well as a Subdivision Consent to create an additional lot or lots).
Generally speaking, District and City councils administer Land Use and Subdivision Consents, and other consents are administered by Regional Councils (such as the Auckland Regional Council). In some circumstances, Regional Councils may delegate administration of some consents to District and City Councils.
Certificate of Compliance
If you believe that your proposed activity:
- Is permitted under a District Plan, or
- Can be lawfully carried out without a Resource Consent,
Then you may wish to apply for a Certificate of Compliance. Essentially, this certificate gives official recognition that the activity can take place.
The Resource Consent Hierarchy
The RMA breaks activities up into five different levels, ranging from activities that have limited environmental impact, to those with the potential to pose a major risk to the environment. The particular level that your proposed activity falls into will determine:
- Whether or not you need to apply for a Resource Consent, and
- The degree of discretion that local authorities have to either restrict or permit your proposed activity.
The five different levels of activities are listed below:
- Permitted Activities
- Controlled Activities
- Discretionary Activities/ Limited Discretionary Activities.
- Non-complying Activities
- Prohibited Activities
No Resource Consent is required for permitted activities and Resource Consent applications will not be accepted for Prohibited Activities. For all activities in between, a Resource Consent is required.
To notify or not to notify? That is the question!
Sections 93 to 94D of the Resource Management Act (RMA) set out the requirements for notification, non-notification and limited notification. With the exception of controlled activities, the presumption is that an application will be publicly notified in accordance with section 93, unless the criteria for limited notification or non-notification are met.
The starting point for all notification decisions is the category of activity involved (controlled, restricted discretionary, discretionary or non-complying). Different tests apply to each type of activity.
An application for any type of activity must be publicly notified if the applicant has requested it. Also, if there are special circumstances involved, the Council may choose to publicly notify the application regardless of any other matters.
What needs to be included in a Resource Consent
Basic information requested for a Subdivision Consent application:
- Fee/deposit to cover a preliminary fixed charge [application fee] – where applicable;
- A completed Resource Consent application form;
- A scheme plan. It is preferable, with an application for a subdivision, that this plan is prepared by a registered surveyor or solicitor;
- An assessment of the environmental effects of the proposal;
- A copy of the certificate of title for the proposed site(s);
- Any supporting documents or reports.
Basic information requested for a Land Use Consent application:
- Fee/deposit to cover preliminary fixed charge [application fee] – where applicable;
- A clear description of the proposed activity and the intended use of the site;
- Provide detailed site plans/maps (showing the position of title boundaries, existing/new buildings, setbacks, elevations etc);
- Neighbour’s approvals, if relevant;
- Vehicle access to the site;
- The number of car parks to be provided and where these will be sited;
- Details of effluent/wastewater disposal system;
- Details of stormwater disposal system;
- Noise likely to be generated and any measures to address this;
- Visual impact on neighbouring amenity (ie does the activity blend in with the area etc);
- Any vegetation that is to be removed or is affected by the proposal;
- Any earthworks to be undertaken;
- Outline proposed measures to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects that the proposed activity may have on the environment;
- A copy of the certificate of title for the proposed site;
- Any supporting documents or reports.
Please note: different Councils have different requirements in regards to the required information. What needs to be included also depends on the scale of your proposed activity.
Boundary Consultants have a lot of experience with the Resource Consent process and in particular with Land Use and Subdivision Consents.