If you are thinking about whether to make a submission on a planning proposal that has been notified, the first step is to study the documents provided by the council.

Plans can seem complex. You should:

  • Read the material published by the council, particularly:
    • the planning proposal itself
    • the section 32 evaluation report (which will include the council‘s analysis of costs and benefits of the proposal)
    • any other background reports (for example, the outcomes of any earlier consultation that may have taken place).
  • Make sure you understand what is being changed or replaced and why (if it is a plan change or variation).

If the proposal is for a district plan, it will usually propose provisions to manage the environmental effects of subdivision and land use across defined management areas or ‘zones’. There may also be some provisions that apply generally across the district.

Check the planning maps attached to a proposal to find out whether:

  • any rules that apply to areas you are interested in are proposed to change
  • any special provisions might apply to certain activities.

If the proposal is for a regional plan or policy statement, the proposal will have implications for regional environmental matters, focusing on things like air quality, soil and water.

When you’re reviewing a regional proposal, you should:

  • identify the wider environmental issues that might be affected
  • check the proposed objectives, policies and rules ,and consider what effect they might have
  • note any new objectives or policies that you agree or disagree with.

Ask yourself what the proposal will mean to you in practice. For example:

  • What will be the actual effect on you and the things you might like to do, or on an operation you run or are planning?
  • What will be the wider effects on the environment of allowing or controlling certain types of activities?

Discuss the proposal with council officers or a planning consultant if there are any matters you don’t understand. They’ll help you identify which sections of the plan you need to look at in detail.

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