Blanket rules on tree protections to be removed
Kāpiti Coast District Council today decided to remove blanket rules protecting trees in urban areas of Kāpiti from 4 September -- instead protecting only the most significant indigenous trees, and introducing new rules that permit trimming of protected trees without the need for resource consent.
This means about 1300 trees would be protected on about 400 properties under the new rules, compared to over 10,600 protected under the Proposed District Plan (PDP).
Mayor Ross Church said the new rules represent a fundamental change in approach, and would allow time for detailed formal consultation with the public.
Council will consider the details of the proposed new rules on 27 August. If it adopts the new rules they will then be publicly notified for feedback.
Protected trees would be listed by property, in accordance with new Resource Management Act requirements, and all affected property owners would be contacted to make them aware of the changes.
“We have welcomed the considerable feedback from people to the early engagement we have undertaken with regard to tree protection and trimming rules, and believe the option approved by Councillors addresses much of that feedback,” the mayor says.
“It was essential to have something in place by 4 September to ensure that our most important trees remain protected.
“Consultation will confirm whether the community believes we’ve struck the right balance. In the meantime, people will have much greater freedom in trimming protected trees.”
The new rules will maintain coverage of trees on ecological sites (areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna).
In addition, staff has been asked to explore the costs that could be involved if the “public good” principle was adopted, by Council paying for the maintenance of protected trees.
The variation must be notified by 4 September. It will be advertised and open to all members of the public to make submissions under the RMA.