Frequently asked questions
This page contains questions and answers relating to the District Plan Review and the Proposed District Plan process.
FAQs on the Proposed District Plan, post-June 2015
- What is the background to the District Plan?
- What is Option 4?
- Why are only submitters to be engaged within the PDP process?
- With the delays that have occurred, will Council exceed the statutory timeline for completing the PDP process?
- What was the process for appointing commissioners to sit on the PDP Hearings?
What is the background to the District Plan?
The current District Plan became operative in 1999. In 2008 a full review of the Plan was commenced. A Proposed District Plan was notified in November 2012 and submissions / further submissions received. As a result of Community and submitter concerns surrounding many of the PDP provisions, the Council commissioned two independent review reports of the PDP in November 2013.
On 24 June 2014 the Council received final copies of the two independent review reports entitled 'Coastal Erosion Hazard Assessment for the Kāpiti Coast: Review of the Science & Assessment Undertaken for the Proposed Kāpiti Coast District Plan' and 'Independent Review of the Kāpiti Coast Proposed District Plan'.
Staff undertook a thorough review of both reports and as a result drafted a report to enable Council to make key decisions on the way forward for the PDP process. Councillors received that report on 24 June 2014 and engaged with the Community in the period leading up to the decision on 24 July 2014 to proceed with Option 4.
What is Option 4?
Council confirmed on 27 November 2014 that it will progress the PDP by going with "Option 4", which confirms the provisional decision made in July 2014.
The planning team, including new appointments with considerable District Plan experience, have analysed existing submissions and confirmed that the scope is broad enough to allow the PDP to be amended in order to address contentious areas. This will allow Council to move forward in a collaborative way with submitters and to work the recommendations of the independent review into the plan.
Why are only submitters to be engaged with in the PDP process?
Under the RMA, that is what the further consultation process allows. On the coastal provisions however, because a new process is being undertaken, the wider Community will be involved and will have an opportunity to make submissions when any new coastal provisions are publicly notified in the future.
The wider community will also have an opportunity to be involved in any other matters the Council decides to address by introducing a variation to the PDP. This includes a variation relating to the protection of some trees in urban areas.
With the delays that have occurred, will Council exceed the statutory timeline for completing the PDP process?
Council extended the timeframes for giving its decisions on the PDP until 29 November 2017.
The RMA requires that hearing decisions are to be completed on a proposed plan within two years of its notification. For Kāpiti this timeframe expired in November 2014. However the RMA also allows this timeframe to be extended. This allows sufficient time for the RMA process and submitter involvement as recommended in the independent review.
What was the process for appointing commissioners to sit on the PDP Hearings?
Council decided on 11 December 2014 to appoint an independent chairperson to head the Hearings Panel, which will make decisions on matters raised in submissions to the PDP, accompanied by another independent commissioner.
Alistair Aburn, an experienced resource management consultant, is the independent chairperson, and David McMahon, with particular expertise in statutory planning and process, is the independent commissioner.
Making these appointments early was helpful for panel members, as they needed to ensure they were free of any conflict of interest, bias and pre-determination of any issue likely to arise. It also meant the appointed Commissioners could set aside time in their calendars to ensure they were available for the projected 2016 hearing period.
Council also appointed Miria Pomare as iwi commissioner to sit alongside two elected members (councillors) on the five-person panel. Ms Pomare is an experienced decision-maker and has considerable experience in local government issues.
Council chose Deputy Mayor Mike Cardiff and Councillor Diane Ammundsen, chair of the Regulatory Management Committee, to join the panel. Both elected members (councillors) as required, hold accreditation as commissioners under the Resource Management Act.
FAQs - Withdrawal of provisions
This section contains questions and answers relating to the withdrawal of provisions and the Proposed District Plan process
- Why were the coastal hazard provisions withdrawn? Will there eventually be updated coastal hazard provisions in the future District Plan?
- What coastal hazard rules will now apply?
- What happens with the Hazardous Facilities provisions and the map layer and provisions relating to Priority Areas for Restoration in the PDP?
- How will Council progress the management of hazardous substances and facilities?
- What rules apply if I need to use a hazardous substance?
- Is there a regulatory gap resulting from the withdrawal of provisions?
- What happens if I made a submission (or further submission) on one of these topics that has been withdrawn?
- How do I know whether my submission is affected by the withdrawal of provisions?
As a result of community and submitter concerns surrounding many of the PDP provisions, the Council commissioned two independent review reports of the PDP in November 2013.
On 24 June 2014 the Council received final copies of the two independent review reports entitled 'Coastal Erosion Hazard Assessment for the Kāpiti Coast: Review of the Science & Assessment Undertaken for the Proposed Kāpiti Coast District Plan' and 'Independent Review of the Kāpiti Coast Proposed District Plan'. The key finding of the Independent Coastal Hazard review panel was:
"The opinion of the Panel based on its review is that the existing recommended hazard lines are not sufficiently robust for incorporation into the Proposed District Plan. However there are components of the analyses undertaken by Lumsden and CSL, which if updated and combined could potentially yield scientifically–sound, best practice hazard lines for the Kāpiti Coast."
The report then presented a series of further technical recommendations to improve the scientific evidence to quantify the coastal hazard risks posed to the Kāpiti coastline.
Sylvia Allan, in the 'Independent Review of the Kāpiti Coast Proposed District Plan’, recommended the formal withdrawal of the coastal hazard provisions of the PDP.
Council has committed to a two-to-three-year programme of scientific and engineering research for coastal hazards.
Yes, but the nature of those provisions will not be decided until the research programme has been completed. It is too early to say what such provisions could look like.
Council is forming a Coastal Advisory Group (CAG) comprised of statutory agencies and community representatives to guide the Council's future work programme decisions on coastal hazard issues and to facilitate community engagement.
The consultation will be undertaken as part of this process.
Any decision to use updated District Plan provisions (or non-regulatory methods or both) to deal with coastal erosion hazards will only be made after the new research has been completed and all of the management options have been assessed through the CAG.
For these reasons, any revised coastal provisions are not expected to be notified until 2019.
Coastal hazards will continue to be addressed by the Operative District Plan while the coastal hazards research continues. The relevant Operative District Plan (1999) provisions can be found here.
What happens with the Hazardous Facilities provisions and the map layer and provisions relating to Priority Areas for Restoration in the PDP?
They have been withdrawn, in a similar process to the coastal hazard provisions.
The reasons include the previous process being considered not best practice, conflicts with requirements for landowners to comply with Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) legislation, and the evidence base for Priority Areas for Restoration being extremely limited.
Withdrawing these provisions results in the removal of objectives, policies, map information, rules, some definitions (which relate to these issues only) and cross references to these provisions.
Council has undertaken a benchmarking exercise to see how other district plans are managing their hazardous substances and facilities.
Based on research and best-practice planning, Council will develop replacement provisions and progress a change to the district plan.
Consultation with the community and affected parties will be a key part of the process of developing these provisions. In due course, new district plan provisions will go through a public notification process with submissions, hearings and decisions.
The Operative District Plan provisions relating to hazardous substances and facilities will prevail while a plan change is being developed. Objectives and policies relating to hazardous substances are contained in Part C.17 of the Operative District Plan. Standards relating to Hazardous Facilities are contained in Part M of the Operative District Plan.
There are also standards contained in the zone rules which require that no activity shall exceed a Hazardous Facility Threshold (effects ratio) of 0.2.
The Operative District Plan's provisions relating to coastal hazards and hazardous substances and facilities continue to apply.
As part of its ongoing full district plan review programme, the Council is continuing its work to develop new provisions relating to coastal hazards and hazardous substances and facilities.
In relation to coastal hazards, that work includes a two-to-three year programme of scientific and engineering research, guided by the Coastal Advisory Group comprised of statutory agencies and community representatives.
In due course, the Council will be consulting on and then notifying new provisions to replace the proposed provisions that were withdrawn on 30 October 2014.
What happens if I made a submission (or further submission) on one of these topics that has been withdrawn?
These points of submission (and in some cases the full submission) will effectively fall away as the provisions to which they relate have been withdrawn. Further submissions on these matters will also be affected.
Council has annotated the summary of submissions to indicate points of submission that are affected by the withdrawal. You can find your summarised submission on the Council website and search for your submission or further submission by your name or by your submission number.
Submission points which are affected by the withdrawal have been annotated in the summary of submissions. The table below gives the wording used in the annotations and describes what those annotations mean:
|| Description of effect
[Submission point is about plan provisions withdrawn on 30 October 2014 and/or about associated process matters.]
Whole submission point is affected by the withdrawal of provisions.
This annotation indicates that the submission point as a whole is no longer relevant as the provision to which it relates has been withdrawn.
[Submission point is, in part, about plan provisions withdrawn on 30 October 2014 and/or about associated process matters.]
Part of the submission point is affected by the withdrawal of provisions.
This annotation indicates that part of the submission point is no longer relevant as the provision to which it relates has been withdrawn. However part of the submission point is still relevant as it relates to remaining provisions.
- How long will it take to get an Operative District Plan?
- What was the process for appointing commissioners to sit on the PDP Hearings?
- How will the community as a whole be kept informed on what is happening with the PDP?
- Is tāngata whenua being engaged within this process?
How long will it take to get an Operative District Plan?
An Implementation Plan has been mapped out which foresees formal hearings beginning in April 2016.
By taking the coastal hazard provisions out of the PDP, a contentious area was removed and staff are able to engage with submitters to resolve other areas of difference and reach consensus where possible.
How will the community as a whole be kept informed on what is happening with the PDP?
A communications and engagement plan addresses distinct groups, namely submitters, the whole of Community, Councillors and Community Board Members, iwi and internal staff.
Each group will be kept updated on a regular basis in a variety of ways, such as a special newsletter, Council briefings, press releases, website/Facebook updates, Mayor's column etc on an as-required basis.
There has been significant involvement of tāngata whenua in the District Plan process. In 2009/2010, Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti signalled a clear desire to participate in the review of the District Plan. This led to the establishment of a Tāngata Whenua District Plan Working Party. The group consists of representation from each of the three iwi groups in the District. The working party continues to meet regularly (usually six-weekly) to discuss District Plan issues, and is now looking to advance monitoring work to ensure tikanga identified through the process are being managed in an appropriate way. The Council has also decided to appoint an iwi commissioner to the Hearings Panel.
Changes that arose after July 2014
This section contains answers to frequently asked questions on the developments in the Proposed District Plan (PDP) Process that occurred after Council decisions in July 2014.
- What action was taken?
- Which chapters of the PDP are affected? How will this affect submissions?
- What has happened to rules contained in the PDP which have immediate legal effect?
- How have submitters been informed of all the changes?
- While the PDP process continues, what District Plan rules are in force?
- How can I get further information?
Changes followed the Council's decision in July 2014 to adopt Option 4 of those recommended by the Independent Review of the PDP. Staff analysed the PDP and identified all related objectives, policies, rules and map layers that needed to be withdrawn.
Council's Regulatory Management Committee (RMC) on 2 October 2014 endorsed arrangements to withdraw provisions relating to not just coastal hazards but also to hazardous substances and facilities, and priority areas for restoration.
Which chapters of the PDP are affected by the withdrawal of provisions?
The main PDP Chapters affected by the changes are:
- Chapter 1 Introduction and Interpretation (particularly Definitions);
- Chapter 3 Natural Environment;
- Chapter 4 Coastal Environment;
- Chapter 9 Hazards.
What has happened to rules contained in the PDP which have immediate legal effect?
The PDP included a list of rules having immediate legal effect in Chapter 1: Introduction and Interpretation. One of the independent review's findings was that this list included some rules that technically do not meet the requirements for immediate legal effect.
Council, with legal advice, undertook resolved a detailed review of the rules and amended the list. The main amendments to the list were:
- removal of rules pertaining to contaminated land;
- clarification that the rules apply to scheduled heritage sites and buildings rather than just historic heritage;
- removal of some vegetation rules – but those applying within ecological sites and to rare and threatened vegetation still have effect.
Rules which are not in the amended list don't have legal effect until final decisions are made on submissions relating to those rules and are notified. This will be after the PDP hearings scheduled for 2016.
How have submissions been affected by the amendments to the list of rules having immediate legal effect?
The amendments to this list will not have effect on the status of submissions. Decisions made on submissions can result in changes to any rules which are the subject of submissions.
How have submitters been informed of all the changes?
A letter explaining the revised list of rules with immediate legal effect was sent to submitters in October 2014.
A letter was also sent to all submitters to accompany the notification of withdrawal of provisions on 30 October 2014, so people could understand which provisions had been withdrawn.
The strikethrough version of the PDP chapters identifying withdrawn text, and amended maps is available to view or download from the website, and to view at Council offices and libraries after 30 October 2014.
While the PDP process continues, what District Plan rules are in force?
The Operative District Plan (i.e. the existing District Plan) will apply. The Operative District Plan includes rules applying to the coastal environment, and to hazardous facilities and substances.
If anyone would like further information, they can email [email protected] or phone Council on (04) 296 4700 or 0800 486 486.