Council staff are frequently asked the following questions. The list is not static and will continue to grow as other questions are raised.
What is a PIM?
A PIM (Project Information Memorandum) is a council-supplied document which contains information or requirements that could affect the construction of a proposed building. The PIM should provide you with details of authorisations other than the building consent that could be required, such as resource consents or service connections. The PIM should also tell you what you need to do to get that authorisation, and what effect they may have on the design. PIMs must be produced within 20 working days. A PIM can be applied for separately, if it is not, any application for a building consent will automatically require the generation of a PIM.
What is a LIM?
A LIM (Land Information Memorandum) is a council-issued document which contains any relevant information held by the council about a piece of land. Anyone buying a dwelling or commercial premises may apply to the Council for a LIM. Items covered in the LIM are rates and water charges, refuse and recycling collection information, building permits and consents, protected buildings and trees, historic buildings, planning information, eg Resource Consents, planning zones, any special characteristics of the land or buildings, any requisitions issued by the Council within the property, drainage information relating to sewer and / or storm water, resource consents issued in the immediate neighbourhood, compliance schedules, building warrant of fitness, registrations and licences, swimming pool compliances and valuation data.
Why do I have to pay for Council to process my resource consent?
Section 36 of the Resource Management Act 1991 allows councils to charge for actual and reasonable costs of processing of resource consents, and all councils now charge for such processing. Council takes the view that as the applicant benefits from the granting of a resource consent, the applicant should pay rather than the ratepayers of the District.
Does Environment Southland process resource consents, or is it the Southland District Council?
Both councils process resource consents. Southland District Council deals with applications for land use consent (e.g. activities such as Bed and Breakfast accommodation, new restaurants, gravel extractions, dwellings which exceed the District Plan parameters) and subdivision consents (required before land can be subdivided within the District). Environment Southland deals with water permits (to take, dam, use or divert water), discharge permits (to discharge water or contaminants into the environment), and coastal permits (to undertake activities in the coastal marine area).
Are rules in District Plans the same everywhere, or do they vary?
Each council has its own District Plan - its own set of rules for managing natural and physical resources within its district. That means what is permitted without a consent in Southland District may not necessarily be permitted in Auckland City, and vice versa.
What happens if someone undertakes an activity without getting the necessary resource consent?
The Resource Management Act 1991 gives councils various enforcement options when this happens. Initially, the Council will try to deal with the situation non-adversarially and either stop the unauthorised activity or get the person undertaking the activity to get a resource consent to legalise it . However, if cooperation is not forthcoming the Council can prosecute the offending party or seek an Enforcement Order from the Environment Court. In such situations, Council can seek costs against the other party, and the Court can also impose fines of up to $200,000.
Once I have my resource consent, are there any ongoing costs?
Some consents have monitoring conditions, which means ongoing monitoring by Council staff to ensure the conditions are being met. For example, on a consent for a gravel quarrying operation, Council staff would generally monitor during and at the conclusion of the quarrying to ensure that reinstatement has been undertaken to minimise the visual effect of the activity. Consent holders are charged for such monitoring, and its frequency is spelt out in the consent. Monitoring charges are outlined in Council's schedule of fees and charges.
How long are resource consents valid for?
Land use consents run indefinitely, unless otherwise specified in the consent. In some instances, the Council may limit the term of the land use consent e.g. to five years. When a consent is granted, a consent holder has five years to give effect to the consent. For example, if you get a resource consent in 1999, and don't do anything until 2007, then your resource consent would have lapsed and you would have to reapply. However, the Council has some discretion in this regard and can extend the period if it is satisfied that substantial progress has been made towards giving effect to the consent.
Why are iwi issues considered in the resource consent process?
The Resource Management Act 1991 states that " the relationship of Maori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites, waahi tapu and other taonga" is a matter of national importance which councils must recognise and provide for. Also, the Act states that all persons exercising functions under the Resource Management Act 1991 shall take into account the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi so iwi issues have been given specific status under the Act. This means that appropriate consultation with iwi, via Te Ao Marama (and Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu where necessary), is an important part of the resource consent process.
Do I have to go to the District Council's Invercargill office to view an application for resource consent?
No. Copies of relevant resource consent applications are available in area offices for viewing. Copies of the District Plan are also available for viewing at these offices.
Sometimes I see signs around the district with "Application for Resource Consent" on them. What are these for?
When Council notifies an application, it is legally required to place a sign on the site of the application to inform the public that it is processing a resource consent for this site. Please note, however, that this only occurs when the application is being dealt with as a notified application. If the application is being dealt with as a non-notified application, a sign is not required.
I have a new business which I want to establish on my farm. It is down a side road, and I want to put a billboard up several kilometres away on the State Highway to direct people to my business. Can I do this?
The short answer is No. The District Plan prevents signage from being erected other than on the actual site of the activity, due to visual effect and traffic safety issues. The New Zealand Transport Agency is also opposed to such signs, which it considers detract from the safe and efficient use of state highways.
About this page
|First added:||22 April 2009|
|Last updated:||23 April 2009|