Western Bay Council reviews District Plan
Western Bay of Plenty District Council is considering making changes to its District Plan and is seeking early feedback before notifying formal proposals.
Council’s Manager of Resource Management, Phillip Martelli, says a number of changes aim to cater for growth across the horticultural sector, particularly the kiwifruit industry.
“Burgeoning production volumes in horticulture has prompted much of the review,” says Phillip. “The Plan’s existing rules are 10 years old and we need to ensure they support the industry and communities in which they operate.”
Key proposals up for public feedback include enabling a greater variety of purpose built accommodation to cater for seasonal workers and expanding areas for some post-harvest zones to meet the demands of growth and provide for more seasonal worker accommodation on-site.
Phillip says changes are also proposed to make it easier and less costly to develop walkway and cycleway projects in the Western Bay.
“Under current arrangements there’s a requirement to work through a complex resource consenting process to develop walkways, cycleways and trails.
“While we need to ensure the best outcome for the environment when developing these amenities, we can provide a more efficient and effective rule framework, particularly when it comes to provisions for earthworks and hazard areas for each project,” says Phillip.
In addition to these proposals, Council is seeking feedback on changes to rules relating to:
- Cleanfill activities within the Rural Zone
- Sale of goods by home enterprises
- Maintenance of stop banks and drains in floodable areas
- Frost protection fans
- Rural contractor depots
- Noise standards within industrial zones
Phillip is encouraging people to have their say by visiting the Council website.
“It’s important we get feedback early on in the process so we can further develop the proposals before going into a formal public notification process that we anticipate getting underway in August or September.”
Full details on the proposed changes can be found at haveyoursay.westernbay.govt.nz
Feedback closes 5pm Monday, 24 June 2019.
Further details on the proposed changes are summarised here:
Post Harvest Zone – Review of Provisions
Council is considering the following changes to assist owners of strategic packhouse and coolstore facilities manage their operations in line with the growth of the horticultural sector and greater demand for on-site seasonal worker accommodation:
- expansions of some existing Post Harvest Zones
- an increased level of on-site accommodation from 75 to maybe 200 beds
- increasing the maximum height for buildings from 12m to possibly 20m
- greater clarification of provisions
Accommodation for seasonal workers – Review of Provisions
The provisions for accommodation facilities across all zones is being reviewed to help provide a variety of acceptable and affordable purpose-built accommodation for seasonal workers over the harvest season and other peak work periods.
The review includes:
- investigating provision for temporary rural camp-style accommodation
- making additional provision for accommodation in Industrial Zones
- increasing the limit for (defined) accommodation facilities in all zones
- making additional provision for (defined) seasonal worker accommodation in Rural Zones.
Walkways, cycleways, bridleways and similar trails projects
The current requirement for resource consenting on all trail projects often adds a layer of time and cost that has little benefit to the environment or the project.
Council is exploring how to provide an easier rule framework for a variety of trails while still ensuring the best environmental outcome.
- a definition for walkways, cycleways, bridleways and other similar trails
- a specific activity status for these
- specific consideration of earthworks and hazard area provisions as they relate to each project.
Cleanfill activities within the Rural Zone
Large scale cleanfill activities in rural areas are causing concerns for the community due to heavy vehicle traffic, noise, dust, vibration, loss of visual amenity, property damage and safety of access. Council is looking at changing the rules so that adverse effects on neighbours can be better managed.
Home Enterprises – sale of goods
The performance standard relating to the sale of goods from home enterprises causes confusion. Council is proposing to amend this by clarifying that goods manufactured off-site and sold via internet can be stored on, and distributed from, the site of the ‘Home Enterprise’.
Floodable Areas – maintenance of stop banks and drains
A proposal to clarify that resource consent is not required for earthworks within a classified Floodable Area if those earthworks are carried out for the purpose of maintaining flood control assets (e.g. clearing drains).
Frost protection fans
A proposal to better provide for the operation of frost fans in rural areas, while still managing potential effects on surrounding neighbours. An option being considered is to allow frost fans without the need for resource consent if certain performance standards are met. Minor edits are also being proposed to make the rules easier to use.
Rural contractor depots
Rural contractors’ depots are required to be located at least 60m away from any existing dwelling, minor dwelling, education facility or accommodation facility. Council intends to clarify that this separation distance also applies to vehicle accessways, driveways, manoeuvring and parking areas of the depot.
Noise standards within industrial zones
Noise rules for the Industrial Zone relate to the level of noise received in other neighbouring zones. Currently there are no rules to limit the amount of noise received by properties within the Industrial Zone (i.e. from one industrial property to another). Council is looking to address this issue by including noise limits that will apply within the industrial zone.