Consulting with Affected People (Applicant for Resource Consent); Affected Person - Approval or Opposition
When deciding a resource consent, we don't only think about the effects on the natural environment. We also consider how the activity will affect other people's use and enjoyment of the environment.
When an application is received by Council, an assessment is made about what effects will result from the proposed activity, the extent and magnitude of the effects, and who is affected by them (ie, whether effects are localised or whether there will be effects on the wider environment).
1. Consulting with Affected People (Applicant for Resource Consent)
When consulting with people who might be affected by your proposal, it might be useful to:
- Find out whether they are likely to support or oppose your proposal.
- Find out whether any issues they might have can be addressed by you.
- Obtain their written approval for your proposal.
If all the people who are likely to be affected by your proposal provide their written approval, your application may be able to be processed without notification. This may speed up the consent process and minimise cost.
Although you are not required to consult, you may find it beneficial to do so. However, 'consultation' does not mean 'agreement'. Even after consulting, there still may remain unresolved issues. This does not prevent you from submitting your resource consent application.
Who to consult
- Adjacent landowners/occupiers.
- Other users of the resource.
- Tangata whenua (local iwi/hapu authorities).
- Anyone else affected by your proposal.
When to consult
The timing is up to you but you may wish to consider consulting at the earliest opportunity to give affected people the chance to consider your proposal. You may also wish to consider consulting more than once as your proposal develops and is refined.
Consulting with Iwi
The Resource Management Act recognises that iwi have a special cultural and spiritual relationship with the environment. Applicants are encouraged to consult early with local iwi who may be affected or interested in a proposal so that they have time to consider and advise of any concerns.
When considering an application, we need to recognise and provide for the relationship of Maori, their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites, waahi tapu and other taonga (treasures). We can provide contact details for iwi who should be consulted in your area. We can also help with the correct procedures on how to consult different iwi. Please contact us to find out more.
Remember, consultation does not require agreement. It is to allow you and the Council to be informed about the views of iwi. If iwi concerns cannot be resolved, and you still want to proceed with your application, then it is imperative that you have made a genuine attempt to consult in an open and honest manner, so that their views are recorded and can be taken into account.
In general, when iwi are approached to consult over a proposal, they may have the expectation that:
- They have access to all relevant consent information.
- There is a willingness to meet face to face and that their views are respected.
- If a meeting is agreed to take place on a local marae, any marae costs are met as part of the consultation process.
- The applicant commissions and pays for a 'Cultural Impact Assessment Report'. This may be desirable for a large-scale development and/or where it can be demonstrated that the proposed activity may have a significant impact on the iwi.
A fee to cover the costs of consultation may be requested by iwi. It is therefore advisable that you discuss potential costs prior to starting consultation.
Iwi Consultation Policy
- To clarify the roles and responsibilities of Tauranga City Council, Tangata Whenua of Tauranga Moana and applicants in respect of resource consent applications under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and provide consistency and certainty within the application process.
- To ensure consultation occurs with Tangata Whenua in instances where Council has an opportunity under the District/City Plan to influence consent granting and/or consent terms and conditions in respect of proposed activities of interest to Tangata Whenua.
- To enable effective and efficient participation by Tangata Whenua in the application process in accordance with this policy.
- To ensure that any resource consent consultative legislative requirements under the Resource Management Act are met.
Consultation with Tangata Whenua on Resource Consent Applications Policy.
2. Affected Person - Approval or Opposition
Often applicants will choose to seek your written approval for a proposal before they submit an application to Council. The applicant (or someone acting on their behalf) is entitled to contact you in person. It is your responsibility to understand why your approval is being sought, and what effect the proposed activity will have on you and your property. It is your right to question the applicant about the proposed activity, and to seek further information about the resource consent process.
If you provide your written approval to a proposal, the effects on you and your property can be disregarded when the resource consent application is considered by Council. It is important to note that whilst an applicant may consider you to be an affected person, once an application is received by Council, the Council Planner will make their own determination as to the level of effects and who is affected by them.
Applicants often choose to consult widely in order to smooth the processing of their application, however, an applicant can still choose to submit an application if they have not gathered approval from potentially affected persons. It is also important to note that just because some people and organisations have an interest in the proposal, it does not mean that they may be affected.
Once an application is submitted, if you are considered to be adversely affected by activities proposed in a resource consent application, we will tell the applicant. It is then the responsibility of the applicant to seek your written approval to their proposed activity. Some applications are notified by Council and, if that is the case, we will provide you with details of the application and ask you if you wish to make a submission.
We cannot advise you if you should or shouldn't give your approval but we can provide information on the consent process. You should seek independent advice if you are not sure whether you should provide your written approval to the proposal.
Supporting the proposal
If you want to give your approval, you should sign the Written Approval of Affected Persons form and the application plans. A copy of the form is on our forms for resource consents page. You may also choose to sign the Assessment of Environmental Effects, plans attached and any supplementary reports provided by the applicant. The applicant should show you all these documents. Ask the applicant for a copy of the signed documents and keep them so you know what you are agreeing to.
Your approval of the proposal must be 'unconditional', ie, you cannot state that your approval is subject to certain actions being undertaken by the applicant.
Not supporting the proposal
You are within your rights to not give your approval. You do not need to give reasons and there is no set timeframe in which you must decide.
If an applicant gives you a date to respond by, this is usually for their convenience and it is not a council deadline. So if you need more time to consider the proposal, then ask for it. As detailed above, the applicant may choose to submit the application to Council despite the absence of your written approval.
In the situation where an application has been notified to you by Council, you will be given a timeframe of 20 working days in which to make your submission in opposition.
Can I change my mind?
You are allowed to change your mind after you have given written approval if the resource consent has not already been decided by Council. If you decide to withdraw your approval, you must do so as soon as possible as we may need to notify the application. You should confirm your withdrawal of approval in writing to us.
Can I change the proposal?
You are entitled to discuss the application with the applicant and seek out possible solutions to any concerns you may have. The applicant may be willing to negotiate and change their proposal to reduce its impact on you.
The Council only accepts unconditional approval from affected persons so you cannot make changes to the proposed activity by giving conditional or partial approval. Any changes to the proposal must be incorporated into the plans and application.
Private agreements outside the scope of the resource consent application are sometimes entered into, but as these are private, we have no power to enforce or monitor them.
3. Making a submission
A submission is a written statement about a notified resource consent application. It may support or oppose the proposal, or just express a point of view.
Any person or organisation can make a submission on a publicly notified application. You have 20 working days to make a submission from the date of notification. If the application is limited notified, however, only those people served with the application are able to put in a submission. A 20 working day timeframe also applies in order to make a submission supporting or opposing the application.
Should I make a submission?
Before making a submission you should:
- Ensure you understand what the application is about, and what the effects are likely to be, by reading all of the information provided with the application.
- Talk to us or your own professional advisors about your issues and concerns and how they might be addressed. Council cannot, however, advise whether or not you should make a submission.
- Talk to the applicant and discuss your issues and concerns with them. You may be able to reach an agreement without going through the formal submission process.
Preparing a submission
Prepare your submission using our submission form or complete it online. Your submission will be more effective if it is clear, concise and supports your views with adequate information. It must relate to issues that arise from the application. Your submission must clearly state:
- Whether you support or oppose the application, or if you wish to make a comment only (neutral submission).
- The particular parts of the application you are concerned about.
- Your reasons for making the submission.
- The decision you wish us to make.
- Any conditions you feel should be imposed if the consent is granted.
- If you wish to speak in support of your submission at any hearing that may be held.
How do I lodge a submission?
- You can make a resource consent submission online.
- Or you can post or deliver it to the Council Service Centre in Willow Street.
We must receive your submission on or before the submission closing date stated on the public notice or letter. Remember to send a copy of your submission to the applicant at the address given on your public notice or letter.
What happens next?
We encourage applicants and submitters to communicate directly to discuss any concerns and identify ways in which they can be addressed. If that doesn't work, we may arrange an informal pre-hearing meeting to try and resolve these issues.
If issues are not resolved, a hearing may be held to make a decision on the application.
Last Reviewed: 19/07/2016