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Proposed Selwyn District Plan Update

By Thomas Holmes, Planner, Baseline Group | Nov 21, 2022

Selwyn District Council’s proposed District Plan was notified on 5 October 2020 and is now nearly two years into the consultation process, with hearings now complete. Council have delayed the release of the fully Operative Plan until 20 August 2023 to align with the decision on the new legislation required by Central Government relating to medium density standards.

Council expects to hold public hearings between April - May 2023. At these hearings, independent commissioners will consider submissions made by the general public and recommendations by Council staff. Anyone who has made a submission will be notified on how they speak on their submission at the hearing. So far, a total of 118 submissions have been made on the variation to the proposed District Plan, which has covered around 1,200 individual submission points.

Importantly, if you made a submission on the notified Plan and it was in relation to the General Residential Zone (GRZ) in Lincoln, Rolleston or Prebbleton, you now will need to make an additional submission to the varied provisions in relation to the changes to include a new Medium Density Residential Zone (MRZ). These provisions allow for much greater density in line with Government Directions, designed to make better use of urban-zoned land and avoid the need for urban sprawl into existing highly productive soils on the edge of town.

There are elements of the proposed District Plan that have been operative since its notification that addresses specific issues like listed historic items, notable trees, Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori (SASM sites), and significant areas of biodiversity. SASM sites include a large number of waterways and wetlands throughout the district. Any site subject to subdivision that adjoins any of these sites will require consultation with the relevant rūnanga for the area. Written approval will be required to support any subdivision application or development on land adjoining these areas, so applicants will need to factor in the additional cost of their application for this consultation.

Council must notify a decision on Variation 1 by 20 August 2023 in keeping with Government direction within housing intensification legislation. Therefore, this is the key date Council are aiming to have the Plan and Variation 1 operative by. It is important to note this variation will proceed through a new streamlined planning process required by the Government’s new housing intensification legislation. This means there is no right of appeal to the Environment Court once the decisions are made. This limits submitters’ abilities to seek changes if they do not agree with the decisions made.

While the changes set out by the Government to encourage housing supply are not optional, the intention of the consultation process will give ordinary people the chance to shape the details of what type of land is affected and how these rules are applied in their area. Submissions can be made on issues likely have an impact on people’s livelihoods such as the rezoning of land from rural to residential.

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