Bay of Plenty applies to use streamlined planning process to fast-track housing

  • Nick Smith

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has applied to use a Streamlined Planning Process (SPP) introduced under Resource Management Act reforms in order to meet the region’s growing demand for new housing, Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith says.

“Bay of Plenty is one of New Zealand’s highest growth areas and while the local economy is booming, population growth is placing increasing pressure on housing supply in the region,” Dr Smith says.

“It is crucial that New Zealand’s high-growth regions like the Bay of Plenty are proactive in managing this growth, by providing sufficient land to meet the demand for housing. The new streamlined planning process will support the Regional Council in achieving this.

“The Regional Council, together with the Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Tauranga City Council and the NZ Transport Agency, have launched a collaborative project, Tauriko for Tomorrow, as part of their wider SmartGrowth partnership for the region. This project aims to create a new community in Tauriko West to accommodate 2800 new dwellings.”

To achieve the new development the Regional Council needs to amend its Regional Policy Statement to include 280 hectares of land currently zoned for rural use at Tauriko West within its urban limits line. This means the land can be subsequently rezoned for residential development through a change to the Tauranga City Plan.

“I am pleased to confirm I have received the Regional Council’s application to use the SPP to amend its Regional Policy Statement,” Dr Smith says.

“If approved, the Regional Council will follow a clear process, including pre-notification consultation with relevant iwi authorities, public notification, public consultation, and a public hearing with at least one independent hearing commissioner.”

“I expect to make a decision on the streamlined application in the next week, given the importance of opening up new land as quickly as possible. If approved following the streamlined process, the final decision on any changes would be made by the Minister for the Environment in 2018.”