Decision allows for housing growth in Western Bay of Plenty

The Minister Responsible for RMA Reform, Chris Bishop today released his decision on four recommendations referred to him by the Western Bay of Plenty District Council, opening the door to housing growth in the area.

The Council’s Plan Change 92 allows more homes to be built in existing and new residential areas across Ōmokoroa and Te Puke, where they have access to infrastructure, amenities, and community facilities.

“I was asked by the Western Bay of Plenty District Council to reject four recommendations made by an Independent Hearing Panel (IHP) related to railway noise and vibration, as well as two zoning changes, on SH2 near Ōmokoroa,” Mr Bishop says.

“The Council had accepted the majority of the IHP’s recommendations and incorporated them into their District Plan in March this year. Four decisions were referred to me under the Intensification Streamlined Planning process as set out in the RMA.

“I agreed with Council and rejected two of the decisions of the IHP.

“I am not satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to support the introduction of proposed vibration controls recommended by the Independent Hearing Panel. In regard to noise sensitivity, I agreed with the council’s alternative which is less likely to impose unnecessary costs on development.

“However, I accepted two of the IHP’s recommendations to retain two land areas as Future Urban Zone. In one case this change involved the least change from the operative zoning. This is appropriate given the complexity of the planning issues associated with this site.

“In regard to the other land parcel, I agreed with the IHPs recommendation to retain the Future Urban Zone whilst the potential effects on the interface between adjacent zones are appropriately considered.”

A copy of the decisions is attached. The Minister’s decision is final and cannot be appealed to the Environment Court.