Councils are required to prepare a District Plan under the Resource Management Act 1991. Our Operative District Plan is nearly 20 years old and it’s time for a plan that reflects who we are today and our aspirations for the future. When district plans need to be changed or updated, councils must follow steps provided by the Resource Management Act 1991.
In November 2016, Central Hawke’s Bay embarked on a bold and ambitious new journey as council and community created a new vision for Central Hawke’s Bay – Together we Thrive! The District Plan is a key tool to bring the outcomes of Project Thrive alive for our community.
We began reviewing our Operative District Plan in 2018. The planning department started with an initial analysis of the Operative District Plan to find technical gaps and inconsistencies, and to identify what worked well.
In 2019 we developed a Draft District Plan and held public meetings throughout the district to get feedback on it, and to find out what communities felt were the critical issues in our district. The Draft District Plan covered many areas, including:
Providing for Sustainable Growth – We’d been monitoring the availability of land and know we have some growth capacity in our urban areas and towns. We earmarked new areas for residential and industrial growth, for when it is needed.
Coastal Settlements and Rural Townships - Our coastal environment is special and has different land and resource use issues to other parts of the district. Provisions in the District Plan can help manage coastal settlement sizes and protect high natural character areas and landscapes.
Protecting our Land Resources - Our landscapes and natural environment are precious. We’ve identified new significant natural areas and (for the first time) outstanding natural landscapes and features, and provisions in the District Plan can help manage and protect them.
Recognising our Cultural Values and Heritage Areas - Our district has a proud history and it’s vital we recognise areas of significance to our tangata whenua, marae and our community. The district also has a number of important and prominent historic buildings and some notable trees that should be listed in our plan.
Protecting our Unique Landscape - Our district is made up of areas of naturally fertile land with excellent soils that can be used for a range of different productive purposes. We need to manage how we develop and use this land, possibly by introducing three new rural zones for our district.
The community’s valuable feedback on the Draft District Plan helped us develop the Proposed District Plan. It was publicly notified in May and public submissions were called for, ending 6 August 2021 at 5.00pm. The period for receiving Further Submissions closed at 5pm Tuesday 9 November 2021. Council received 123 submissions and 29 further submissions.
In 2022 submitters were heard over seven different Hearing Streams based on topic groups (all information regarding the hearings can be found via the 'Hearings Portal'). The Hearings are currently adjourned while the Hearings Panel deliberate on all submissions and the evidence provided. It is anticipated that the decision and an updated 'decisions' version of the Proposed District Plan will be publicly notified later this year.
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