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Frequently Asked Questions

Every Council is required to have a District Plan. It is a ‘rule book’ that directs how we will use, develop and subdivide land in our district. It includes Council's environmental objectives and policies and sets out the rules to help us achieve those goals. It specifies what can and can’t be done without a Resource Consent, and the standards that must be followed. District Plans ensure that our current needs, including economic and residential growth, are balanced with protecting the natural environment for our residents today and for future generations.

At the moment, there is both an Operative and Proposed District Plan.  Until appeals on the Proposed District Plan have been resolved, both plans apply. 

District Plan maps show the zonings that apply across the district, for instance:

  • Residential
  • Rural
  • Commercial/ Retail
  • Industrial / service

For each zone, the District Plan has a set of provisions that regulate activities within them.  There are also rules that apply across the District.  For instance the Proposed District Plan includes rules relating to matters such as Natural Hazards, Historic Heritage, Sites and Areas of Significance to Maori and Significant Natural Areas.

Everyone is affected by the District Plan because it helps shape how we live, work and play in Central Hawke’s Bay. Its policies are designed to ensure the environment, and the things people love about living here are protected.

No-one can use land in a way that disregards the District Plan – even visitors need to follow rules relating to things like hazard management and noise.

Our district, values and people are quite different from the time our current District Plan was prepared nearly 20 years ago. As good practice, a District Plan should be reviewed every 10 years.

A District Plan plays a big part in how we manage growth in the district, addressing a range of issues including character, amenity, heritage and landscape, open spaces, urban growth, subdivision and coastal management.

You may be interested in big picture aspects of the District Plan like outstanding landscapes, or just what you can and can’t do on your property – subdividing, building a new garage or deck, or starting a home business.

The Proposed District Plan was notified on 28 May 2021, and received 123 submissions and 29 further submissions. Submitters and further submitters were able to present their submissions and evidence to a Hearing Panel throughout 2022.

Now that the Council has made its decisions on the Proposed District Plan (PDP), all provisions have legal effect.  This means it will regulate the things that you do with your land.  As the PDP moves closer to finalisation, the Council will give greater weight to the objectives, policies and rules it contains when making decisions on resource consent applications. Once all appeals have been resolved, the PDP will be in its final form and will become operative, completely replacing the current Operative District Plan.

View the timeline here

The decisions on the Proposed District Plan was publicly notified on 25 May 2023. The Council has made decisions on matters raised in submissions and has decided on the content of the Proposed District Plan. The full reasons for the decisions are set out here and can be viewed along with all submissions and further submissions on our website here.

From the date Council served notice of its decision on submitters and further submitters, those persons may appeal the Council's decision to the Environment Court. Appeals must be lodged within 30 working days. Further details of the appeal process are available on the Council website here.

To help explain the provisions of the Proposed District Plan, five key themes have been developed. Click here to read about the key themes.

We have worked closely with tangata whenua while preparing the plan, including partaking in hui, field trips and presentations, and having Taiwhenua o Tamatea representation on the plan sub-committee. The plan includes specific chapters addressing cultural values, sites of cultural significance, and papakāinga and kaumatua housing.

Council issued its decision on the Proposed District Plan and matters raised in submissions on 25 May 2023. Appeals on the Council’s decisions to the Environment Court may be lodged within 30 days of the decisions being notified to submitters and further submitters.

All rules in the Proposed District Plan came into effect when Council notified its decision – this includes all rules around subdivision and minimum lot sizes. The subdivision rules and performance standards in the Operative District Plan will continue to be operative and carry some weight in decision-making until all appeals on Council’s decisions on the Proposed District Plan are resolved and the Proposed District Plan is made operative through Council resolution.

All of the provisions that were not previously in effect come into immediate effect from 25 May 2023 when Council notified its decisions on the Proposed District Plan and all matters raised in submissions/further submissions.

Prior to notification of the decisions, provisions relating to matters of national significance such as the protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation or habitats of indigenous fauna, and historic heritage had legal effect from notification of the Proposed Plan in May 2021, in accordance with s86B Resource Management Act 1991.

Some rules were treated as operative after submissions were received because there was no opposition to them. These rules related to Renewable Energy, Signs, and the General Industrial Zone. See below. 

Operative PDP Rule


ODP Rule no longer operative

Renewable Energy – R2

Works or activities associated with the on-going operation, maintenance or upgrading of existing, lawfully established Renewable Electricity Generation Activities (All Zones)



Traffic signs or signs denoting the name of a road or the street number of the premises (All Zones)



Temporary signs for community, educational and recreational events and during building construction (All zones)



Signs advertising that a property is for sale (All zones)



Signs painted, or attached directly, onto vehicles or trailers (All zones)



Tyre Storage



Commercial boarding and/or breeding of cats, dogs and other domestic pets



Relocatable building depots

12.3.1(b) within the Business Zone 2 only

Your property may be shown on the planning maps as being in, or including, a significant natural area. This means you have a special area on all or part of your land that has high biodiversity value. Provisions in the Proposed District Plan will ensure these areas are protected for future generations.  There are some controls on vegetation clearance although many day to day activities will not require a resource consent.  The rules are contained in the ‘Natural Environment Values’ section of the Proposed District Plan.   Have a look at the plan review documents to read the technical reports that led to these provisions.

Check the Operative and Proposed District Plan to see how your activity is classified:

  • Permitted - allowed if you follow the standards outlining how the activity must be done
  • Controlled - requires resource consent but will be approved if meets standards
  • Restricted discretionary - requires resource consent and Council has discretion over certain matters when deciding whether to grant a resource consent
  • Discretionary - requires resource consent and effects will be assessed and resource consent granted or declined on a case by case basis
  • Non-complying - resource consent granted only under exceptional circumstances
  • Prohibited - not allowed at all, even with a resource consent

Once you have approval you need to ensure your activity is undertaken within the plan’s rules and standards.

With the public notification of decisions on the Proposed District Plan on 25 May 2023, all rules and provisions have legal effect. This means that applications for resource consent will need to be made under, and assessed against, both the Operative District Plan and the Proposed District Plan.

Applications involving two district plans can be quite complex and it is suggested that you consult a professional to assist you with any application for consent.

Activities not allowed as of right on your land may require a resource consent (authorisation) from Council to proceed.

Yes, you can talk to one on the phone by ringing Council on 06 857 8060; or you can email us.


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