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District Plan hearings to be held after elections

News Release 

Thursday 8 August 2013

District Plan hearings to be held after elections

ROTORUA 08.08.13:  Rotorua District Council (RDC) has decided to delay the start of its programme of hearings on the proposed District Plan until after this year’s local authority elections.

The decision means a previous decision to appoint current elected members as commissioners for the hearings will not proceed and commissioners will now be appointed by the new council after the elections.

RDC Economic & Regulatory Services group manager, Mark Rawson, said the decision to re-debate the issue at last week’s council meeting took into account a signal from some elected members that they did not wish to continue as commissioners if they were not re-elected on 12 October. He said that raised the question of whether continuity of hearings across the current and next council terms could effectively be achieved.

“The council also believes that there is strategic value in allowing more time to develop a better understanding of landuse and key infrastructure development projects by working with stakeholders and the community. The New Zealand Transport Agency and other stakeholders have welcomed the opportunity to work with RDC to develop an Eastern Suburbs landuse plan.

“Potentially this plan could include some changes in land-use not previously envisaged and possibly urban design recommendations, including governance models for delivering on those proposals.

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“It’s likely that such a package would have implications on future land-use patterns, zonings and infrastructure development across the eastern side of the lake. This in turn would impact on finalising the proposed district plan as well as the development of a sub-regional spatial plan, another major planning project on the horizon,” said Mr Rawson. 

“However, in order for these various land-use and infrastructure opportunities to be explored, we need more time for community engagement.

“Resolution of these issues before district plan hearings take place would mean the hearing and deliberation process would be more streamlined and better informed.

Mr Rawson said the council was confident that they could commence hearings in early 2014 and still achieve the statutory timeframe requiring finalisation of the proposed district plan by mid 2014.


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