A goodGround Guide to Resource Consents: Part Five
Resource Consent Processing
The council can process your application for resource consent in one of three ways, depending on what the relevant plan says and the kind of activity you’re proposing. The council may decide that the general public need not be involved; this is called a non-notified application. In fact, most resource consent applications fall into this category, which means that there is no submission or hearings process.
Proposals are publicly notified if they will have or are likely to have an effect on the environment that is ‘more than minor’. Alternatively, the council may decide there should be limited notification of your application. This means the council notifies only those people who it considers might be affected by what you’re proposing. Council staff will tell you whether or not your application will be limited or publicly notified.
Anyone can make a submission on applications that have been publicly notified. The only exception is if you’re a trade competitor to someone else’s business and you want to oppose their application only for trade or business reasons. A public hearing is usually held to give applicants and submitters a chance to speak, and informal pre-hearing meetings may also be held. If you need consents from both a regional council and a district or city council, the two councils may decide to hear the applications together.
Councils can decide to either grant or decline a resource consent. Some activities are ‘controlled activities’; applications to do these must be granted, except for a few exceptions. Even so, when granting consent, the council usually puts some conditions on it. Councils also decide how long to grant resource consent for. Some consents, like subdivision, last forever, while others might last only for a couple of years, for example, a permit to take water from a river.
Councils are expected to process non-notified applications in roughly a month and notified applications in about four months.
You can help make sure your consent application is processed quickly by:
– talking to the council staff early on about what you want to do
– talking to people who you or the council thinks might be affected by your proposal
– giving the council a well-prepared assessment of environmental effects
– responding quickly to requests for further information as the council can decline applications if there is insufficient information to process it