Draft district plan up for consultation

A new rule book affecting Kapiti business and property development - including controversial no-build zones - has been approved for consultation.

On Thursday Kapiti Coast District councillors approved the 1400-page draft District Plan for consultation in a process that could trigger stiff opposition and legal action.

The decision comes despite calls at the regulatory management committee meeting to delay the release for more consultation.

Staff at the meeting, however, backed the document and said consultation including submissions, hearings then potentially Environment Court action will take place as part of the process.

The plan includes coastal no-build zones, and relocateable home zones - proposed restrictions based on a coastal erosion report commissioned by the council.

Report findings, outlining erosion risks affecting 1800 coastal properties, were immediately included in affected property LIMs.

At the meeting council strategy and partnerships group manager Gael Ferguson explained the difference between hazard lines in LIMs and no-build zones in the draft plan.

The council can adjust the development restriction zones, proposed using information from the report - but it cannot hide the report information itself. The council was obliged to include the information in LIMs by law.

At the meeting Te Horo Beach resident Joan Allin raised concerns about the ability of the council to complete the review before next October's elections.
''There's no way those hearings are going to be finished before the election.

 So then what happen if councillors don't get elected again? Then the council's going to have to pay them to be commissioners.''
She said new people can't be added - they have to be consistent throughout the hearings. 
Ms Allin said the council should spend the time before the elections on consultation before notifying in the next triennium.

But Dr Ferguson said council staff had canvassed the issue with councillors and had ''geared up'' for the possibility in preparation - but the decision was up to councillors on whether to proceed as planned. The process is expected to take at least nine months.

Meanwhile Ms Allin said the lines on her property in the plan differ significantly from the hazard lines in the report, which took too much of a precautionary approach.

''Please do not publicly notify this draft plan . th. th. why not use this draft plan as a basis for consultation with the community? Get some informal feedback . th. th. get some legal advice about whether, as a matter of law, the precautionary principle has been given too much emphasis in modelling.''

The proposed plan, which applies to subdivision, land use and development, will be publicly notified on November 29 with submissions running till March 1.

Once hearings and appeals are held, and any necessary changes made to the proposed provisions, the new plan will come into effect.

The only new rules that will come into effect immediately are those relating to historic heritage and protection of areas of significant biodiversity - as required by the Resource Management Act. Submissions can still be made on these issues and related provisions in the proposed plan could be amended as a result.

Councillors voted unanimously to approve the plan for consultation.

Kapiti Observer