There are two types of notified resource consent applications:
Publicly Notified - allows any person to lodge a submission in support and/or opposition, or to indicate a neutral position with respect to an application.
Note: The Central Otago District Council will publicly notify an application by displaying a sign or signs on the site, sending a copy of the application to affected parties and publishing a notice in the Central Otago News or, occasionally other newspapers, such as the Otago Daily Times.
Limited Notified - notice of the application is served on all persons who Council considers to be affected by a proposal, allowing only those persons identified as affected to lodge a submission.
Note: Persons who have been identified as affected and have provided their written approval, do not need to be served notice, and cannot lodge a submission.
Decision to Notify
Sections 95 to 95G of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) outline the requirements for notification of a resource consent application.
In accordance with s95A, an application must be publicly notified if:
the activity will have or is likely to have adverse effects on the environment that are more than minor;
or the applicant requests it; or
a rule or national environmental standard requires public notification.
In addition, Council may choose to publicly notify the application if:
regardless of any other matters, there are special circumstances (s95A(4))
a notification decision has not been made and a further information request is not responded to before the
deadline concerned or the applicant refuses to provide the information requested (s95C).
The decision to notify an application will be made within 20 days of it being lodged with the Council.
The Stages of the Notification Process
The following link provides a flow diagram of the stages of the notification process as prescribed by the provisions of the Resource Management Act 1991:
After the closing date for submissions and before the hearing of the application a planning report is prepared. This outlines the statutory framework under which the application will be considered and will include a summary of submissions, a discussion of relevant information and issues and a recommendation as to whether consent should be granted or refused.
It is important to be aware that the report is a recommendation and isn't binding to the Council or its decision makers.
A copy of the planning report is sent to the applicant and anybody who made a submission a minimum of five working days before the hearing.
Note: A summary of submissions will be provided as part of the planning report.
Hearings are required to be held within 25 working days of the closing date for submissions. Notice of the date, time and location of the hearing will be provided to the applicant and submitters at least 10 working days before the hearing.
A submitter may also attend the hearing and can speak in support of their application should they wish to do so.
Hearings are usually conducted by the Council's Hearings Panel. In some instances Council may appoint an independent commissioner to hear the application in place of the Hearings Panel.
Who can be heard?
The applicant and anybody who has made a submission can speak, either personally or through a representative, and present evidence in support of their application or submission should they wish to do so.
Hearings are potentially expensive and time consuming so it's important to be well prepared. It's helpful to the Hearing Panel or commissioner if you supply copies of the evidence/submission you intend to present at the hearing.
The Hearing procedure
Applicants present evidence in support of their application first, followed by submitters. The applicant has a right of reply once submitters have been heard.
Applicants and submitters may be represented by a lawyer or consultant and have the right to call witnesses if they wish. No one other than the Hearings Panel or Council officers or consultants through the Chair can question any party or witness and no cross-examination is permitted.
A decision will be made within 15 working days of the hearing. The applicant and submitters will receive a written copy of the decision, along with the reasons for the decision.
Appealing the Decision
The Council's decision on notified resource consent applications can be appealed to the Environment Court by the applicant or any submitter. Appeals must be lodged within 15 working days of the Council's decision being received.