Frequently Asked Questions


What do I need consent for?

Consents are needed for ALL subdivisions or to allow for activities not listed as a permitted activity in the District Plan (land use consent).

Can I get general land use consent to carry out any activity I want?

No. Land use consents are granted for a specific activity or breach of the District Plan which must be included in your application.

Can my property be subdivided?

Subdivisions always require consents. If you can meet a certain criteria, your subdivision may proceed with a controlled status. If it cannot, it must proceed as a discretionary activity. Either way you must apply to subdivide with the necessary information before it can be consented.

Can I find out if my property can be subdivided without applying for consent?

You should seek advice from a Surveyor or Planning Consultant prior to applying for consent. Council are able to provide some initial free advice and then you will be charged. Council policy allows for 30 minutes free consultation.

The Council will assess each subdivision case individually in response to an application. No guarantee can be given on the eligibility of a property to be subdivided.

What is the difference between controlled and discretionary?

If an activity doesn't comply with the permitted activity rules but is within the guidelines as a controlled activity, a consent is still required but Council may only reserve control over the matters that are listed in the District Plan. If an activity doesn't comply with the permitted activity rule and there is no controlled activity allowance in the Plan, it requires consent and the Council may apply discretion about the entire proposal.

How much does a Land Use consent or a Subdivision consent cost?

Consents require an initial deposit which varies based on what type of consent is being applied for. Following the consent being issued, the applicant will either receive an invoice for any costs not met by the deposit or a refund for any remaining deposit not required. This final bill is sent out at the end of each month so you may expect some delay between having the consent issued and receiving the bill. A full pricing list covering deposits required is available in Fees and Charges.

How long does it take for consent to be issued from time of application?

There is a statutory time frame of 20 working days to process an application. In the case of further information or affected parties sign off being required the consent may be put on hold, effectively stopping the clock until the information needed is provided.

If an application is "notified" (limited or public – see below) then the process is extended to include a submission period, perhaps a hearing and then a decision.

What/who are affected parties and what do they have to do with my consent?

Affected parties are anyone that Council deems to be affected by a proposal. Often these are neighbours or surrounding landowners, however this may also include external party's such as NZTA (if your property adjoins a state highway), Department of Conservation (for example if the activity is in the coastal environment or margins of a lake or river) or the Grey District Council as the infrastructure owner. In order to complete consent, the applicant must seek the approval of affected parties by way of a signature on a copy of the proposal plan and an Affected Party Form. Check out the useful affected parties guide below.

 Affected Parties Approval Guide (PDF, 76KB)

What if I can't get written approval from an affected party?

In this case consent may proceed as being limited notified. This means the people that the Council has identified as being potentially affected, but haven't provided their approval, are notified of your application and are given an opportunity to submit on your proposal. If no submissions are received, the consent may finish being processed. If a proposal receives any submissions a hearing may be held.

What is public notification?

Public notification on a consent occurs when the Council deems the effects of a proposal to be more than minor or affecting the wider community. If a consent is publicly notified, members of the public are invited to submit for or against the proposal. In the event of no submissions, the consent may proceed. If submissions are received, the submitters are invited to a hearing to raise their issues. Following the hearing the submitter's views are considered and a decision is given.

How can I speed up the processing time for my consent?

While processing time depends on the complexity of the application as well as the general work load of the Council, you can speed up the process by making sure all the information we require is provided with the application. If you believe your neighbours may be an affected party it is a good idea to include their written approval with the application.

Note. Council often recommends working with a consultant, as although this can be costly, it can speed up the process and may actually reduce costs.

What is the consent process?

The first step for an applicant is to gather the necessary information needed for an application.

Following this, applicants should fill an application form and attach the necessary documents. The deposit must be paid upon submitting the application to Environmental Services at Grey District Council.

Our Planners will then assess your application and begin processing it. A Consent application may be returned if it is incomplete. During processing the application may be put on hold by Council if further information or written approval from affected parties is required.

A site visit may also be conducted if it is deemed necessary to assist in processing the consent.

The consent may be limited notified if written approval cannot be sought from affected parties or at request of the applicant. Similarly consent may become publically notified at request of applicant or if the proposal may potentially have an effect on the greater community.

Finally a decision will be issued to the applicant providing any conditions which must be complied with.

Note. Some consents require monitoring of particular conditions. This occurs after the consent has been granted.

How do I know which rules from the District Plan apply to me?

A copy of the District Plan is available online or can be viewed at Council offices, 105 Tainui Street. This plan contains 'rules' for each of our Environmental Area's (Rural, Residential etc). To find which Environmental Area your property is in, check out the District Plan planning maps. Once you have found which Environmental Area you fit within, you can view the relevant rules in the appropriate section of the District Plan.

What is the zoning of my property?

Your Environmental Area can be found in the District Plan or our online mapping system.This is the Planning department's zoning system.

It is important to note that the Rating department have a different classification system. This means your property may have two different zone types, for example 'residential' in the rates system, but 'commercial' in the Planning Environmental Area's. The rates zone is based on services provided and governs how rates are charged, while the Environmental Area's govern which rules apply to land use and subdivisions.

What is a Recession Plane?

A recession plan is an angle taken from an internal boundary (i.e. one that adjoins another property rather than a road) to determine whether a proposed building will shade a neighbouring property more than is permitted. The recession plane guidelines can be found in Appendix 8 of the District Plan.

How can I contact a Planner to discuss my proposal?

Our Planners are available to assist you with information on the District Plan and how it may affect your proposal. Initial enquiries should go to the Customer Services staff at the upstairs Environmental Services counter and depending on its nature, an appointment may be scheduled for a sit down meeting with a Planner. Alternatively Customer Services staff may be contacted on 03 769 8607.

Note: Council policy allows for 30 minutes free consultation after which you may be charged for further consultation.

How long does my Resource Consent last?

The 'term of consent' varies depending on the type of consent it is and also the term requested. Some consents are unlimited and will stay relevant forever. Other consents have a limited term which has an expiry date. Limited term consent may be replaced in order to increase its term if replacement is applied for with no less than six months until it would expire.

What happens if I don't use my consent? (lapsing of consents)

If you do not start the activity authorised by your resource consent within five years of it being granted (or the commencement date specified on the consent), the resource consent will automatically lapse. If a consent is exercised and then not exercised for a continuous period of five years Council can also cancel a consent by giving written notice to the consent holder. You can apply to us for an extension of the lapsing period provided you apply before the consent lapses. Council may only grant an extension of the lapsing period after considering whether substantial progress has been made, and continues to be made, giving effect to (exercising) the consent, if any affected parties have given their approval to the extension, and the effect of the extension on the objectives and policies of any relevant plans (ie the District Plan).

Can I change my consent conditions?

You may apply to change the condition of an active land use consent at any time. A change of condition to a subdivision consent must be made before the survey plan is deposited. If the consent was not originally notified then it can be a simple process handled by our Planning team.

If your consent was publicly or limited notified, then a change of condition may be subject to submissions and can lead to a hearing. The expiry date of a resource consent cannot be changed by seeking a change of conditions.

How are resource consents monitored?

Monitoring of resource consents is carried out by the Council's Resource Monitoring Officers. This is separate from any monitoring or inspections related to a building consent. Consent holders have a legal obligation to comply with the conditions of their consent. If a condition requires monitoring, a monitoring fee will be applied at the final billing stage of the consent. From this point a monitoring officer may visit your site to ensure compliance with the consent condition. Additional fees for monitoring may be charged if fees go over and above the initial fee charged.

If a consent holder does not comply with the conditions of their consent, Council staff may take enforcement action to require compliance. The exact nature of this action will depend on matters such as the degree of non-compliance, frequency and the effect on the environment, but ultimately the Resource Management Act gives Council both the duty and the tools to enforce compliance. The maximum penalties set out in the Act are very severe.​

Page reviewed: 18 Jul 2018 2:50pm