Information for Affected Persons
Are you being affected by another person’s resource consent?
If the Manawatu District Council considers you to be potentially adversely affected by a land use or subdivision proposal, it is the applicant’s responsibility to seek your written approval to the activity that they are proposing. If they do not get the written approvals their application will be either be limited notified or publicly notified.
There are, however, some types of applications that do not give rise to the “affected person” process.
If you have been identified as an affected party, the applicant or someone acting on their behalf will contact you and ask you to sign:
- plans outlining the proposed activity, and
- an affected person’s consent form
It is your responsibility to make sure you understand why your approval is being sought, and what effect the proposed activity will have on you and your property. It is your right to:
- question the applicant about the proposed activity, and
- seek further information about the resource consent process - and your part in it - from Council or a planning consultant or solicitor
The Manawatu District Council cannot advise you whether you should or shouldn’t give your approval but we can provide information on the resource consent process. You should seek independent advice if you are not sure whether you should provide your written approval to the proposal or development.
It is also important to note that once you sign an affected person’s consent form, the Manawatu District Council cannot consider any adverse effects of the activity on you when reviewing the resource consent application.
If you want to take your time to consider the proposal it is worth noting that there is no legal timeframe for giving written approvals.
If an applicant asks you to sign by a specified date it is usually for their own convenience or requirement. If you need more time to consider it then you should say so.
What should I do if I support the approval of the application?
If you agree with what the applicant is proposing, you may decide to sign the forms. You should always insist on signing the consent form, the application itself (including plans) and the assessment of environmental effects. The applicant is required to show you all these documents. This is also a safeguard for you so that you are quite clear what you are agreeing to.
What if I change my mind?
You are quite entitled to change your mind after you have signed an affected party consent form. If you decide to withdraw your consent you can do so, but you must do this before the application has been considered by the Council. Otherwise the Council will assume you agree with the application. If you decide to withdraw your consent you can telephone the planning section of the Council, but you should also send in a brief letter recording the withdrawal of the consent. The withdrawal of the consent may mean the application has to be notified.
Can I change the proposal?
You are entitled to discuss the application with the applicant and seek possible solutions to any concerns that you may have. The applicant may be willing to negotiate and change the proposal to reduce its impact on you.
The Council only accepts unconditional approvals from affected persons so you cannot make changes to the proposed activity by giving conditional or partial consent.
Any changes to the proposal must be incorporated into the plans and application. Private agreements outside the scope of the resource consent application are sometimes entered into but as these are private, the Council has no power to enforce or monitor them.
What if I don’t approve?
If you don’t want to give your written approval and you are a potentially adversely affected person the application will be notified.
If a resource consent application is publicly notified, it generally means details about that application are publicly advertised, and sent to anyone who has been identified as being directly affected by the proposal, any relevant interest groups and other organisations/persons as required by the Resource Management Act 1991.
In some cases where effects are limited, the notification process can be limited to serving a notice on only directly affected parties. This would include you.
Notification is intended to give other parties the opportunity to ‘have their say’ on the activity proposed in the resource consent application.
This means that you will have the opportunity to formally lodge a submission on the proposed activity through the submission process.
What if I am the applicant?
If you are making an application for resource consent Council will identify who may be adversely affected (if anyone). It is important to ensure parties you approach sign all the appropriate papers, otherwise the approvals may not be valid and you will have to re-visit all concerned.
It is important to note that owners and occupiers of a property can be affected parties.
Please note that the final decision on who is an affected party is made by senior Council Officers with delegated authority. As an applicant trying to obtain affected parties consents you also need to consider the importance of what you are asking them to do in signing such a form. Try to put yourselves in their shoes as this may help you appreciate the concerns that some people may have. It is important to listen to people’s reasons for withholding a consent. Sometimes you will be able to change your proposal slightly to meet their concerns but still meet your objectives. Keep an open mind.
What can I do if a person will not give their consent?
On the odd occasion applicants and/or affected parties refuse to discuss options and this can lead to a stalemate. The Council’s hands are tied in this situation. If it has been decided that someone may be adversely affected then it is up to you as the applicant to get their consent to the proposal. If this is not possible then the application must be notified. Alternatively, an option might be to completely rethink the proposal and to design it in a way that does not affect that person. Sometimes an applicant chooses not to proceed with the application.
Who can help?
If you are required to obtain parties’ consents by the Council or if you are approached by someone who requires your consent, think carefully about the process. If you have any concerns or questions you can ring the Council and discuss them with a Council planner.