Whangarei District Council was undertaking a review of its district plan and our client, the Catholic Diocese of Auckland, wished to ensure that the revised plan provided for further development of their two schools.
Civitas was engaged to advise the Diocese on the ways in which the plan could do that and options for participating in the plan review. We were then engaged to explore those options with the Council and give effect to the chosen option.
In early consultation with the Council it became clear that the Council wished to simplify the district plan and, as part of that, intended to remove the “scheduled activity” provisions that had provided for school activities on these sites to date.
Furthermore, as there were only two state-integrated schools and one private school within the district, the Council was not willing to create a Special Purpose – School zone, like that created under the Auckland Unitary Plan, to provide for further development of the sites.
Accordingly, Civitas worked with the Ministry of Education to have the two schools designated by the Minister, so that the schools would be treated the same as state schools and be exempt from the district plan if developed in accordance with their designations.
As part of the project, we prepared a “notice of requirement” and assessment of environmental effects for each school, working closely with our client to ensure that the documents provided the necessary flexibility and with the Ministry of Education to ensure that the documents would align with the Minister’s requirements.
The publicly notified notices of requirement were accepted by the Council and approved by the Ministry without any significant changes.