The Minister for the Environment, David Parker issued his direction to Bay of Plenty Regional Council last week on the steps to be taken to amend the urban limits and allow for urban development of land at Tauriko West. Tauriko West, on the edge of Tauranga, is the next proposed urban development to support the rapid growth of the western Bay of Plenty and Tauranga.
“As strong population growth continues in Tauranga and the western Bay of Plenty, more land is needed for housing. Through the SmartGrowth partnership between councils and tangata whenua, Tauriko West has been identified as a viable location to open up land for approximately 3,000 new dwellings,” said Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chairman Doug Leeder.
The Tauriko land proposed for development is currently zoned rural in the Western Bay of Plenty District Plan and Tauranga City Plan. The area is currently outside the urban limits of the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement. The first step in the planning process is to include Tauriko West within the urban limits line.
Under the Resource Management Act (RMA) a cascading series of Regional Policy Statement, District Plan and City Plan changes, and land designations are required before the Tauriko West land can be made available for development. Public consultation and notification processes apply to each regulatory change.
“The Tauranga urban limit boundary needs to be shifted, and then the Tauriko West land has to be rezoned to residential, before it can be opened up for development. Bringing the area under the Tauranga City umbrella will allow the new development to be well serviced and integrated with existing infrastructure, transport and community facility networks,” Chairman Leeder said.
The Minister for the Environment’s direction is that new Streamlined Planning Process (SPP) provisions of the RMA should be used to deliver the Regional Policy Statement change by 28 September 2018, ahead of the other required plan changes and state highway alteration processes. Through the SPP provisions, public submissions will be called for by May 2018, and a hearing will follow. The final decision to extend the urban limits for Tauriko West will be made by the Minister. His decision is not able to be appealed to the Environment Court.