The Rural Policy Unit covers all non-urban land within Westland District. Rural-residential areas will be included in the Rural zone. One area at Brickfields previously zoned rural-residential has been included in the Rural zone in recognition that it would be inappropriate to allow development down to small lots. Development in this, and any other rural-residential areas can develop in accordance with resource consents.
Much of the land within the zone is managed by the Department of Conservation and publicly owned. Permission from the Department of Conservation is required in addition to the Council, for activities on this land.
The Airport Protection Zone also lies partly within this policy unit (see section 6.5). The approach recognises the dominant nature of agricultural based activities within the zone but also provides for greater flexibility in the establishment of non-agricultural activities which will contribute to the viability and cohesiveness of rural communities.
The Rural zone includes Otira which has been rezoned in recognition of the natural hazard risk that surrounds the settlement. It also includes the Waiho River General Flood Hazard Area as defined on Planning Map 14A. This area is subject to flood risk if the Waiho River changes course by breaching the south stopbank. Dwellings are restricted discretionary activities rather than controlled, as in the rest of the Rural Zone, because of this potential flood risk. In certain locations on the Flats they may not be suitable because of the potential flood risk which cannot be adequately avoided, remedied or mitigated. It also includes Kumara Junction in recognition that this area no longer has servicing facilities and development would be more appropriate in Kumara or Hokitika. Land formerly zoned residential to the North of Hokitika which may have poor amenity as a result of the venison factory and oxidation ponds has been rezoned Rural.
Performance standards ensure that in terms of environmental effects, including the effects of the location of activities, the impact on natural and physical resources within the zone is minimised. An increase in population in the rural area will have benefits for rural communities in terms of increased use of local services and facilities but must also be weighed against any impact on land use and the wider environment. Neither subdivision nor new dwellings are therefore permitted as of right and will be carefully considered.
No specific controls have been placed on activities on the surface of lakes and rivers in the District, as the current level of activity is not such as to give rise to adverse environmental effects, such as noise impacts, or create a safety issue. The exception is in the case of Lake Kaniere, which by virtue of its being controlled by the Department of Conservation is not additionally controlled in this Plan. The operation of water based activities will be monitored, and if they intensify to a level where adverse effects are being generated, a Plan Change will be initiated to put in place the appropriate management measures.
Riparian management considerations unique to the district include the high rainfall that tends to fall in Westland and the landscape has a large percentage in or near water in one form or another and has the ability to handle large amounts of water.
220.127.116.11. All zones
• Any activity which does not fall within the permitted or discretionary categories is deemed to be a non complying activity.
• Any agricultural, existing residential, forestry below an altitude of 1000 m (except clearance of indigenous vegetation as specified in 18.104.22.168C) prospecting or recreational activity.
· All prospecting activities as defined by the Crown Minerals Act 1991 and all reconnaissance exploration activities up to and including drilling, scout trenching and geophysical surveys, subject to:
a) All drilling limited to 150 mm diameter and a density of one drill site per hectare.
b) Scout trenching or sampling by hand methods, or by mechanical means where there is existing access to the actual site to be sampled, or by the use of explosives, where the aggregate length of the samples taken does not exceed 50 linear metres of sample per hectare.
c) Geophysical surveys not using explosives.
All permitted activities are subject to:
(1) Compliance with the standards for permitted activities (see table 5.7); and
(2) Compliance with the general rules in Part 8; and
(3) No modification to or effect on any outstanding natural features and landscapes, or any area of significant indigenous vegetation or habitat (except as specified in 22.214.171.124C) and no modification to or effect on the coastal environment.
B. Controlled Activities
• The establishment of new buildings for the purposes of any residential activities except in the Waiho River General Flood Hazard Area as shown on Planning Map 14A. Applications may be considered without the need to obtain the written approval of affected persons or publicly notify the application The matters over which control is reserved are:
- financial contributions relating to the provision of potable water and roading
- location of access points
- method of effluent disposal
- distance from existing activities which may have nuisance effects
- visual and aesthetic values
• Advanced exploration activities (i.e. matters subsequent to reconnaissance exploration, but still able to be carried out under an exploration permit) including geophysical surveys using explosives and machine scout trenching. The matters over which control is reserved are:
- Distance to boundaries and waterways;
- Total area of disturbance;
- Hours of operation:
- Use and transportation of hazardous substances;
- Financial contributions relating to landscaping, land restoration and roading;
- Options to avoid, remedy or mitigate possible adverse effects on the life supporting capacity of air, water, soil and ecosystems; on the natural character of waterways and their margins and the coast; on significant indigenous vegetation and indigenous habitat; and on outstanding landscapes and natural features;
All controlled activities are subject to:
(1) Compliance with the standards for controlled activities (see Table 5.7); and
(2) Compliance with the general rules in Part 8; and
(3) No modification to or effect on any outstanding natural features and landscapes, or any area of significant indigenous vegetation or habitat (except as specified under 126.96.36.199C) and no modification to or effect on the coastal environment.
Applications may be considered without the need to obtain the written approval of affected persons or publicly notify the application.
C. Discretionary Activities
• Forestry above an altitude of 1000 m.
• Any other activity which complies with the standards for discretionary activities (see Table 5.7), except mining.
• The clearance of more than 2000 m2 of indigenous vegetation per 5 years per site:
(a) Where the contiguous land is managed for conservation purposes, or;
(b) From an area of indigenous vegetation in excess of 5 hectares.
(c) From a natural wetland.
This rule does not include:
(a) Exotic plantation forest area.
(b) The clearance of regrowth vegetation to maintain existing tracks and stock crossings.
(c) The incidental clearance of indigenous vegetation to control gorse, broom or other exotic plant pests.
No comprehensive list currently exists of areas in Westland which constitute significant indigenous vegetation or significant habitats of indigenous fauna. A project to identify significant natural areas involving Westland and the other West Coast Territorial Local Authorities is underway. This is expected to be completed in 2003.
As an interim measure, where an application involves the clearance or modification of indigenous vegetation Council will waive the resource consent application fee and assist applicants to co-ordinate an ecological assessment of the site. Council may contribute to the costs of the ecological assessment where it considers the assessment would help to identify potentially significant natural areas.
This process is intended to assist landowners, Council and others determine whether areas proposed for clearance or modification are important in terms of section 6(c) of the Resource Management Act and Policy 4.9D of this Plan. This Rule will be reviewed and it is anticipated that the Plan will be amended when Westland’s significant natural areas have been identified.
D. Restricted Discretionary Activities:
• Mining. The matters over which control is reserved are:
- Distance to boundaries
- Water bodies and riparian margins
- Gradient of mined land to boundaries
- Bulk and location of stockpiling and buildings
- Hours of Operation
- The use and transport of hazardous substances
- Financial contributions relating to landscaping, land restoration and roading
- Habitat of threatened or protected species
- Intrinsic values
- Amenity values
- Archaeological, historical and cultural sites
- Avoiding, remedying or mitigating potential adverse effects on the life supporting capacity of air, water, soil and ecosystems; on the natural character of waterways and their margins and the coast; on significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna; and on outstanding landscapes and natural features
• Dwellings in the Waiho River General Flood Hazard Area.
The matters over which control is reserved are:-
- as above for B Controlled Activities - the establishment of new buildings for the purpose of any residential activities; and
- the location of the proposed dwelling in relation to potential flood risks; and
- the availability and suitability of methods to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effects of flooding on the dwelling and its occupants and on adjoining activities, land and buildings.
188.8.131.52 Airport Protection Zone
A. Permitted and Controlled Activities
• Any activity which complies as a permitted or controlled activity in the underlying zone and also complies with the additional standards for the Airport Protection Zone (see 8.8).
B. Discretionary Activities
• Any activity which complies as a discretionary activity in the underlying zone and also complies with the additional standards for the Airport Protection Zone (see 8.8).
5.6.3 Standards for Permitted, Controlled and Discretionary Activities
(See Appendix E for Assessment of Discretionary Activities)
Table 5.7: Standards for Permitted, Controlled and Discretionary Activities
§ maximum gross groundfloor
area of non-farmingbuilding
(a) Buildings gross ground floor area limits are set to ensure that the Council retains discretion over the location of large non-farm buildings, relocated buildings, and/or structures which could locate in a visually intrusive manner.
(b) Yards are specified to ensure the effects of an activity on neighbouring landowners and activities are minimised and to maintain amenity values. Where a building or structure is to be erected on a property boundary adjoining a State Highway, a greater yard is imposed for the purposes of traffic safety and visual amenity.
For industrial buildings and those which involve the keeping of commercial livestock or animals and for forestry, larger separation yards are specified that aim to protect neighbours from any offensive elements of the activity such as smell, odour, noise, shading and outlook.
Forestry and shelter belts must also set back from residential buildings for visual reasons and to reduce the impacts such as noise when cutting trees. Large lot forestry requires further separation. The separations are not required to be over land in the same ownership as the forest.
Mining is set back from site boundaries for safety and to allow buffer planting.
(c) Dwellings are restricted to one per lot in the rural area in order to limit the pressure on resources and retain the open character of the rural area.
(d) Noise standards are set to ensure the protection of community health and amenity. Excessive noise levels can have a detrimental impact on environmental quality. Road traffic noise is excluded from the noise standards. Transit New Zealand has developed draft standards for road traffic noise which may be applied to State Highway improvements.
All measurements are to be taken and assessed in accordance with the NZ Standards 6801: 1991 "Measurement of Sound" and 6802: 1991 "Assessment of Environmental Sound" and amendments thereto. The noise shall be measured with a sound level meter complying with the international standard IE 651 (1979): Sound Level Meter, Type 2.
The noise standards are not set to prevent normal agricultural activities taking place, nor to prevent forestry wood cutting and therefore excludes these activities. It does however, seek to protect owners from the noise of activities which may not be expected in the area such as industry. For such activities, measures to contain noise will have to be taken.
(e) Heritage Sites and Buildings scheduled in Appendix A, are protected by the standards. Modification (excluding normal maintenance works) is a discretionary activity. Historic and cultural items and sites, including buildings make a significant contribution to the District's identity and character. Any proposal to modify any of these scheduled sites will be publicly notified.
(f) Signs associated with permitted or controlled activities are permitted up to one per site in the rural area. The maximum area is 2m2 and the minimum areas shall be that required to accommodate the message and/or symbols. A proliferation of signs and/or large dominating signs, in particular in the rural environment can have a significant adverse effects on scenic and landscape values and on road safety.
(g) Distance of buildings and structures to MHWS is limited in recognition of the high value and sensitivity of the land/sea interface in Westland. Water quality, natural character and ecological values can all be considered by making structures within this area discretionary.
(h) Height controls aim to ensure that any building or structure does not adversely impact on the amenities of the rural area and neighbours, in particular aspects such as sunlight, outlook and privacy. Height limits are based on existing ground levels and has the effect of keeping new buildings lower in situations where the land slopes downwards from the relevant boundary.
(i) Riparian Setbacks
Recognise the sensitivity of waterbody margins. Water quality, natural character and significant vegetation and ecosystems can be protected by the setting back of activities such as vegetation clearance from the margins of water bodies. Permitted activities within riparian setbacks include fencing, the activities of free range stock, pest and weed control, the retrieval of unavoidable logging and the removal of other logging debris, cable suspension logging, and access points to water on the basis of either one per site or one every 400m of linear measurement for stock, vehicles and structures such as whitebait stands. Natural wetland margins and streams under 3m in width are subject to intermittent flow and are often without a defined bank. A natural wetland margin or stream bank is defined as the point at which surface water or soil saturation persists throughout the year in most years.
5.7 WAIHO RIVER SEVERE FLOOD HAZARD POLICY UNIT
5.7.1 Description of the Policy Unit
The Waiho River Severe Flood Hazard Policy Unit and Zone comprises land south of the confluence of the Callery and Waiho Rivers which is immediately south of the SH6 Waiho River Bridge. The Waiho River has been aggrading substantially in the last 60 years as a result of complex alluvial processes . The construction of stopbanks has accentuated this problem. At Waiho River Bridge, for example, the average riverbed level has risen by approximately 5m in the last 20 years. The level of aggradation has reached a stage where a damaging flood event is likely to occur in any given year.
The Waiho River Severe Flood Hazard Zone is prone to a catastrophic event either as a result of a flood in the Waiho or a dam break in the Callery Gorge. The short or no flood warning time available, together with the limited resources in the area (Franz Josef is a small community with a permanent population of 264) mean that a safe evacuation cannot be guaranteed. Accordingly, the only secure solution to the problem is to remove the risk by not populating the area. The Waiho Flood Management Committee has consulted with the community and affected parties and plans are underway for relocation or vacation of existing residences and businesses. Subdivision and development are non-complying activities and are extremely unlikely to be approved unless it can be established beyond reasonable doubt that the proposed development will not be subject to natural hazard risk.
184.108.40.206 Waiho River Severe Flood Hazard Zone
A. Permitted Activities
Any agricultural or forestry activity, subject to:
(1) No buildings are permitted in association with these activities;
(2) Compliance with the standards for permitted activities in the Rural Zone as set out in Table 5.7;
(3) Compliance with the general rules in Part 8; and
(4) No modification to or effect on any outstanding natural features and landscapes, or any area of significant indigenous vegetation or habitat (except as specified in 220.127.116.11B) and no modification to or effect on the coastal environment.
B. Discretionary Activities
· The clearance of more than 2000m2 of indigenous vegetation per 5 years, per site, except for land identified by the Council as not containing significant indigenous vegetation or habitats in accordance with Policy 4.9D.
Until a survey to identify significant indigenous vegetation has been completed and is publicly available, areas which are not significant for the purposes of Section 6(c) of the Resource Management Act 1991 and Policy 4.9D of this Plan will not be clear. As an interim measure to help landowners and others to determine whether a resource consent is required for indigenous vegetation clearance or whether the above exemption to Rule 18.104.22.168B applies, the Council will assist with field inspections and ecological assessment. A Certificate of Compliance will be issued where Council determines that the indigenous vegetation or habitat is not significant using the criteria in policy 4.9D and that the area falls within the exemption to Rule 22.214.171.124B.
C. Non-complying Activities
Any activity not specified as a permitted activity.
Note: The provisions of the Waiho River Severe Flood Hazard Zone do not apply to works within the river bed where a landuse consent from the Regional Council is required.
The provisions applying to the Waiho River Severe Flood Hazard Zone are necessary to lessen the risk to the built resource, infrastructure, people and communities associated with the flooding hazards imposed by the Waiho and Callery Rivers.