About Resource Consents
A resource consent is a formal, written permission to undertake an activity on a particular site, which might have adverse effects on people and/or the environment.
Our Clutha District Plan and National Environmental Standards provide our community with a planning framework. These outline what are able to do as a permitted activity and what you need resource consent approval for.
Do I need a Resource Consent?
If your proposed building work, signage or activity does not comply with the District Plan or a National Environmental Standard then a resource consent is required.
A quick phone call to Council 03 419 0200 or toll-free outside Balclutha 0800 801 350, will confirm whether you need a Resource Consent or not, and whether you will need to contact another Council. Sometimes you may require more than one Resource Consent, or a Resource Consent from more than one Council.
At Clutha District Council we deal with two types of consents: Subdivision and land use consents.
A subdivision consent is needed to legally divide land or buildings for separate ownership. A land use consent may be needed for particular activities such as extending or constructing a new building, establishing a new activity or erecting signage.
The Otago Regional Council administers most other consents including water permits, discharge permits, coastal permits, and activities within the beds of lakes and rivers.
When an activity requires consents from more than one local authority, the applications can be processed and considered jointly.
Why do I need Resource Consent?
A resource consent is an approval to carry out an activity that does not comply with the relevant district plan rule or rules. If the proposed activity will affect neighbours or the community (affected parties) in a significant way then it needs to be notified, unless all affected parties have provided written approval.
The level of a proposal's effects, such as traffic generation, noise, visual amenity, or privacy, is often compared against what is already allowed for in the District Plan. This isn't a mandatory test, but is rather a discretion that the Council may exercise.
For example: you might want to build a garage 1.2 metres from the side boundary in an area where you are allowed to construct a garage 1.5 metres from the side boundary without a resource consent. A planner could compare the effects of the a garage that is permitted at 1.5 metres from the boundary against a garage which is 1.2 metres from the boundary.
A planner recommends that a resource consent should be granted or not and the conditions that apply if granted. If needed, the planner will get input from other experts, such as a traffic engineer or an acoustic expert. The planner will consider if there are any affected parties and if the application needs to be notified.
If your proposal complies with the District Plan and/or a National Environmental Standard, you can apply for a Certificate of Compliance (different to a building Code Compliance Certificate under the Building Act). This confirms the activity is permitted without resource consent and it's the only way to confirm this formally in writing.
You can find the application form in the Forms and Guides section further down this page.
Notified and Non-Notified Consents
Council decides on whether or not to notify an application.
If your application is likely to affect the public or your neighbours or the effects are considered to be more than minor you will need to follow the process for a notified or limited notified consent application.
When assessing a resource consent application, the Council planner may consider that certain parties are affected by the proposal. If there is no written approval from these parties provided with the application, or after the planner has requested it, the planner may recommend that the application needs to be processed as a limited notified consent. A limited notified consent is when the Council identifies and notifies parties who are considered affected by a proposal and they have not provided written approval to your application. You can also request to proceed from the beginning of the process as limited notified consent. Submissions are only sought from those parties who are considered affected.
The Council planner may consider that a resource consent application affects the wider community and/or environment to a more than minor' extent, or the applicant can decide they will submit their proposal as a publicly notified consent because of the impact it may have on the community and/or environment. A notified consent is advertised publicly and submissions are sought. Copies of the application are sent to all affected parties and any person or organisation can make a submission.
A submission form can be found in the Forms and Guides section further down this page.
A non-notified consent generally means that the Council does not identify any affected persons on your proposal or that all required written approvals have been provided. Non-notified consents are not advertised.
The Ministry for the Environment provides information on the resource consent process for notified or limited notified applications.
Making a submission
You can make a submission on any of the current resource consent applications by using the online submission form or in writing to any of our Council Service Centres, emailing our help desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailing to:
Clutha District Council,
PO Box 25 , Balclutha 9240
Attn: Planning & Regulatory Manager
All submissions must be received no later than 5:00 pm on the closing date shown.
IMPORTANT: If the application has (Limited Notification) next to it, then only those who have been identified as an Affected Party* may submit a submission. Please contact the Council on 0800 801 350 and ask to speaker to a Planner to see who has the right to submit.
*All those who have been identified as an Affected Party should have received a letter from Council.
How do I apply for a Resource Consent?
To apply for resource consent you, or your agent, will need to complete an application form and provide all of the necessary supporting information to the Council. As well as an application form there are a number of other documents and considerations that you may need to make prior to submitting your resource consent application.
What should my application include?
The most important information you need to include with a resource consent is:
A resource consent application form
You must include a resource consent application form which can be downloaded from the website or you can call into a Council office to pick one up. This form includes information about the applicant and location of the proposed activity.
The resource consent application form can be found in the Forms and Guides section further down this page.
A description of your proposal
This needs to be as detailed as possible. It is important to make sure that we have a clear understanding of your entire proposal. Where applicable, a location plan, a site plan, elevations and specifications must be included with the application. For a subdivision it is important that there is a survey plan of what you are proposing to do.
Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE)
It is a mandatory requirement under the Resource Management Act that any resource consent application includes an assessment of environmental affects (AEE). This is a description of all the effects your proposal could have on the environment, whether positive or negative.
We have designed a guide to writing an Assessment of Environmental Effects which can be found in the Forms and Guides section further down this page.
Written Approval from Affected Parties
You need to get any affected parties to complete a written approval form. The affected party will also need to initial all documents relating to your proposal. If you are unsure who may be considered affected you can contact a planner at the Council on 0800 801 350 who will be able to provide guidance on this.
The written approval form can be found in the Forms and Guides section further down this page.
Certificate of Title
This is particularly relevant for subdivision consents and can also be important for any land use consents as these hold information on the property including any restrictions, such as right of ways or easements that may be located on the property.
Supporting information may include specialist reports (e.g. an acoustic report, traffic report), a landscaping plan or any other documentation which you think is relevant to your proposal.
Before you submit your resource consent you can have a confidential pre-application meeting with Council staff. At a pre-application meeting we can help you through the resource consent process, discuss any potential issues and review your proposal before you finalise it.
If you wish to have a pre-application meeting you can book an appointment with the planner and any other relevant Council staff by contacting the Council office on 0800 801 350.
Lodging your Resource Consent
You can either post or deliver your application to Council or any of the Council's service centres. If you choose to email your application then there may be additional charges for printing.
When you lodge your resource consent application you will also need to pay the deposit. The deposit fee can be found in the Fees and Charges Schedules.
Once your resource consent application has been lodged, the resource consent processing team will acknowledge the application. The application will be assessed to see if it is complete or if there is any missing information. You will be contacted by Council to let you know either way so it is important that you provide the right contact details.
How much is a Resource Consent?
There is a fee for processing applications for resource consents, and a deposit must be paid with your application.
The fees for processing resource consents depend on how the proposed activity is classified under the District Plan. Usually the deposit covers the full cost of processing an application, but for more complex applications, or notified consents, the cost will exceed this and will be invoiced to you. You can also ask for an estimate of the likely costs at the time you lodge your application.
If you know the classification of your activity and whether or not it will be notified, then view the fees below. If you are not sure, then please contact Council's consent staff.
See the current fees on our Fees and Charges webpage.
Please note that the application fee is a deposit. Most applications are covered by this amount, but if it is likely that your application will incur further costs then Council will advise you of this as soon as possible. Fees are reviewed annually, and remain in force for the 1 July - 30 June year.
How long will it take to process my application?
The Council has maximum timeframes for processing resource consent applications.
These processing times can be suspended at any stage if we need further information from you about your proposal. The key steps are:
We must decide within 10 working days of receiving your complete application whether or not it will be notified.
If it is not notified, then you can expect the final decision within 20 working days.
Publicly notified applications may take three to four months. The Ministry for the Environment has a helpful flow chart outlining the notified resource consent process.
There is a 15-day appeal period following the release of a notified decision. You can begin your proposal when that period has ended provided that there are no appeals lodged against the decision.
Under the Resource Management Act, the period 20 December to 10 January each year is considered non-working days. This means that any weekdays during this time do not count as working days.
You can check on the progress of your consent application at any time. Give us a call or come in to have a chat with the planner processing your consent.
These timeframes depend on all required information being supplied.
I've been approached as an affected party
What should I do if I am considered as being affected?
If we have decided that you may be adversely affected by a proposal on an adjoining or nearby site, the applicant can seek your written approval.
If you are approached to sign an approval form, make sure you understand both the form and the proposal before you sign it. When processing an application, we can't take into account any adverse effects the proposal may have on you and your property if you have signed the written approval form.
If you are unsure about your rights as an affected party or would like more information about the proposal, you can talk to us or your lawyer.
What if I support the application?
If you support the application, sign the approval form and supporting documents. It is important that you look at detailed plans of the proposal, the application and the assessment of effects. The applicant, or the agent on the applicant's behalf, must show you all these documents.
It is a requirement that you sign all the information presented to you. This is a safeguard for you so that you are quite clear on what you are agreeing to and we can be assured that the applicant has presented us with the same plans and information that you have seen and agreed to.
Can I change my mind?
Yes. If you decide to withdraw your written approval, you may do so before we have considered the application.
To withdraw your approval, call or visit us. You should also send in a brief letter recording the withdrawal of your written approval. The applicant can then decide whether or not to proceed with the application on a limited notified basis and if so, you will be given the opportunity to submit as an affected party.
What if I decide not to support the application?
If you do not want to give your written approval to the proposal, you do not have to. There is no compulsion to give your approval, nor is there a certain timeframe in which you must decide. If you are given a date to respond by, that is usually for the applicant's convenience, and is not a binding time limit. If you need more time to think about the proposal, you are in your rights to do so.
What will happen if I do not give my written approval?
If you do not give written approval, and the applicant is not prepared to change the proposal, it is likely that the application will be notified. A notified application is of greater expense to the applicant and takes longer to process. This should not affect your decision.
Can I discuss options with the applicant?
Yes. You may be able reduce the impact of the changes on you and your property. There are two common ways of doing this:
By getting the applicant to amend their plans or proposal accordingly before signing the approval form.
By entering into a written agreement with the applicant. These are often referred to as side agreements.
Forms and Guides
Other Relevant Plans and Legislation
It is important to note that the District Plan is not the only legislation that you may need to take into account when undertaken a development. Sometimes an activity can be permitted by the district plan but may need consent under another plan. The most common plans that you may need to consider are:
Council Bylaws, plans and strategies
Regional Plan, policies and bylaws
The Clutha District is located within the Otago Region. The Otago Regional Council is responsible for the integrated management of the natural and physical resources of the region. The Regional Council is generally responsible for the following:
Discharges of contaminants to land, air or water
Water quality and quantity
The coastal marine area
Land use to avoid natural hazards
You can visit the Otago Regional Council website to find more information on the regionals plan, policies and bylaws which may affect you.
National Policy Statements and Standards
Under the Resource Management Act, central government is in charge of preparing national policy statements and national environmental standards.
A national policy statement sets out a national policy direction for councils to deal with resource management issues and when making decisions we must take these into account.
National environmental standards set out prescribed technical standards, methods or other requirements for environmental matters. Every Council must enforce the same standard to enable a consistent approach and decision-making process. In some circumstances, councils can impose stricter standards. National
Environmental Standards currently manage air quality, drinking water, telecommunication facilities, electricity transmission and managing contaminated soil. Information on these can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website.
Building Act 2004
The Building Act regulates building work in New Zealand. The Building Act sets out the requirements for how buildings are to be designed, constructed and able to be used. A building consent under the Building Act is a separate consenting process to a resource consent. It is important before undertaken activities that you have the relevant building and resource consents. Information on the building consent process can be found under Building Services.