The Rotorua District Council has released its proposed District Plan for consultation. The plan is the Rotorua district's most important land-use document regulating everything from zoning to new buildings and activities. The Daily Post council and city issues reporter Matthew Martin takes a close look at some of the plan's important features in a series of articles.
Whether you want to build from the ground up or add value to an existing property, you need to know the rules about what you can and can't do on your piece of paradise.
Part four of the proposed District Plan contains all you need to know about residential zones, their restrictions and rules.
If you want to subdivide your old quarter acre or add a new garage or garden shed, the rules apply to you.
If you operate a home-based business, bed and breakfast, or want to put a sign on your property, you also need to be aware of the rules set out in the District Plan.
The council's planning services manager, Liam Dagg, said residential areas were expected to provide safe and attractive streetscapes, with space to give each household reasonable privacy and outlook.
"The district plan anticipates that existing residential areas will continue to be efficiently used, with further infill subdivision, but is careful to ensure environment and amenity values are upheld."
Mr Dagg said the major changes to the residential chapter related to accessory buildings, such as garages and garden sheds, and standards such as fence heights.
"The district plan has changed the side yards requirements according to submissions received. Applicants can now locate accessory buildings at 1m from the neighbouring boundary without the need for resource consent, as long as they comply with the additional performance standards to protect neighbouring privacy and daylight," he said.
Ideal Buildings and Garages Rotorua co-owner Sue Williams said it was imperative for anyone who owned a residential property in Rotorua to take a good look at the plan before it was too late.
She said the draft was highly restrictive and would have caused a lot of headaches for builders and homeowners.
However, she said the council had done a great job consulting with people in the building trade and making some changes prior to releasing the proposed plan.
"This version is much more practical and they have taken away a lot of restrictions.
"This doesn't mean property owners should be complacent. For instance, I don't think many people would realise it says you can only have a 1.5m high fence along your front boundary and all dwellings should be built with windows facing the road for passive surveillance of the street."
She said the individual rules might not seem important but considered together could make a building project unworkable or incur additional resource consent fees.
Mrs Williams said those concerned should act now and make a submission about any part of the plan they were not happy with.
To view the proposed District Plan visit www.rdc.govt.nz or view a hard copy at the council's customer centre or the library. Submissions can be made at the council's website, sent to email@example.com, or posted to the Planning Services Manager, RDC, Private Bag 3029, Rotorua. A District Plan public open day is on at Te Runanga Tearooms, Government Gardens, Tuesday, January 8, from 9am to 5pm. Submissions close on March 1.