Rotorua ratepayer groups are urging the council to push ahead with tougher rules around noise control as it looks to make changes to its District Plan.
The Eastside Community Association (ECA), which was formed due to major noise issues caused by the Lumbercube mill, and the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers Association (RDRR), have made submissions to the Rotorua Lakes Council's Proposed Plan Change 4.
According to the council, "the primary reason for Plan Change 4 is to improve the working of the Rotorua District Plan's noise-related provisions so that noise is more effectively managed across the district".
The council said on its website that there was repetition of the same material in the current district plan regarding noise control and some inconsistencies would be removed.
If approved, the District Plan would have a new specific chapter on noise control, how noise would be measured, and how the new rules would be enforced.
ERA committee member Ros Morshead said the group supported the purpose and intent of Plan Change 4 - "albeit with amendments".
"One of the key issues arising from Lumbercube and the ability to take enforcement action was the absence of New Zealand Noise Standards in the District Plan. We support adoption of the Noise Standards as a positive move that brings us in line with other councils.
"We have proposed various amendments around what we believe to be drafting ambiguities, a change to night noise times, and inclusion of additional policies among other amendments.
"We believe these will improve the proposed Plan Change for wider community benefit both now and in the future."
RDRR secretary Dr Reynold Macpherson said the association agreed with many points in the draft proposal, but had suggested about 19 amendments.
The association's submission stated the council should be able to re-evaluate existing use resource consents and "adopt a compliance strategy comprising best practice guidelines, an intervention process to be followed by councillors and officials, and prosecution guidelines that clarify legal liabilities and options available to council".
Association member and district councillor Raj Kumar said technological changes to Lumbercube's mill and some online-managed short-term accommodation in residential areas "have disturbed the peace and affected amenity and property values".
"When technology changes or unexpected outcomes are the result of a lawful activity, council needs to be able to revisit and change or cancel a resource consent," Mr Kumar said.
"The proposed plan change helpfully pulls together all regulations related to noise management that were once scattered through the District Plan," Dr Macpherson said.
"Although some regulations now need further refinement."
RDRR working party member David Phillips said elected representatives should work with officials to collect public views on health and amenity values to "help interpret local and cultural evaluations of noise, especially those affecting the enjoyment of residential accommodation".
The council's strategy and partnerships group manager, Jean-Paul Gaston, said the next stage in the process would be to summarise the 19 submissions received from individuals, businesses and community groups in the next few weeks, with hearings later this year.
Mr Gaston would not comment on specific submissions.
Proposed Plan Change 4
- Aims to bring together noise control regulations into one part of the District Plan
- Rotorua Lakes Council received 19 submissions
- Submissions closed earlier this week
- Came about after noise control issues at Lumbercube mill site
- Final changes to be made later this year