Legal action against nine non-contracted emergency housing motels in Rotorua that haven't made moves to become legally compliant has been dropped - for now.
Rotorua Lakes Council confirmed at the end of May that it had lodged Environment Court action against nine motels for failing to comply with regulatory requirements that allowed them to operate as emergency housing.
But council district development deputy chief executive Jean-Paul Gaston confirmed this week the motel operators had now agreed to take steps to be compliant.
"If the operators fail to take the necessary steps they have agreed to take to ensure compliance with the district plan, we will re-file with the court and would look to take further legal action if there were ongoing failures to comply."
Under the district plan, motels on main roads into Rotorua are only allowed to have visitors staying on a temporary basis as they have only consented for the visitor industry. Those in emergency housing can stay for several months.
In a $30m shake-up of Rotorua's emergency housing processes last year, the Government contracted 14 motels in Rotorua, many hand-picked as being more appropriate for families. There are 250 households in those motels.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has applied for resource consent for 12 of those contracted motels (one is on hold and another already has resource consent). Those applications have now been publicly notified and residents have until July 11 to make submissions.
However, there are about 350 households receiving emergency housing support in non-contracted motels in Rotorua. It is estimated that there are more than 40 non-contracted motels in Rotorua.
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Some of these motels have a mix of visitors and emergency housing clients staying in them and, unlike the contracted motels, they do not have wrap-around services onsite and 24/7 security.
The council's action against non-contracted motels has come following public concerns around the behaviour of some people who have been staying in them, particularly around the Fenton St and Glenholme areas.
In a staged approach to minimise the impacts, the council initially approached nine emergency housing motels advising them of their duties to apply for resource consent to be compliant with the district plan.
At the time, those nine failed to engage with the council so court action was lodged.
The council has since written to a total of about 40 non-contracted motels and had received responses from about 30 of them.
Gaston said the council would work with the operators and their consultants through the consenting process to ensure compliance if they wanted to continue with emergency housing.