Rotorua District Council stealing “designating” land (update).

I’m blogging on the wrong site.
Eternal vigilance sounds stressful – I think occasional vigilance is my limit. 🙂

Anyway… I just realised that Rotorua District Council never answered my questions… so I just emailed this follow up. Unfortunately I’m 5 days too late.

Hi XXXXX

I asked these questions of Council in December and was given contradictory answers – I needed authoritative answers to be able to make a submission regarding the Proposed District Plan designations.

I see the Proposed District Plan is now closed for submissions.

The Council has acted unfairly by not answering my questions before ending the consultation process.

I’d still like to know the answers to these questions.

Regards
Reed Robinson
On 16 December 2012 22:35, Reed wrote:

Hello

I have spoken with several Council representatives concerning the Proposed District Plan – in particular I have been enquiring about the proposed rural road designations.

Most recently I was advised by Council that the statutory authority being relied upon was the RMA (sections 166 to 186) and that Council will be seeking the designations in its capacity as a network utility operator under the Act.

This explanation doesn’t make sense and it contradicts an earlier explanation I was given by Council. The earlier explanation I was given was that Council was seeking to correct rural road (or road reserve) widths; that Council considered some roads too narrow and was seeking to widen roads (or road reserves) from 15m to 20m as part of the District Plan.

Can you please clarify the following points…
1. Is the Council proposing these designations in its capacity as a local authority or in its capacity as a network utility operator?
2. For what purpose is the Council proposing these designations?
3. What statutory authority is the Council relying on to propose these designations?

Regards

Reed Robinson

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One Response to Rotorua District Council stealing “designating” land (update).

  1. reed says:

    Reed

    Apologies for the lack of response to your 16 December email, I was not aware of it until this morning.

    Here’s my take on your 3 questions:

    1. Is the Council proposing these designations in its capacity as a local authority or in its capacity as a network utility operator?

    No, in its capacity as a requiring authority, as defined by the RMA (s166).

    2. For what purpose is the Council proposing these designations?

    To eliminate the need to have a road zone, and to make it more straightforward to maintain the existing physical road asset in the rural areas. In the operative plan the road zone sat on top of the legal road parcel (or road reserve). That’s fine when the physical road sits neatly within the road reserve, and is pretty much the case for local roads in the urban area (all local roads in the urban area have been designated since 2006, as have most state highways within the district boundaries).

    It’s not that simple in the rural areas though, where there is over a 1000 instances where the physical road intercepts and goes beyond, the road reserve boundaries. There have been situations in the past where council has had to apply for resource consents to maintain or upgrade those parts of the physical road not within the road reserve/road zone, and these aren’t new roads we’re talking about either.

    One solution would be to go out and resurvey all the rural road reserves, but that’s a costly and time-consuming job. The other option, and the one we have gone with, is to designate an arbitrarily defined area using the physical road centreline as the centreline for the designation envelope.

    It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s cheaper on the ratepayer than the other main option (resurvey). There’s a perception that designation means land grab – it’s not; there’s also a perception that it means a 4-lane road will suddenly appear on your doorstep – it doesn’t mean that either. The purpose of this designation is to maintain the existing road network in the rural areas. The designation has a life of 10 years before we have to renew it, there are no proposals to widen rural roads during that time.

    3. What statutory authority is the Council relying on to propose these designations?

    Solely the provisions of the RMA (Part 8 of the RMA mainly, but also Schedule 1 given its incorporation into the proposed district plan). This is not a land acquisition exercise so the Public Works Act does not come into play.

    Reed if you still feel compelled to lodge a submission to the district plan please do so, we have capacity to accept and consider late submissions, but don’t leave it much later than the end of this week.

    Regards

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