The Auckland Unitary Plan will be publicly notified on 30 September 2013, with a 60 working day deadline for submissions and very limited appeal rights at the end of the hearing process.
If you own a property or do business in Auckland, the time to engage is now.
The Plan will be subject to a unique fast-track process so that the Council's decision on the Plan is made within three years of notification. Submissions will be heard by a special Hearings Panel which will make recommendations to the Auckland Council.
To make the three year timeline possible, appeal rights to the Council's final decision will be significantly limited.
Important points to note at this stage are:
- we expect the Unitary Plan to be an extremely large document, requiring integrated consideration
- the 60 working day timeframe will take us to mid-January, which is tight given the intervention of the Christmas holidays
- the formal Hearings Panel approach will require strong advocacy skills, and
- it will be essential for any submission to be thorough and effective, especially given the limited scope for appeal. For example, good reasons and specific drafting amendments will need to be provided.