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What are the key issues we need to think about?
The natural character of the Waitaki landscape has changed in recent years as a result of development pressures, plantation forestry, carbon forestry and intensive farming.
Irrigation activities in the mid-upper Waitaki Valley have changed the look of the landscape, reducing the natural character of these areas.
Regional policy identifies large areas and different parts of the Waitaki landscape that should be identified and included as Outstanding Natural Landscape.
What are we suggesting in the Draft District Plan?
To provide clarity around the importance of the district’s landscapes and features, parts of the district have been classified as:
- Outstanding Natural Landscapes and Outstanding Natural Features, the protection of which is a matter of national importance under the RMA; and
- Rural Scenic Landscapes and Significant Natural Features, which are of local importance to the district and are sometimes termed ‘amenity landscapes’.
The following areas are mapped as overlays:
- Outstanding Natural Landscapes (ONL)
- Outstanding Natural Features (ONF)
- Significant Natural Features (SNF)
- Rural Scenic Landscapes (RSL)
The draft overlays can be viewed at our Web map page.
The key objective of the chapter is to protect these areas from inappropriate subdivision, use and development.
ONLs and ONFs are provided with the most protection. Buildings and structures typically require a resource consent. Earthworks are permitted for the maintenance of a range of farm tracks and structures, but all other earthworks will require a resource consent. Plantation forestry, carbon forestry, intensive farming and planting of wilding conifer species are prohibited activities within the ONL and ONF. SNFs and RSLs have fewer restrictions than ONLs/ONFs, however resource consent may still be required for some land uses.
Key changes from the current rules
- Earthworks for activities, other than the repair or maintenance of tracks etc, would require a resource consent in RSLs.
- Fences, other than post and wire or post and rail, or that are more than 2.0m high, would require a resource consent in the ONL/ONF/ SNF.
- Agricultural intensification and quarrying within an ONL/ONF/SNF/RSL would require a resource consent.
- Plantation forestry, carbon forestry, intensive farming and planting of wilding conifer species would be prohibited activities in the ONL and ONF.
What does it mean for me?
Any lawfully established existing businesses or activities would have what is referred to as ‘existing use rights’ and could continue to operate unchanged.
If your property has been identified as being located within an ONL/ONF/SNF/RSL this would generally not affect you unless you were proposing to undertake new activities that could damage the values of the area. This could include large new buildings, some types of farming activities, exotic tree planting, earthworks, mining or quarrying. For these activities, a resource consent may be needed.