New District Plan to ‘guide decade of growth and development’
Ōpōtiki district has a new operative District Plan, following resolution at the December Council meeting.
Ōpōtiki Mayor, Lyn Riesterer, said that it had been a long journey, started back in 2014, but it had resulted in a district plan that had strong support and is “practical, robust and well-balanced”.
“A District Plan is quite a big deal as it influences so much of our daily lives and the environment that surrounds us and makes us unique. So it was great to see quite a lot of community interest throughout the process – more than 2300 submission points! This shows me that there is pretty good understanding of its importance and people wanted to help shape the Plan.
“I am particularly proud that we took that feedback, moulded and shaped this document and managed to get it through the process without needing to go through the Environment Court at all. I understand that that is very unusual in local government and we worked hard with our partner organisations like DOC [Department of Conservation] and Regional Council [Bay of Plenty Regional Council] to find win-win solutions and the best way forward.
“This document will provide us with a blueprint for land use in the district and help us as we grow and develop in the district sustainably, protecting the natural environments that we hold dear and preparing for changes like more housing and new industry through the harbour development,” Mayor Riesterer said.
One of the key features of the new Plan is the inclusion of the Marine Industrial Zone in an area of land adjacent to the western side of Ōpōtiki Harbour for the provision of services to maritime services and industries.
The District Plan also opens up some areas of land for industrial use and intensive housing and urban residential buildings.
“As a small provincial council, we are not a natural land developer but we do understand the very tight housing market in town and this is one of the levers we have at our disposal to try and unlock more land for development and make it as attractive as possible for more homes to be built.
“We have also worked hard to ensure the protection of our precious natural environment and that the District Plan gives effect to regional and national policies on indigenous biodiversity and other key factors.
“It will have impacts for some landowners – what they can do on their land and what activities might now change or be restricted. I really encourage people to have a read and make sure they have a good understanding of what the new Operative District Plan means for them,” Mayor Riesterer said.