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Public works and some private projects or works are provided for under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) by way of designation.  A designation is a provision in a City Plan which provides notice to the community that a requiring authority intends to use the land in the future for a particular work or project.

What is a requiring authority?

Organisations that are ‘requiring authorities’ and able to apply and use designations include Ministers of the Crown, local authorities and also private bodies identified as network utility operators within the RMA.  These organisations have status as a requiring authority under Section 167 of the RMA.  Status as a requiring authority provides the power to require land, including private land, to be set aside for designated activities for which works can be undertaken and the requiring authority is financially responsible.

Why have designated land?

The effect of designating land is to authorise the use of that land for a particular work (for example a school, police station or electricity substation) and is outlined in section 176 of the RMA. Once a designation is in place it takes precedence over the zoning of the land, but it can only be used for the purpose for which it has been designated. Without the prior written consent of the requiring authority, other people are unable to do anything in relation to the designated land that would impede the designated activity.

The City Plan zoning of the land that is covered by the designation is then called the underlying zoning, and this zoning applies for works that are not in accordance with the designation or where a designation is removed.

How can I find designated sites in Tauranga?

The City Plan identifies all the requiring authorities that have designated land in the City, and lists all the designated sites in the Chapter 25 – Designations of the Operative District Plan (55kb pdf) and Chapter 10 – Network Utilities and Designations, Appendix C of the Proposed City Plan.

Each site identified in the Appendix has a code (for example ME25 which indicates that it is for the Ministry for the Environment or NP1 for the New Zealand Police). The area of the designated site is identified in the Plan Maps by a border around the site and by the designation code within or alongside the identified site.

For information about designations under the RMA visit the Ministry for the Environment website.

Fees and charges relating to designations

Doing work on a designated site?

If you are doing a project on a designated site, an Outline Plan of Works will be required.  The Outline Plan of Works procedure is similar to the resource consent procedure however, it only applies to sites that have been designated by a requiring authority under section 168 of the RMA.

Outline Plan of Works are required where a structure is being built on a designated site (for example a classroom being built on a site designated by the Ministry of Education).  Section 176A of the RMA details what is required when making an application for an Outline Plan of Works:

  • the height, shape and bulk of the work
  • the location on the site 
  • the finished contour of the site
  • vehicular access, circulation and provision for parking
  • proposed landscaping
  • any other matters required to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects

The City Plan outline any specific conditions that relate to each designation (where applicable).

Outline Plan of Works are intended to show the Council any changes that are occurring on the site and whether they comply with the designated purpose and/or the City Plan provisions. If the structure or work is not in keeping with the specified use (for example a retail outlet on a site designated for infrastructure uses), the requiring authority will need to obtain a resource consent from the Council, rather than follow the Outline Plan of Works process.

An Outline Plan of Works generally takes 20 working days to process unless the Council requests changes. The requiring authority (the agency that has submitted the Outline Plan of Works) must respond to the Council's requests. Should the Council not be satisfied by that response, it may appeal to the Environment Court.

There is no opportunity for the public to make submissions on an Outline Plan of Works. The opportunity for public submissions only exists when the Council publicly notifies the requiring authority's initial requirement for a designation to enable the authority use of the site, where notification is required under the RMA.

For information about Outline Plan of Works under the Resource Management Act 1991 visit the Ministry for the Environment's website.

See here for fees and charges relating to Outline Plan of Works.


Last Reviewed: 03/10/2013