Outline Plan of Works Approval

What is a designation?

Also known as 'designated areas'

Designations are areas of land set aside for network utilities or large public works, i.e Highways, Telecommunications facilities, Schools and Airports.


Once a designation is in the District Plan (Chapter 35), the ‘Requiring Authority’ does not have to comply with the District Plan rules, but they do need to notify the Council by submitting an Outline Plan of Works or Waiver to the Outline Plan for work to be carried out on the designated site under Section 176A of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

The works must comply with the use of the site specified in the designation, i.e, building classrooms on a site designated for education purposes by the Ministry of Education.

What an Outline Plan of Works needs to show

Section 176A(3) requires that an Outline Plan must show:

  1. The height, shape, and bulk of the public work, project, or work; and
  2. The location on the site of the public work, project or work; and
  3. The likely finished contour of the site; and
  4. The vehicular access, circulation, and the provision for parking; and
  5. The landscaping proposed; and
  6. Any other matters to avoid, remedy, or mitigate any adverse effects on the environment. such as noise, dust, lighting, glare and odour as necessary.
  7. The purpose of the designation

Waiver of Outline Plans

An Outline Plan of Works is not always necessary for works within a designation.

The Requiring Authority can request that the Council waive the requirement for an Outline Plan of Works if it does not believe one to be necessary.  Council are happy to discuss the potential for a waiver with the Requiring Authority initially before making the request in writing.

When determining whether to waive the need for an Outline Plan, the Council considers:

  • The level of effects that the proposed work or project may have.
  • Whether the proposal or work would otherwise be a permitted activity and would meet any relevant performance standards of the underlying zone.
  • Whether the effects of the works are addressed through a regional resource consent process
  • Whether the information has already been provided to the territorial authority as part of the designation,
  • Whether meeting the conditions of the designation provides adequate control and certainty.

Timeframes for an Outline Plan of Works

The timeframe under the Resource Management Act 1991 is 20 working days to assess an Outline Plan of Works and may request changes to be made by the requiring authority.

If that authority does not accept the changes, Council can appeal to the Environment Court within 15 working days of being notified if necessary.

Applying for an Outline Plan of Works

  • Complete the application form and sign.
  • Provide plans of the proposed works.
  • Attached conditions imposed on the designation (if applicable).


The application fee for an Outline Plan of Works is listed under the Council's Fees & Chargers.

Note: On Public Submissions

There is no process for the public to make submissions on an Outline Plan of Works, except when the Council publicly notify the Notice of Requirement to designate a site for the specific use.

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