FAQ: District Plan and Consents

This page answers frequently asked questions about the Resource Consent process and the District Plan. Use the “TOP” link at the end of each answer to zip back to the start of the questions.

 

What is a resource consent?
Any activity that is not permitted in the Council’s District Plan requires a resource consent. Activities that require resource consent can range from erecting a sign to planning a new multi-level apartment building or setting up a work from home business.   A consent will also be needed if your activity doesn’t meet certain standards like height limits, noise levels or car parking requirements. In order to determine whether you will need a resource consent, it is advisable for you to contact the Planning staff to discuss your specific proposal.  A resource consent application can be downloaded from the Guides and forms page. TOP

 

What’s the difference between a resource consent and building consent?
Building consents are concerned primarily with safety and are the responsibility of the Council’s Building Division. They are subject to national rules and regulations. However, buildings must comply with the Resource Management Act and the Council’s District Plan and there may be circumstances when you will require a resource consent before you can be issued with a building consent. TOP

 

How long does it take to process a resource consent?
Non-notified resource consent applications will be processed in 20 working days, provided all the relevant information is attached and the application can be processed without public notification.

A notified resource consent takes up to 70 working days to process. This involves the advertisement of the application for public submissions within 10 working days of receipt of the application. The public then has 20 working days to make submissions. A report and recommendation on the application is then prepared by the Planning/Resource Management Division or their consultants. From here the Council will notify the applicant and the submitters, giving at least 10 working days notice, of any intended hearing.

A resource consent processed using the ‘limited notification’ procedures is completed to the same timeframe as a fully notified consent. The main difference in the process is that the notice of the application is served only on those parties considered to be affected by the proposal, not the general public. TOP

 

How much does a resource consent cost?
The cost of processing a resource consent application varies, depending on the way it is processed. Check the Feespage for a detailed list of costs. TOP

 

How can I find out who are affected parties to my proposal?
The Resource Management Act requires that affected parties to a proposal provide their written signoff. If they do not, there is a very good chance that the application would be dealt with in a notified manner.  Contact the Planning Section of the Council if you need assistance in identifying affected parties. Affected parties’ written approval forms can be downloaded from the Guides and forms page. TOP

 

I am planning to subdivide my property. What do I need to do?
A resource consent is required for subdivision. Check Rule 4.29 in Section 4 of the District Plan. Your first course of action is to speak with a surveyor, who will apply to the Council on your behalf for a resource consent. The Planning Section of the Council is also happy to help answer any questions that you have. TOP

 

How much land do I need to erect a dwelling in the residential area of Invercargill?
There is no set minimum area of land required before a dwelling can be built.  However, some of our other rules need to be met with regard to site coverage, height and private open space and density.  Check Rule 4.40 in Section 4 of the District Plan or contact the Planning Section of the Council for further assistance. TOP

 

How much of the site can I cover if I build a dwelling in the residential part of Invercargill?
The maximum coverage of buildings (including dwellings and accessory buildings) in the Domicile (residential) Sub-Area should not exceed 40% of the net site area.  Check Rule 4.40 in Section 4 of the District Plan or contact the Planning Section of the Council for further assistance. TOP

 

How close to the boundary can I build?
If you are erecting a dwelling or an accessory building in the Domicile (residential) Sub-Area of the Invercargill District, you can build right up to the boundary (subject to Building Act requirements) but there are height restrictions at the boundary. Check Rule 4.39 in Section 4 of the District Plan. In other Sub-Areas or when building commercial premises, there are sometimes side yard and rear yard requirements.  Please contact the Planning Section if you would require further assistance. TOP

 

I cannot find my boundary pegs
If you need to work out where your boundaries are but cannot find boundary pegs, you will need to contact a surveyor.  The Certificate of Title for your property will also provide the dimensions of each boundary.  Certificates of Title can be obtained from the local office of Land Information Services. TOP

 

Are there any restrictions with regard to height when building in the Domicile Sub-Area?
Rule 4.39 in Section 4 of the District Plan deals with requirements for height.  In the Domicile (residential) Sub-Area, and in the Otatara Sub-Area on sites less .5ha, the Council uses an infogram to work out how high a structure can be at a specified distance from a boundary.  The infogram can be found on the last page of section 4).  Please contact the Planning Section if you would require further assistance. TOP

 

How much land do I need to erect a dwelling in the Rural Sub-Area?
Rule 4.40 in Section 4 of the District Plan states that the maximum density in the Rural Sub-Area is one residence per two hectares.  If your site is less than two hectares,  resource consent may be required. TOP

 

How much land do I need to erect a dwelling in the Otatara Sub-Area?
Rule 4.40 in Section 4 of the District Plan states that the maximum density in the Otatara Sub-Area is one residence per 4,000m2 (approximately one acre) if the dwelling is to be connected to the Invercargill sewerage system.  10,000m2 (approximately one hectare) is required if the dwelling is outside the city’s sewerage retriculation area.  If your lot is smaller than this, a resource consent will be required to build a residence on the property. TOP

 

How many vehicle parks do I need to provide for my business?The requirements for vehicle parks differ, depending on the type of activity being carried out at the site. Rule 4.27 in Section 4 of the District Plan deals with this matter, or you can contact the Planning section of the Council for further assistance. TOP

 

Can I obtain an aerial view of my property?
The Council Website provides a free online aerial map service. The Council also has a GIS computer system that has aerial images of properties within the District. Contact the Planning section of the Council for further assistance. TOP

 

What is a District Plan?
A District Plan contains objectives and policies relating to environmental matters in the Invercargill District, and also rules about what activities can occur on a site, dependant on its location.  The current Invercargill City District Plan can be found in the Public Documentssection of the website. TOP

 

Where do I find the rules in the District Plan?
The environmental rules and requirements for the Invercargill District are in Section 4 of the District Plan. TOP

 

Are there are any special environmental rules for living in the Otatara area?
Otatara is recognised as being an area of outstanding natural features and landscapes. Rule 4.22 in Section 4 of the District Plan protects these features and landscapes.  Contact the Planning section of the Council if you are planning any development in the area, including new dwellings. TOP

 

I own a building which might have heritage value. How do I find out more about this?
Several important buildings in Invercargill have a NZ Historic Places Trust registration.  In addition to this, nearly 200 buildings (mostly within the City Centre) have protection under Rule 4.26 in Section 4 of the District Plan. Protected buildings are listed in Section 9 of the District Plan (Appendix II).  Please contact the Planning section of the Council if you are unsure as to whether your building has a heritage listing, or if you want to know what you are able to do with a heritage building. TOP

 

Is there any financial assistance for owners of heritage buildings?
The Council has financial assistance available for owners of heritage buildings in the city centre who wish to repaint their buildings.  A form is available to download from the website under Heritage.  Please contact the Planning section of the Council for further information. TOP

 

My property may be within an area of flooding. What are the rules regarding this?
After the 1984 Southland floods the Council identified some parts of the Invercargill District which require protection from flooding events.  These areas are marked on our Planning maps, which are available on this website  You can also contact the Planning section of the Council for further information. TOP

 

What does it mean if my property is identified as being subject to riverine inundation?Riverine inundation is divided into four categories which reflect the level of risk.
• Level 1 has a low degree of risk, reflecting flood protection mitigation measures.
• Level 2 has a high degree of risk, and includes those areas where future flood levels can be predicted.
• Level 2A has a high degree of risk in a flood event greater than the design limits of the flood protection system.
• Level 3 has a high degree of risk and includes those areas designed to pond in a flood event and active floodplains
If your property is identified as having level 2, 2A or 3 riverine inundation and you are proposing to extend or build, minimum floor level requirements may be imposed and in some cases resource consent will be required.  Check Rule 4.28 in Section 4 of the District Plan or contact the Planning section of the Council if you would like to know more about your property and flooding risk. TOP

 

I am planning to demolish/remove a building from my property.  Do I need Resource Consent?
Rule 4.30 in Section 4 of the District Plan deals with demolition, and states that a  resource consent for demolition/removal activities is required when the following floor areas are exceeded:
• 80m2 in the Domicile (residential) Sub-Area
• 120m2 in other Sub-Areas
Please contact the Planning Section of Council if you have any questions regarding demolition or removal activities. TOP

 

Do I require a resource consent if I am placing a relocated building on my site?
If you comply with all the other requirements of the District Plan, for example with regard to height, site coverage and private living space, you will not require a resource consent to relocate a building on to your property.  However, the Council does require you to complete the relocation within certain time limits.  These can be found in Rule 4.30A in Section 4 of the District Plan.  Please contact the Planning section of the Council if you require further information. TOP

 

How can I find out whether or not I can carry out a business in the Domicile (residential) Sub-Area of the Invercargill District?
There is an an Activity Table (Rule 4.33) in Section 4 of the District Plan which lists permitted, discretionary and non-complying activities in each of the Sub-Areas of the Invercargill District, or you can speak to the Planning Section of the Council to see if what you want to do requires a resource consent.  TOP

I want to put up a sign. Do I need resource consent?
Maximum areas and types of signage differ, depending on which Sub-Area of the Invercargill District the site is in. Rule 4.37 in Section 4 of the District Plan sets out what is allowed, or you can speak to the Planning Section of the Council for further information.  Please note that all signage must be placed within the boundaries of the site, and may relate only to an activity which occurs on the site, or a resource consent will be required.  TOP

 

How high can I build a fence on the boundary of my property?
You can build a fence up to 2 metres in height without the need for building consent or resource consent.  TOP

 

There are tall trees at the boundary of my property.  Is this allowed in the District Plan?
The Invercargill City District Plan does not have any rules in relation to the height of trees on a boundary.  If you are concerned about the height of trees on your neighbour’s property, or if they are affecting your property, you should seek legal advice.  The Southland Community Law Centre offers advice on this matter. TOP

 

I plan to fill or contour my property with soil.  Are there any rules in relation to this?
There are some occasions where the filling and contouring of land requires a resource consent (see Rule 4.24 in Section 4 of the District Plan).  If you are unsure, please contact the Planning Section of the Council. TOP

 

There are high voltage lines going across my property.  Are there any restrictions when it comes to building?
There are restrictions when building close to high voltage lines.  Please contact the Planning section of the Council if you require further information. TOP