Brochure has readers zoned out

Waipā District Council has acknowledged it could have done a better job of explaining proposed changes the district’s long-term plan.

The council wants to short circuit changes to zoning where land has been set aside for future development.

“Deferred Zones” are blocks of land council expects will be rezoned in future for residential, commercial or industrial development. But in the meantime they retain their existing zoning – usually rural.

There are significant blocks of deferred zones on the outskirts of Te Awamutu, Cambridge and Kihikihi – and with a boom in new builds, there is pressure to rezone the ‘deferred’ areas.

Making change, though, is time consuming and convoluted.

The council has gone to the public to explain the situation having flagged an intention to change the restrictions now applied under the district plan.

But residents have complained they don’t understand it and complaints have been aired on social media.

District Councillor Marcus Gower, who chairs the Council’s Regulatory Committee, joined the online debate and told the News this week the flyer “wasn’t up to our usual standard of communications” – while adding they “can’t be perfect all the time.”

He and Wayne Allen, Group Manager of District Growth and Regulatory, admitted that council could have been done better.

“We acknowledge that a brochure recently sent out by the Council to the community with a notification of ‘Plan Change 13 (or PC13)’ has caused some confusion,” Mr Allen said.

“We have received anecdotal feedback from members of the community, and recognise that the technical nature of the plan change meant it was not clearly articulated.”

“We’ve listened to the feedback that we have received, and will make sure information like this is more user friendly in the future.”

This plan change proposal came out of a District Plan Review process, which attracted submissions calling for a streamlined approach to opening up Deferred Zones.

For more information go to www.waipadc.govt.nz and click on district plan.

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