How we can help

As part of the due diligence typically carried out by prospective purchasers of a property, a planning analysis will identify the zoning and key plan provisions applying to the site which may have a direct impact on its development potential (and therefore its value).

This is an analysis of the zoning and plan provisions applying to a site to identify development opportunities and constraints. This analysis is usually more in-depth than the pre-purchase due diligence and is often carried out after the identification of development options.

There is often more than one potential process for securing resource consent for a development proposal. Sometimes it may be best to seek a private plan change prior to (or concurrent with) applying for resource consent. For another project, it may be efficient to apply for multiple consents consecutively. If notification appears to be inevitable, it can be more efficient to request notification up front. All consenting options have an associated risk profile and this assessment provides guidance as to the efficiency and risk associated with each option.

Vaughan’s experience includes preparing and managing resource consent applications for retail, office, residential and mixed use development proposals.

Preparing a resource consent application is seldom a ‘tick the box’ exercise. Each proposal is different and each district, regional or unitary plan has a different set of provisions. The larger and more complex projects require project management skills to efficiently coordinate inputs required from multiple technical experts.

Liaison with Council officers is always important, especially at the pre-application stage.  Other pre-application tasks can include consultation, and presentations to a Council's Urban Design Panel.

Following lodgement of an application, the resource management consultant's role typically includes expediting the application through the Council processing steps, managing the provision of further information requested by the Council, and reviewing draft conditions of consent.

Experienced resource management consultants are sometimes called upon to assist with appeals to the Environment Court on adverse decisions, and with objections to consent conditions.

When important aspects of a development proposal are not anticipated by a district plan and the chances of being granted resource consent are assessed to be poor, it can be advantageous to apply for a private plan change.  The outcome sought is often the rezoning of a site or sites, or the inclusion of site specific rules in the district plan. The benefits of such a change for the owner can be significant in terms of value uplift.

The preparation of an application for a private plan change is more complex than for a resource consent and it is beneficial to obtain planning advice from a consultant with specific experience with this resource management process.  Vaughan has worked on several private plan change applications.


If a notified resource consent application, plan, plan change application or notice of requirement (for a designation) could potentially affect a property of interest, it is important to review the application to ascertain whether a submission should be lodged.  Submissions can be in support of a notified application, or in opposition, and making a submission enables the submitter to be involved in mediation and hearing processes.  If no submission is made there is little chance of influencing the outcome of the application.

Typically, Vaughan is first instructed to review the documents lodged for a notified application and provide advice to enable a client to decide whether to lodge a submission.  If a submission is warranted, Vaughan will draft the submission, prepare a statement of evidence and present that evidence at a hearing.  Often the process will also include mechanisms to try to resolve issues raised in hearings, including negotiations with the applicant, and mediation.

Vaughan is an experienced expert planning witness having prepared and presented statements of evidence at numerous Council hearings, and at the Environment Court and High Court, in relation to notified applications and appeals on decisions.  He also appears as an expert planning witness at arbitration hearings (such as for ground rent reviews).

Council development contribution policies often appear to have little flexibility for taking into account special circumstances relating to a particular proposal.  However, it is always worthwhile having a development contribution assessment checked because the Council doesn't always have all the information needed for an accurate assessment.

Resource management processes for large or complex projects often involve input from experts in a variety of disciplines.  The responsibility for coordinating and managing those inputs often falls to a senior planner.

With his background in project management, Vaughan is well placed to successfully carry out this leadership role.

Vaughan has been appointed to Auckland Council's panel of Independent Hearing Commissioners.

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