Two new RMA fees set by council
People wanting to carry out activities in breach of the district plan will now have to pay hundreds of dollars to apply to get their activities considered ‘‘permitted’’.
The Timaru District Council set new Resource Consent Act fees on Tuesday.
Two new Resource Management Act (RMA) categories - ‘‘permitted boundary activities’’ and ‘‘permitted activities’’ - were introduced nationwide this year and will incur a lodgement fee of $525.
A ‘‘permitted activity’’ is something the council has decided to allow after carrying out an assessment.
A ‘‘permitted boundary activity’’ relates to situations where a building breaches a boundary rule, but the written approval of affected neighbours has been obtained.
A further category of ‘‘monitoring of permitted activity under the national environmental standards’’ has also been approved, with an unspecified charge.
The new RMA fees were introduced following a council bylaw review.
They will be used to cover the cost of providing services which would otherwise be covered via general rates.
Four submissions were made on the fees and charges, by Mcgregor Simpson, the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce, the Friends of the Theatre Royal, and Wellspring Farm.
None of the submitters elected to speak about their RMA submissions at the council hearing on Tuesday.
Simpson said in his submission that in his view an activity was either ‘‘legal or not’’.
‘‘To allow some applicants to have the right to pay exorbitant fees so that the case can be heard by appointed local body employees could lead to abuse and disadvantage an affected third party.’’
The council provided an online response to his submission, saying it could not override changes to the RMA and was obliged to implement them.
The Chamber of Commerce submission from chief executive Wendy Smith noted it would be difficult to set a specific fee for monitoring of an activity under national environmental standards, because costs were likely to differ depending on the nature of the activity.
However Smith said on Wednesday that the chamber was comfortable with the fees being put in place.
‘‘As long as they are appropriate and transparent as the council is advising us they will be,’’ Smith said.
‘‘I don’t think negative impact.’’ it will have a