Environment and planning (4 February)

The environment and planning committee meeting was held on 4 February 2016. Apologies were received from Cr Norris and Cr Mirfin, and for lateness from Cr Dowler. All other councillors were present.

The agenda included a number of information only reports and a confidential (in-committee) session on: (1) a private plan change request from Progressive Enterprises Ltd, (2) report and recommendations from commissioner on Plan changes 54, 55 and 56 relating to the Waimea Water Management (Security of Supply), and (3) a report on weather tight home resolution case.

The open agenda included: (1) reduction of fees categories for certain off-licences, (2) environmental policy manager’s report on environmental policy programme, (3) compliance monitoring 6-monthly report (1 July to 31 December 2015), (4) resource consent manager’s report (July to December 2015), (5) 2015 air quality report. (6) pesticide residues in groundwater 2014 survey, (7) environment and planning teams activity report (the manager’s report), and (8) chair’s report.

I will summarise the highlights for me from these reports.

Public forum

Mr Hellyer raised his concerns about freedom camping in the district. He considered it an appalling situation and asked that TDC enforce some of its bylaws. He suggested some freedom campers should use motor camps (which are very cheap!).

Mr Clark gave his condolences to the family of Nick Paterson who had recently passed away. A reminder to everyone how fleeting life can be. Maxwell asked that the Waimea Water Management (Security of Supply) Plan Changes 54, 55 and 56 be considered in open meeting, instead of in-committee. He also spoke about an article in a local paper (Tasman Leader 21 January 2016) pages 4-5), which contained Councillors opinions on the Waimea Community Dam. He asked councilors come clean on where they stood on the dam and considered some councillors were sitting on the fence with “hairy fairy” comments like “holistic”.

Interestingly, many councillors did not vote, how they said they would (see full council meeting agenda and minutes (recording the vote) of 31 March 2016 at www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/full-council-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/FullCouncil/2016/2016-03-31)?

Mr Dawson also asked that council do not spend any more money on the proposed Waimea Community Dam. He suggested the current $25 million was more than enough. He warned that council should not be manipulated into dam. He asked that his questions to staff about the hydrology are given an adequate response. He also asked why there were no public forums at extraordinary (mini) full councils meetings?

Off-licence fee reduction

In my opinion, this was the most significant item on the agenda.

By way of background, the TDC has adopted the statutory regulations for fee setting (rather than introduce its own Bylaw), as set out by central government (see Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Fees) Regulations 2013 at www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2013/0452/latest/DLM5708133.html).

In this case, two local boutique businesses (Peckham Ciders and Schnapp Dragon Distillery) wrote to council asking that their off-licence fees be reduced. Peckham Ciders argued that they did not make cellar door sales and instead sold most of their products remotely via their website or directly to trade distributors. Schnapp Dragon made a similar argument, stating that while they sold products on-site (from the cellar door), they did not allow consumption of their products on-site.

Generally, the regulations use a classification and weighting system to determine fees and charges. This is achieved by adding a retailer classification risk weighting and enforcement risk weighting together to determine the overall risk weighting and corresponding fee for the application.

For example, a business that sells alcohol is classified into the following types of retailers:

Licence held or sought Type of premises Weighting
On-licence Class 1 restaurant, night club, tavern, adult premises 15
On-licence Class 2 restaurant, hotel, function centre 10
On-licence Class 3 restaurant, other premises not otherwise specified 5
On-licence BYO restaurants, theatres, cinemas, winery cellar doors 2
Off-licence Supermarket, grocery store, bottle store 15
Off-licence Hotel, tavern 10
Off-licence Class 1, 2, or 3 club, remote sale premises, premises not otherwise specified 5
Off-licence Winery cellar doors 2
Club licence Class 1 club 10
Club licence Class 2 club 5
Club licence Class 3 club 2

The relevant weighting is then combined with another enforcement weighting:

Number of enforcement holdings in last 18 months (applies to all types of premises) Weighting
None 0
1 10
2 or more 20

The total number is then used to create an overall risk rating that generates the license cost.

Cost/risk rating of premises Fees category Application fee Annual fee
0–2 Very low $320.00 $140.00
3–5 Low $530.00 $340.00
6–15 Medium $710.00 $550.00
16–25 High $890.00 $900.00
26 plus Very high $1,050.00 $1,250.00

Due to the manner in which the regulations were drafted, cellar door sales (of wine) are awarded a lower risk rating, than other businesses that sell spirit based alcohol from the door. This is good for the wine industry, who can obtain a lower risk rating by adding a cellar door operation to their business. Although it does create a strange outcome for vineyards that do not operate a cellar door?

I suspect the underlying reason for this distinction is an acknowledgement that the consumption of wine presents a lower risk, than the consumption of spirits. However, the regulations as they are currently drafted do not appear to recognise that online (remote) sales of alcohol (wine or spirits) provide an even lower risk of drink driving incidents. This is because online sales cannot be consumed at the point of purchase (ie at the vineyard or distillery), but are delivered to the home.

In my opinion, the regulations are poorly drafted and fail to make a clear distinction between the types of alcohol (ie wine vs spirits) and the point of sale (ie online (remote) vs site of manufacture). Ideally the regulations should separate out winery sales (remote or cellar door, and all other remote sales. This could be done by adding “remote sales” as a separate classification and awarding a risk rating of “2”. Unfortunately this is not the case, and TDC were left to apply another rule provided within the regulations (clause 6(4) of the regulations) – namely exercising a discretion to reduce the overall risk rating by one step (eg from “low” to “very low”). Exercising the discretion would save affected businesses $810 (over 3 years).

Staff recommended that council allow the applicants to be classified in the “very low” risk category as permitted in the Act. Council, after asking for information about the financial impact of a positive decision, unanimously agreed. Council also took the opportunity to reduce non-commercial community events and fundraising licensing categories by one step. Both changes took affect from the date of the resolutions (and were not retrospective).

TDC information on licensing can be found at www.tasman.govt.nz/services/licensing-and-environmental-health/alcohol-licensing/off-licence/.

Environmental policy programme

This report updated progress with live plan change projects in the environmental policy programme, and discussed priorities, deadlines, and staff resourcing for 2016.

Plan changes included: Richmond greenways (Plan Change 37), Wakefield review (Plan Change 57) Brightwater review (Plan Change 58) Residential zone coverage (Plan Change 59), Rural land use and subdivision policy review (Plan Change 60), PPCR Wainui Bay (Plan Change 61), PPCR Commercial Richmond north (Plan Change 62), Coastal occupation charges (Plan Change 63) Mooring review (Plan Change 64), NPSET – electricity transmission lines review (Plan Change 65), Golden Bay landscapes (Plan Change 66), Urban development review (Plan Change 67), Takaka catchments water management (Plan Change 68), Waimea Plains water quality (Plan Change 69), Richmond residential zone review (Plan Change 70), Takaka and Waimea plains FLAG projects.

Compliance reporting

The report provided a summary of the complaints, incidents, and general monitoring over a 6-month period (from 1 July 2015 to 31 December 2015). Between 1 July and 31 December a total of 428 complaints or requests for service were received by the compliance team. In comparison 479 complaints were received for the same period the previous year and 482 the year before that.

Enviro-20160204-p42

A total of 25 abatement notices were issued over the period. A total of 19 infringement fines were issued for breaches against the Resource Management Act or Litter Act. A total of 2278 individual monitoring actions were recorded against 1093 resource consents as part of the Council’s targeted compliance monitoring programme. Enforcement actions in relation to water takes in the district were: 1 abatement notice, 2 infringement fines, and 3 invoices for missing readings audits.

The 2015-16 dairy farm survey started in September 2015 as farms commenced milking. As at the end of December 2015, 40 farms had been inspected. There were 6 recorded instances of non-compliances within the first few weeks of the audits. Of these, 3 farms rated as non-compliant and 3 significantly non-compliant.

For the 3 rated non-compliant, one related to the discharge not meeting the setback requirement to a property boundary. The other two related to minor ponding o f effluent on the ground’s surface but did not pose any threat of run-off to water. For the 3 rated significant, the offences included the direct discharge of effluent to water, significant ponding of effluent on the ground’s surface that resulted in run-off into a waterway and a farm with no contingency in place to avoid a discharge to water. All 3 were dealt with through abatement notices and infringement fines.

Enviro-20160204-p49

Resource consents

The report presented a summary of the performance of the resource consent team regarding compliance with statutory timeframes for the first half of the 2015-2016 financial year.

Overall, 481 resource consent applications (including variations to existing consents) were processed, with 99.8% compliance with statutory timeframes during the 6-month period. Around 35% of all applications had time extensions applied (similar to last year).

The permit replacement processes for all water takes in the Wai-iti Zone, and the first batch of 40 water permits affected by the Waimea Augmentation proposals (Lee Valley Dam), had begun at the time of this report. Water users were able to continue to exercise their old permits in the interim period until new permits were completed.

In my opinion, the consent performance was very good, given resourcing issues (mainly due to staff changes) and increased workload.

Timeliness Results (July-December 2015) Non-notified Applications

Type of Application Number Complete Percentage Within Time Median Processing Days **
2012 * 2013 * 2014 * 2015 *
Non-notified Applications (No Hearing)
District Land 237 203 213 231 100.00% 13
Subdivision 67 68 71 58 98.00% 21
Coastal 14 21 25 10 100.00% 15
Discharge 81 53 101 78 100.00% 20
Regional Land 12 22 13 20 100.00% 22
Water 28 46 61 67 100.00% 19
Total: 446 425 484 464 99.80% 17
Others *** 7 12 18 17 n/a n/a
Non-Notified Applications (With Hearing)
All 0 0 4 0 n/a 0
* Numbers include applications to change conditions of existing consents.
** Processing days include time extensions. Time extensions are typically required for large and/or complex subdivisions including associated discharge permits for wastewater and stormwater disposal for new rural residential allotments. Time extensions are also applied for the bulk processing of replacement water permits for water management zones.
*** The “Others” category includes Rights of Way (ROWs), Designations, Outline Plans and Certificates of Compliance.

Timeliness Results (July-December 2015) Notified Applications

Type of Application Number Complete Percentage Within Time Average Processing Days *
2012 * 2013 * 2014 * 2015 *
Publicly Notified Applications (No Hearing)
All 1 0 2 5 100.00% 62
Publicly Notified Applications (With Hearing)
All 11 2 0 3 100.00% 168 ***
Limited Notified Applications (No Hearing)
All 7 5 2 4 100.00% 78
Limited Notified Applications (With Hearing)
All 1 2 42 ** 5 100.00% 333 ***
Totals 20 10 46 17 100.00% n/a
* Processing days include time extensions.
** The limited notified applications in 2014 included 27 discharge permits for rural subdivisions.
*** The applications with long processing times all involved requests from the applicants to give them time to attempt to resolve issues with submitters.

Summary of Decisions

Type of Decision Number
Declined by Committee 0
Granted by Committee 2
Declined by Independent Commissioners 0
Granted by Independent Commissioners 11
Granted by Mixed Panel 0
Declined under Delegated Authority 0
Granted under Delegated Authority 468
Requiring Authority Decision (Designations) 0

Air quality

The report updated the Environment & Planning Committee on results of air quality monitoring in Richmond undertaken during the winter of 2015. Based on current trends, during normal winter weather TDC is on track to achieve the current requirements of the National Environmental Standard Air Quality (NESAQ). The NESAQ is set by law and TDC is required to meet it.

Enviro-20160204-p62

Over the last winter the NESAQ was exceeded 3 times for 24 hour average particulate matter smaller than 10 microns (PM10). This is the second best result on record since air quality monitoring began in Richmond in 2001 and much lower than the total number of exceedences recorded during 2013 (nine), although one more exceedance than that recorded during 2014 (two).

Enviro-20160204-p64

The majority of smoke related complaints related to outdoor burning, with 15 complaints in the Richmond area, 12 in the Moutere Waimea area and 36 within the Motueka area.

Pesticides

The report discussed Council’s participation in the National Survey of Pesticides in New Zealand Groundwaters and presented the results of the latest round of sampling.

In Tasman, 15 groundwater sites are sampled at 4-yearly intervals and tested for the presence of pesticide residues. Tasman has participated in this programme since 1998 completing 5 surveys to date.

Overall, the 2014 sampling confirms the continued presence of trace level pesticide residues in groundwater at some locations (seven). Whilst showing some variability, no sites show any significant increases in pesticide residues compared to the previous sampling results.

The pesticide residues detected in Tasman groundwaters during the 2014 sampling round were:

  • Simazine pre-emergence herbicide (field half-life: 26 – 186 days),
  • Terbuthylazine herbicide for grass and broadleaf weed control (field half-life: 60 days),
  • Dinoseb herbicide for grass and broadleaf weed control (field half-life: 100 days).

Enviro-20160204-p76

Environment and planning activity report

Highlights from the managers report include:

  • Marine protection areas. There are two marine reservations in Tasman – Tonga Island and Whanganui Inlet. Both will transition into new reserve status under the proposed law changes.
  • RMA reform. The LGA and Productivity Commission have released think pieces on the future of the RMA (see www.lgnz.co.nz/home/our-work/publications/a-blue-skies-discussion/, and www.productivity.govt.nz/inquiry-content/2682?stage=2).
  • Woodburners. Nelson council (NCC) is proposing a limited number of Ultra Low Emission Burners (ULEBs) be allowed in Airshed B2 (including Stoke, Wakatu and Enner Glynn) and Airshed C (including Port Hills, City Centre, The Brook, The Wood and Atawhai). If there are further improvements to air quality over the next few years, the plan change proposes that burners could also become a permitted activity in Airshed A (including Bishopdale, Victory, Toi Toi, between the colleges, and Washington Valley) and Airshed B1 (Tahunanui and Tahunanui Hills south of The Cliffs). TDC is unlikely to have any spare capacity in the Richmond Airshed to allow a change in the current woodburner policy.

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes are located at www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/environment-and-planning-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EnvironmentPlanningCommittee/2016/2016-02-04.

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