Recent amendments to Development Regulations 2008

Two changes to the Development Regulations 2008 were made on 12 February 2015 which should streamline some approval processes for variations to approvals and residential land division.
Minor variations don’t need new applications
New regulation 47A now allows a relevant authority to approve variations to an existing development authorisation (including the variation of a condition) that are “minor in nature” without a fresh variation development application being lodged, assessed and approved.
As long as the proposed variation is sufficiently “minor”, the relevant variation(s) can simply be “signed off” by the relevant authority.  This avoids the requirement for an application to be lodged to vary a planning consent where minor changes are made, for instance, as part of detailed engineering design associated with Building Rules Consent.  If the change is “minor” then the authority can simply allow it to pass and issue the final Development Approval.
The new regulation raises the obvious issue of exactly what constitutes a “minor” variation.
Land division and complying development
The definition of residential code development has been expanded to include land division, where that division “provides for” a development plan consent that has been granted for a Res Code development of a new detached or semi detached dwelling (Schedule 4, clause 2B).
In those circumstances, the related land division will also be considered a Res Code “complying” form of development, and must be approved by the relevant authority without an assessment of its merits against the relevant Development Plan.
Previously, some developers experienced problems after obtaining an approval for Res Code compliant dwellings, only to find that a related land division application was refused, or experienced significant delays or contention with the Council, because the land division application needed to be assessed on its merits against the relevant Development Plan.
This amendment to the Res Code means that as long as the dwellings application is lodged and approved by the relevant authority as a Res Code “complying” development, the related land division can be made subject to the same “fast tracked” process.
Tom Crompton March 2015