A Local Area Plan (LAP) is a planning mechanism provided for under section 25 of the act and must be developed together with local communities.
The act acknowledges that within the ranges and foothills there are diverse places and communities, each with a distinctive character and future. LAPs must identify the boundary of the local area and set goals for retaining and enhancing the area’s heritage features and character, while also providing for the community’s wellbeing.
LAPs have been completed for:
Another is currently being prepared for Te Henga (Bethells Beach)/Waitakere River Valley.
A LAP is developed with co-operation between the council and local communities to draft policies and undertake supporting actions to implement the long-term vision for their area. For example, the protection of ecosystems (a heritage feature) might be achieved through a combination of council/community restoration projects, conservation covenants and monitoring.
Section 27 of the act confirms that the council or any landowner is not obliged to implement the provisions of a LAP. However, we must still justify any decision which may have consequences significantly inconsistent with a LAP by explaining the inconsistency, the reasons for it and any intention to amend the LAP to accommodate the decision.
Section 28 of the act also allows us to include any part of a LAP that relates to the use, development or protection of natural resources in the Auckland Council District Plan (Waitakere Section) or Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan once made operative.
Distrcit plan change 35 resulted in elements of the Oratia and Waiatarua Local Area Plans being included within section 5B of the District Plan’s policy section, titled ‘The Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area’.
Other mechanisms to implement a LAP may include support for the initiatives of local community groups or the inclusion of new works or projects in our Long-term Plan.