The Company has built a strong track record in urban planning and analysis, at the strategic and operational levels, with a particular focus on strategic land use planning, urban design, district planning and integration of transport (and other infrastructure) with land use development.

  • In all of the following project areas, the Company is often called upon to bridge the strategic and operational levels, helping to identify outcomes for urban areas or activities and then to develop implementation frameworks for these objectives that are robust and defendable.

    This commonly involves community consultation, strategic analysis, vision and option development, option testing and developing implementation and actions plans.

    Peer review services, due diligence, expert evidence before the Environment Court, and acting as decision makers are also common actions associated with these processes.

    Specific capabilites include:

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    RMA Plan Making

    The HYC team has decades of collective experience in the plan making process under the RMA. We have a detailed knowledge of the steps required to develop defendable plan provisions, with specific skills required when developing policy responses to innovative initiatives not traditionally addressed within district plans.
    We can also help develop the business case for funding plan making activities so as to ensure projects are sufficiently resourced to address this increasingly complex and challenging task.

    In addition to the work on the Auckland Unitary Plan (click here), other projects include:

    • Drury South private plan change. Trevor Mackie provided initial assistance to Auckland Council in processing the proposal to rezone 223 hectares of land in the Drury Basin located east of the southern motorway from rural to industrial. The application lodged in 2011 also required an extension to the location of the Metropolitan Urban Limit in Auckland’s Operative RPS in addition in addition to an application for stormwater drainage consent and new air discharge consent. More recently Chloe Trenouth helped the stormwater management unit prepare its response to the Plan Change.
    • Ruakaka Racecourse private plan change. Trevor Mackie and David Mead have been assisting the Whangarei Racing Club to prepare a private plan change to rezone its 50 hectare site at Ruakaka. The Plan change seeks to rezone the land to secure the long-term viability of equine activities on the site, while enabling the expansion of training and horse racing-related activities and compatible commercial, residential and equine-education development. The plan change has just completed the submission process.
    • Advice on plan review approaches. In recent years all of HYC staff have worked on projects assisting councils prepare district plan review programmes. This has included:
      • preparation of a District Plan review plan for the former North Shore City Council;
      • assisting Hastings District Council with project planning and mentoring staff preparing for the District Plan review;
      • undertaking an external review of Porirua City’s District Plan review work programme
      • providing Auckland Council with advice on what could be included in the proposed Unitary Plan to assist in resourcing and timing issues in its preparation


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    Requiring Authorities need certainty over the scope of the activity to be authorised by the designations.  the consenting authority needs certainty over the terms of the designation.  This is seeing the designations process becoming much more complex. Our team is experienced in both the preparation of Notices of Requirement for designations and processing of Notices for councils. Capabilities include: applications for requiring authority status; review of existing designations within district plans (i.e. council’s own designations); advising whether the designation process is the most appropriate; submissions to Notices, and evidence for council hearings and the Environment Court.

    Projects include:

    • Preparation of Notice of Requirement and AEE for Glenvar Ridge Road
    • Preparation of Notice of Requirement and AEE for Takanini Stormwater Conveyance
    • Scoping and initial preparation of a NOR for Lincoln Road widening



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    Resource Consents

    Our team has worked with a wide range of developers, landowners, and industries to successfully obtain resource consent for a range of different activities.

    Our understanding of the RMA’s processes can assist in the development of a consenting strategy to ensure you are aware of the options available and any associated risks before you start. Our approach to project management ensures that whether projects are large, complex and contentious or relatively straight forward, the preparation of the resource consent application(s) and the accompanying technical inputs is managed appropriately and kept on target.

    We have a good working relationship with many technical experts from throughout New Zealand, and are able to recommend other personnel (geotechnical engineers, surveyors, draftsmen etc) that may be required during the consenting stage of development. Our work with the public sector means we have existing contacts with many district and regional councils.

    Recent Projects Include:

    • Friend of Submitter roles for the EPA in relation to the NZTA Basin Reserve Flyover and Transmission Gully, to assist submitters traversing the submission process
    • Submission analysis for EPA in relation to the Tukituki Catchment proposal
    • Smart Environmental Limited: land-use consent for the establishment of a new materials recovery facility and refuse transfer station in the Manawatu District
    • Jackson Street Retail land-use resource consents for supermarket and ancillary shops, Petone, Lower Hutt
    • Green Newman Holdings, land-use resource consents for a 7-dwelling multi-unit development, Newtown, Wellington
    • Eden Park land-use consent to respond to changes to hosting requirements for the HRV Cup Twenty- 20 competition


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    Urban Planning

    HYC has a depth of skills in the area of urban planning, including urban design-based assessments, research on urban issues, growth management strategies, and linkages with LGA policy development. The links between infrastructure (transport, open space, social) investments and land use responses is an area that we are often called upon to consider.

    HYC is a signatory to the Urban Design Protocol, and David Mead (Director) is on the Urban Design Panel for Auckland City and is a key member of the Urban Design Forum (NZ).

    Projects include:

    • Quay Park and Lincoln Road land use studies, for Auckland Council. These studies are looking at longer term land use strategies for these areas of change.
    • Ruakaka Racecourse redevelopment. This project developed a framework and draft plan change to enable the on-going operation of the racecourse through development of surplus land
    • Auckland Plan development. HYC (David Mead) helped the urban form team develop a working report on preferred urban form.
    • Assisted with the preparation and defence of the Long Bay Structure Plan for North Shore City
    • Numerous urban redevelopment projects including Albany Centre Plan Change for North Shore City, New Lynn Redevelopment (Plan Change 18) for Waitakere City and Frankton Flats Plan Change (PC 19) in Queenstown Lakes District


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    Strategic Analysis

    We are often asked to undertake analysis of socio-economic data and current policy frameworks to inform larger scale urban projects. We are able to prepare demographic and employment projections, forecast land use demands and analyse the economics of development and provision of social and physical infrastructure. Our collective experience ensures that the analysis of the data is enhanced by our understanding of constraints and opportunities relating to the resource management framework, transport, urban design and infrastructure.

    Projects include:

    • An economic profile for Auckland’s central city Fringe
    • Alternative funding options for Wellington's PT Spine study
    • Quay Park land use study
    • Urban redevelopment options for Lincoln Road, New Lynn, Wairau Valley and other areas of change
    • Flat Bush Town Centre Master plan strategic analysis
    • Housing Affordability in Auckland, Kapiti District and Queenstown
    • Business Land Needs Analysis for Queenstown Lakes District


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    Hearing Commissioners

    Directors Mark St. Clair and David Mead are accredited independent hearing commissioners and have sat on and chaired resource management hearings for both local and regional authorities throughout New Zealand. Recent hearings have included:

    • Auckland Council: Notices of Requirement to enable the construction, operation and maintenance of the City Rail Link
    • Auckland Council : Proposed Private Plan Change 34: Milford Intensive Residential Development Overlay Area
    • Auckland Council: 80 Beaumont Street , St Marys Bay - tourist complex and cafe
    • Auckland Council : 67 Hingia Road - construct and operate a retirement village
    • Nelson City: Plan Change 14 - Residential Subdivision, Land Development Manual and Comprehensive Housing
    • Auckland Council: Plan Change 20 - Flat Bush Stage 2
    • Auckland Council: 125 Gills Road, Albany Heights - a 128 multi-unit development
    • Auckland Council: 61 Grove Road, Papakura – a 181 household unit development on 150 lots
    • Nelson City: Plan Change 21 - Car Parking
    • Auckland Council: 102 Pakuranga Road - a two storey mixed-use development (retail with residential upstairs)
    • Wellington City Council: 2A Sheridan Terrace, Johnsonville, Wellington – 32 multi-unit development.
    • Hutt City Council: 27 Wheatley Avenue, Naenae, Lower Hutt – operation of a Kohanga Reo (extension of hours and on-site operations)
    • Horizons Regional Council and Palmerston North City Council: Anzac Cliffs, Palmerston North – Realignment of the Manawatu River, cliff stabilisation works and undertaking a 36-lot residential subdivision
    • Horizons Regional Council: Hunterville Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades and discharge permit renewal

    In addition, Mark St Clair is a presenter on the ‘Making Good Decisions’ Commissioner Training Course.


  • Expert Witnesses

    Our directors and consultants appear as expert witnesses for a range of private and public sector clients, and in reporting officer roles for local authorities. As a team we are renowned for our pragmatic and independent advice and decision making.

    Mark St Clair has recently acted as the reporting planner for Horizons Regional Council for two wind farm applications in the northern Wairarapa.


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    Nationally significant projects


    Hill Young Cooper has assisted the Environmental Protection Authority and Boards of Enquiry on nationally significant projects. These projects have included:

    • Tukituki Catchment Proposal and Ruataniwha Water Storage Project (Mark St Clair as Planner for Board of Enquiry)
    • NZTA Transmission Gully and Basin Reserve Flyover Projects (Mark St Clair as Friend of Submitters)
    • Puhoi to Warkworth stage of the Road of National Significance (Trevor Mackie as Friend of Submitters)
    • TransTasman Resources seabed ironsand mining EEZ (Emily Buckingham assisted the Decision-making Committee)
    • Chatham Rock Phosphate seabed mining EEZ (Peter Daly assisted the Environmental Protection Authority)

    Mark St Clair was a member of the Technical Advisory Group appointed to review sections 6 & 7 of the RMA.

    Hill Young Cooper has undertaken research projects for the Ministry for the Environment, to evaluate impacts and effectiveness of RMA issues, including

    • Natural Hazards
    • Section 32 implementation
    • Biodiversity
    • Communities Facing Hard Choices
    • RMA Impacts on Business and Community Groups
    • Audit of Resourcce Consent Survey Response
    • Review of Christchurch City Council Resource Consenting