At the end of the application process, the Council comes back to the applicant with any questions that arise out of the plans or changes they require made (a Request for Information, or RFI). Fortunately only a small number of points were raised for us and these could all be simply addressed.
You can call the officer concerned if the question itself doesn't make sense. We were asked why the garage wall wasn't fire-rated, but the officer was unaware that the adjoining land was designated roadway. A question doesn't always need a change.
The 20 day processing 'clock' stops while you are responding to the RFI. As it happens, Council had already exceeded the legal limit, but they did give us unofficial access to the questions prior to formally posing them, so we could start working on the responses.
We have building consent!
Unfortunately, not entirely without a glitch as it turned out. We picked up our plans on 17 May (mind you, not before paying another $690 for time Council needed to consider the responses to their questions). We were surprised to find a letter tucked away in the pack prohibiting us from starting to build until we had Resource Consent for our vehicle access and asking for another $1,650! What?
Seems someone at Council thought that the consent for access granted in the original sub-division didn't apply! Three days, one visit, several emails and a couple of phone calls later, we finally got the restriction lifted. A couple of lessons here: 1) Open the consented plans, as you need to know what you have actually got. Council should have informed us of this bizarre decision 12 days earlier, but they didn't. 2) Council officials can sound really sure of their ground, but that doesn't mean they are right. Go in to see them, lay the facts on the table, and ensure your case is being considered at the right level. (And if they still don't agree, you have rights to object).
Over many years 99 Hobson Street has become rather overgrown. At last the weed trees can come down.
The arborists used a cherry-picker to take out the highest branches, almost twice the height of the powerline beneath them. There was a glitch with getting traffic control set up, so we were out the night before placing some of the road cones that have been dumped on the property over the years (!), and again at 5:30am to make sure that commuters kept their vehicles out of harm's way.
Four days later and Tony from Kieran Oliver Contracting was on site to start clearing the scrub and rubbish.
In the end it was more than a days work, so he'll need to take out a couple of big tree trunks and clear more debris when he returns to set up the levels for building.
It's great to be able to see from one side of the site to the other and picture where the house will go. Our little sloping section suddenly looks somewhat steeper!