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How to use the plan

About the ePlan 

All district plans across the country are required to move to a fully online and electronic plan over the next few years. It is an “ePlan, which means that you can search your address on our planning maps and all the provisions relevant to your property can be accessed online. 
Hyperlinks allow users to easily find relevant sections. For example, if a rule cross-references to a rule in another chapter, you can click on the hyperlink, and it will take you directly to that rule. 
Definitions are also embedded into the plan, many of which are now standardised across the country and apply to all new district plans. You can hover over a word that has a dotted line under it, and this will bring up the word’s definition in a pop-up box. 

We have prepared videos to help you navigate the ePlan format and provide feedback on the maps and provisions of the Proposed District Plan. You can view the videos here.

Our Operative District Plan and Draft District Plan were made available in the e-Plan format. This has allowed us to test the software and make improvements in the layout of the Proposed District Plan.

View the ePlan here

Zones and other layers 

The Proposed District Plan takes a layered approach to managing development, activities and environmental effects across the city. This allows us to target rules to where they are best applied and is more flexible than utilising zones alone. Zones (such as General Residential Zone or Local Centre Zone) continue to be the cornerstone of the Proposed District Plan rule framework. The zones generally followa nationally directed format, however we have a few additionalspecial zones that apply only in Napier, such as the Ahuriri Estuary - Ecology and Stormwater Treatment Zone. Information about the provisions of each zone can be found in the topic summaries. 

In addition to zones, the Proposed District Plan has: 

District-wide chapters 

The district-wide chapters include rules that apply in addition to, and regardless of, the underlying zone of the land, and include matters of national significance such as heritage, landscapes and significant natural areas, as well as general matters (e.g., noise, light and earthworks). The subdivision rules also sit in the district-wide section of the Proposed District Plan. 


A Precinct is an area where specific plan provisions apply to a more localised area in addition to those in an underlying zone. Where there is a conflict between the two, then the Pprecinct provisions are applied and over-ride the underlying zone provisions. A precinct spatially identifies and manages an area where additional place-based provisions apply, to modify or refine aspects of the policy approach or outcomes anticipated in the underlying zone(s) (e.g. for special character areas in the General Residential Zone). 


An overlay spatially identifies distinctive values, risks or other factors that require management regardless of the underlying zone. In the Napier Proposed District Plan, overlays include the high land transport noise overlay (that has rules regarding acoustic insulation within 80m of a state highway or railway corridor), significant natural areas and landscapes. Because they apply independent of the underlying zone, the rules for overlays sit in the relevant district-wide chapter. 

Specific controls 

In addition to zones, precincts and development areas, there are “specific controls”, which may apply a different rule than the standard zone rule within a specific area e.g.,Orotu Drive Height Restriction Control Area. These rules sit within the relevant zone, precinct or district-wide chapter. 

Development areas 

A development area identifies and manages areas where a structure plan applies; and where specific requirements must be met to ensure the areas are suitable for urban growth purposes. Additional provisions apply to enable integrated and coordinated growth in accordance with the structure plan for each area, for example staging of infrastructure provision. 


The designation chapters use a unique identifier to identify land (a single site, area or along a linear route) that is the subject of a Notice of Requirement that describes and authorises public works (such as a school, police station, state highway, railway line), and/or sets aside land for future public works.  

This mechanism is used by Ministers of the Crown, network utility operators and local authorities who are approved as requiring authorities under the RMA. A designation enables a requiring authority to undertake works in the designated area without the need for resource consent (but do require an Outline Plan to be submitted detailing the nature and type of works applied for). Designations have been reviewed and included in the Proposed District Plan in 2023. 

What rules apply to my property? 

You can search for your property on the e-Plan maps. This will tell you what zone your property is in, and if any other spatial rules (precincts, controls, overlays or development areas) apply. The district-wide rules also apply. For more information see - How to make a submission. 

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