Plan Change 16 - Inner City Noise

Notified 7 September 2013, hearing held 2 May 2014 at Nelson City Council Chamber


At its meeting on 20 November 2014, Nelson City Council resolved to make proposed Plan Change 16 (Inner City Noise) operative on 1 December 2014. This date was publicly notified on 22 November 2014.

The operative plan change text can be found in appendix four of the Commissioners' Decision (3.6MB PDF)  report. 

 Plan Change 16 – Inner City Noise aims to revise the inner city noise standards to provide a more effective and enforceable way to manage inner city noise, while still allowing bars and entertainment activities, and residential activity to occur in the city.

This Plan Change is not about changing the level of noise in the Inner City but is about improving how noise is managed.  The approach recognises that both those producing and receiving noise in the Inner City Zone have a responsibility for its management.  It also recognises that the Inner City Zone provides a central area containing diverse activities which enhance vitality and vibrancy, while also providing for a standard of amenity appropriate to the location.

The main features of the Plan Change are:

  • Introduce permitted activity requirements for new bedrooms in residential units in the Inner City Zone to be acoustically insulated to reduce noise entering these sleeping areas.
  • Require new or extended ‘noise generating activities’ to apply for a resource consent to allow for consideration of noise issues.
  • Plan provision retaining control over night time maximum noise level (LAFmax).
  • Retain and amend the rule controlling noise at properties in the Residential Zone.
  • Use the unreasonable and excessive noise provisions of the RMA to manage and enforce noise within the Inner City Zone rather than the current noise rule ICr.42.
  • Non-regulatory approaches including ongoing education.

A change is also made to the ventilation requirements of the Port Effects Control Overlay allowing for more cost effective and practicable options to be used which still achieve the standard required.

Submissions / Further Submissions

Proposed Council Plan Change 16 (Inner City Noise) was publicly notified for submissions on 07 September 2013 and a total of 15 submissions and 2 further submissions were received.

A Summary of decisions requested and a full copy of submissions can be inspected at:

  • Nelson City Council, Customer Services Centre, Civic House, 110 Trafalgar Street, Nelson;
  • Elma Turner Library, Halifax Street, Nelson;
  • Nightingale Library Memorial, Tahunanui;
  • Stoke Library, Putaitai Street, Stoke;
  • Downloads sections below.


Proposed Plan Change 16 – Inner City Noise was heard on 2 May 2014 in the Nelson City Council Chambers. 


At its meeting on 12 December 2013 Councillors resolved to appoint an Independent Commissioner (chair) and two Councillors as the hearing panel to hear and make decisions on submissions on proposed Council Plan Change 16. The decisions have now been made by the panel.

In summary, the decision is to adopt the plan change as notified with the following modifications:

  • No requirement for Short Term Living Accommodation to be acoustically insulated and changed application to bedrooms
  • The resource consent status of rules ICr.42A and ICr.43A changed from ‘discretionary’ to ‘restricted discretionary’
  • General, technical and explanatory changes to some definitions, wording and acoustic engineering terminology
  • Definition of Noise Generating Activity amended to place stricter hours on Inner City Fringe than on Inner City Centre
  • Increased recognition of low frequency noise when considering resource consent applications
  • Deletion of a proposed ‘rule’ giving guidance on how noise enforcement would occur in Nelson.

This decision was publicly notified in the Nelson Mail on 5 July 2014. This decision and the public notice can be downloaded below.

A copy of the Commissioners’ decisions document and public notice advising Council’s decisions are also be available for viewing at:

  • Nelson City Council, Main Reception, Ground Floor, Civic House, 110 Trafalgar Street, Nelson;
  • Elma Turner Library, Halifax Street, Nelson;
  • Nightingale Library Memorial, Tahunanui; and
  • Stoke Library, Putaitai Street, Stoke.
  • Download section below


More information

For enquiries, contact the Planning Adviser via email, or phone +64 3 546 0295.