Wellington City Council has reviewed the planning rules that affect land zoned 'suburban centre'.
Suburban centres include local shops, town centres, industrial areas, office parks and big retail stores outside the central city - the places where people shop, work, socialise and access services.
The review included:
- how suburban centre zones are performing
- whether current planning is working
- current issues
- managing future suburban centre development and activities.
The review formed the basis of proposed District Plan Change 73.
District Plan Change 73: Suburban Centres Review
This project is part of Wellington City Council’s 10-year rolling review of the Wellington District Plan, the city’s planning rule book.
This zone was introduced 10 years ago under a flexible approach that allows any activity to locate anywhere. One result has been residential activities developing in traditionally industrial areas, such as Greta Point.
Flexibility lets market trends develop, and has allowed some areas to evolve into more vibrant places. However several important issues have emerged and have been addressed as part of proposed District Plan Change 73.
- Industrial land loss
Residential and retail activities establishing in traditionally industrial areas make it difficult for smaller businesses to find space in the city. This has the potential to impact on longer-term economic growth.
- Retailing spread
'Big-box' retail and trade outlets situated away from established town and local centres challenge the centres' viability. Mixing activities to help keep centres viable has created the need for more controls.
- Accommodating growth
Growing population and economic activity must be accommodated. This will intensify pressure in zoned areas, and as a result there are proposed rezoning changes.
- Urban design quality
Few controls on urban design can result in inconsistencies in quality and appearance of buildings. Better controls are required.
- Environmental matters
Issues such as noise, shading and impacts on natural features contribute to the quality of where we live and work. The environment has to be managed.
Town and local centres with centralised parking operate and perform better than those without, but lack of land available for parking is a limiting factor. Parking has been assessed.
- Out-of-zone activities
Many well used commercial services, workshops and retail activities operate on land zoned for residential or other purposes. In some cases a more appropriate zoning is required.
The Council has identified some proposals in a Centres Policy for the future development and management of the city's centres. A consultation on the draft policy took place from May to July 2008.
The Suburban Centres Review links with other Council projects currently underway. The Northern Growth Management Framework and the Urban Development Strategy (including the 'growth spine') are also providing policy guidance.