District plan changes enable quality growth

12 November 2014

Councillors gave their stamp of approval to residential and suburban centre district plan changes 72 and 73 last week. These changes will manage growth and development in all residential and suburban centre properties in the city.

These changes replace the previous rules, meaning planners and resource consent applicants only need consider the new rules and not have the complexity of two sets of rules.

Plan change 72 includes new controls to recognise our coast’s unique character, strengthening our inner city character area controls and two medium-density residential areas around the Johnsonville and Kilbirnie town centres. 

Councillor Foster who chairs the Transport and Urban Development Committee says, The medium-density residential areas help provide for Wellington’s future population growth and changing housing needs. The plan changes pave the way for affordable housing and housing choice in areas around suburban centres that have infrastructure to accommodate our changing population needs.”

The CBD is Wellington’s fastest growing sector of the residential market. This has been encouraged by Council planning rules, which carefully manage development to retain the inner city’s defining elements, which contribute to Wellington’s unique character and quality. The growth is supported by Council investment in public spaces and activities. We also continue to allow for greenfield development in the north of the City.

Plan Change 73 recognises the importance of our suburban centres for business, retailing and community activities. The new urban design controls ensure new buildings and public spaces are high quality and add to each centres’ vibrancy and economic viability. The plan change also protects our relatively scarce industrial land from incompatible uses such as residential development.

“A compact city with well-located development is essential in making our city more sustainable. It’s a major reason Wellington is by far New Zealand’s leading city in terms of the proportion of people who use bus, train, walk or bike to work,” says Councillor Foster. “The district plan is a key tool in this.”

The changes are the result of extensive consultation with communities over the last seven to eight years.

Councillor Foster wants to work with other communities to create more medium-density residential areas now this plan change is operative. “We’ve signalled further areas of change in the draft Wellington Urban Growth Plan, which the Council is currently consulting on, and will consider on 13 November. As before, we will consult with local communities before deciding on the next medium-density residential areas before June 2015. We will then work very closely with those communities to ensure development is high quality and supported by good infrastructure and community facilities. There will be plenty of informal and formal opportunities for residents to give us their views.”

Councillor Foster says these changes will be incorporated in to the Council’s new E-plan, which will be on Council’s website early in the New Year. “By clicking on your property, you can find out if you can subdivide it, or what alterations and additions you do, or don’t, need a resource consent for. It will be a useful tool for any property owner or anyone buying a property.”