Medium Density Residential Standards

The Proposed District Plan (PDP) has an impact on how we all manage Medium Density Residential Standards.

The Proposed District Plan incorporates the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS).

This includes whether or not a development of up to three 3-storey residential buildings can be built on a site. These changes come due to notification of the Proposed District Plan on 18 July 2022.

Building three storey houses

The District Plan now allows for up to three houses to be built on a residential site, where:

  • the site is in a residential zone (MRZ or HRZ)
  • the proposal meets all of the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS)
  • there is no qualifying matter on the site.

If you meet all of these requirements then the Proposed District Plan rules are now operative.

Building standards

The MDRS allow for the construction of additional household units on a residential site, where the following building standards are met:

Item Description
Number of residential units: No more than 3
Building height: 11m high (with an additional 1m for a qualifying pitched roof)
Height in relation to boundary: 60° recession plane measured from 4m vertically
Set backs: 1 metre rear yard (except on corner sites)
Building coverage: Maximum 50% coverage of net site area
Outdoor living space:

At least 20m² for residential units at ground floor level
At least 8m² with minimum dimension of 1.8m for residential units above ground floor level
Ability for outdoor living space to be provided cumulatively in communally accessible location

Outlook space (per unit): 4m x 4m space from principal living room
1m x 1m space from all other habitable rooms
Windows to street: Minimum of 20% glazing of the street front elevation
Landscaped area: For residential units at ground floor at least 20% of the site developed with grass or plants

Front and side yards

We have not adopted the MDRS requiring a 1.5 metre front yard setback and a 1 metre side yard set-back. This means that the operative District Plan set back requirements apply to yards. If you want to build three household units on a site but infringe the yard standard in the operative District Plan then resource consent will be required under Rule 5.3.4 for infringing the operative yards standard (refer to standard

If you don’t meet the standards

If your proposal doesn't meet one of the above standards, then you will need resource consent under the operative District Plan rule. The relevant permitted activity standard is the MDRS in the proposed District Plan.

For example:

  • if you exceed the 11m building height standard, then you will need resource consent under the proposed District Plan height standard.
  • if you exceed the 50% building coverage standard, then you will need resource consent under the proposed District Plan site coverage standard.

Qualifying matters

‘Qualifying matters’ are characteristics that apply to a site that might limit the level of development there.

We identified that the following qualifying matters will limit development potential:

  • Viewshafts
  • Heritage, excluding scheduled archaeological sites
  • Coastal hazards
  • Natural hazards
  • Character precincts (MRZ-PREC-01 and MRZ-PREC-02)
  • Air noise overlay
  • Operative District Plan national grid (high voltage transmission line) 32m buffer.

If one of these qualifying matters applies to your site the proposed District Plan provisions (MDRS) will not have immediate legal effect and you will need resource consent under the operative District Plan.

To check if there is a qualifying matter on your site, check the Proposed District Plan.

Note: There are a number of other qualifying matters, however, these are not listed above as they do not limit development potential or prevent the MDRS from having immediate legal effect.

At this stage the building standards in the operative District Plan will apply and not the MDRS. This means that you do not have the additional development potential.

Refer to the questions below if your qualifying matter is a hazard, a character precinct or in the national grid buffer zone.

Operative District Plan rules

These operative rules are not superseded and will apply as well as the MDRS:

  • 5.3.1 – activities
  • 5.3.4 – with respect to standards not superseded by a MDRS, including (yards) and -
  • 5.3.5 – buildings & structures in Thorndon Character Area and Mt Vic North Character Area
  • 5.3.6 – buildings & structures in Appendix 1 Area
  • 5.3.10 – buildings & structures in the Tawa hazard (flooding) area
  • 5.3.10B & 5.4.4 - buildings & structures in the airnoise boundary
  • 5.4.5 – buildings & structures in the hazard (fault line) area

In addition:

Rule 5.3.4 (buildings and structures) will continue to apply where one or more MDRS is not met (the MDRS apply in part)

  • The proposed District Plan standard is the relevant permitted activity standard, but resource consent will be required under the operative District Plan rule.
  • The conditions under Rule 5.3.4 will also apply, meaning buildings could still be non-complying activities under the operative District Plan.
  • Any applicable notification clauses under the operative District Plan rule also apply.

Where a proposed District Plan standard (MDRS) has no equivalent operative District Plan standard, resource consent is required for a Non-complying Activity under Rule 5.5.

At this stage these operative District Plan rules will continue to apply regardless of whether an MDRS development is proposed:

  • 5.2.1 – non-residential activities
  • 5.2.2 – subdivision
  • 5.2.3 – subdivision
  • 5.3.2 – work from home activities
  • 5.3.3 – childcare centres
  • 5.3.8 – buildings and structures in the Oriental Bay height area 
  • 5.3.9 – buildings and structures on legal road
  • 5.3.10A - buildings and structures in an educational precinct 
  • 5.3.11 – signs
  • 5.4.1 – non-residential activities
  • 5.4.2 – helicopter landing areas
  • 5.4.3 – hazardous substances
  • 5.4.6 – development of the Tapu te Ranga site
  • 5.4.7, 5.4.8 - subdivision

Solar panels, chimneys, eaves, aerials or decks at ground level

In the operative District Plan you can exceed certain standards where the part of a building causing the infringement is one of the above.

These exemptions are not included in the proposed District Plan as they would make the provisions more permissive than the MDRS. If any part of a residential building exceeds an MDRS then resource consent is required. In addition, the more restrictive operative District Plan standard will apply.

We have removed the exemptions for now, but will look to re-introduce these later.