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Housing demand and Government legislation prompts Plan Change

plan change 5

Hastings district is growing – more people are coming to live and work here and more houses are needed to meet that demand.

Hastings District Council has been exploring options to fit more houses into existing neighbourhoods for a number of years, but recent Government legislation has meant this work needs to be accelerated to comply with the new rules.

In response, Council is working on a Plan Change to allow more houses to be built in our residential areas, but which also ensures the district’s valuable growing land is protected and homes are designed well and are close to community facilities, public transport and parks.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said more housing was essential to accommodate the district’s growing population, using land already available for housing, building connected communities at the same time.

“It’s about having a wider variety of living options – this could be more one or two bedroom homes, maybe two and three-storey buildings, apartments, or town housing.

“We need to plan carefully for more intensive living, and we need to make sure new homes are high quality and designed well – they also need to be close to community facilities, public transport and parks so they work for our lifestyle and jobs.”

While Council had been planning ahead through the Heretaunga Plains Urban Development Strategy, its Medium Density Strategy and the recent creation of a Future Growth Unit, the Government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) and the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021, meant changing to a more compact way of living was not optional.

“The move towards more intensive housing development and compact housing types is a change from what we have known and what developers and housing companies are used to providing in Hastings.

“It’s about moving up rather than out, with a key consideration being doing so in a way that protects privacy at the same time as growing a sense of community and allowing social interaction with easy access to open spaces, walking and cycling options, and shared community facilities.

“Reducing the size of our homes and the land on which they sit means cost savings can be put into quality materials and innovative design, creating a new character within our neighbourhoods and making our homes function better and more efficiently,” Mrs Hazlehurst said.

Council is currently drafting Plan Change 5, which will change the rules around how property can be developed – with a goal of making medium density development easier in identified areas (City Living Zone and other specific sites identified in the District Plan) and in the General Residential Zones of Hastings, Havelock North and Flaxmere.

In these areas landowners and developers will be able to apply for Council approval (resource consent) to build homes of up to three storeys high without any public notification.

These changes are proposed to be notified for pubic feedback in November this year, but ahead of this council is seeking informal feedback, and will be conducting targeted consultation with property owners and holding open days (more information to come).

People will be able to give formal feedback when the Plan Change is notified in November, after which it will be heard mid-way through next year.

For more information and to give informal feedback now go to www.hastingsdc.govt.nz/righthomesrightplace

13 September 2022

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