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Plan Change 5 – Right homes, right place

Why we’re making the change

Housing demand has increased significantly across New Zealand, including in Hastings, and Central Government directives are focused on responding to this growth.

The Government has introduced two pieces of legislation that tell councils how they must allow more houses to be built. These are the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) and the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021.

We must change our District Plan to meet deadlines set by Government. Our Council is formatting rules that fit within the Government’s requirements, but also provide the best options for our district.

Councils in areas identified as tier 1 or tier 2 under Government’s NPS-UD which fail to make their own plan changes, risk Government setting rules for them. Hastings is tier 2.
In Hastings, we want to ensure we are protecting our valuable growing soils while creating housing that’s the right fit in the right place; homes that are close to community facilities, public transport and parks and work for our lifestyles.

The change incorporates our Hastings Residential Intensification Design Guide, against which applications for higher density will be measured, to ensure we get good quality housing which promotes community connectedness.

we need more homes imageThe Hastings situation

Since 2015 Hastings’ population has grown rapidly, pushing up demand for housing, which means we need more homes.

To cater for our people already here and those making the move to our district we need to make more housing options available. Doing what we can to broaden housing choice, including encouraging the building of new smaller homes on smaller sections, will help keep Hastings an affordable market to both buy and rent in.

What we’ve done up till now

This is not new focus for council – for 10-plus years we have focused on protecting our growing lands, while allowing for development in the future. It is one of the core goals in the Heretaunga Plains Urban Development Strategy and the Medium Density Housing Strategy.

  • 2010: HPUDs adopted to protect growing soils from development.
  • 2015: A District Plan review in 2015 rezoned preferred areas in the central city for medium density development.
  • 2017: HPUDs reviewed and updated.
  • 2019: Proposed District Plan Variation 5 allowed inner city apartment living in the retail zone (first floor).
  • 2021: Hastings Residential Intensification Design Guide adopted to assist property developers, builders and architects to construct well-designed, sustainable housing
  • On-going: Infrastructure assessment and planning to ensure medium density housing occurs where infrastructure can cope with more homes.
  • 2022: Preparing Plan Change that will allow more housing intensification, in line with Government directives.

District Plan Change 2 housesAbout this change

District Plan Change 5 will make it easier to build more houses in our residential areas, for example terraced homes, low-rise apartments, three-storey homes.

Consent applications that meet the proposed intensification rules will proceed without notification.

As well as meeting the Government’s directive, we will be providing homes without impacting on the Heretaunga Plains, and homing our people near where shops, parks and community facilities are sited.

Through this change we will ensure that the design and quality of homes is high, by measuring consent applications against the ‘design rules’ in the Hastings Residential Intensification Design Guide.

Our vision for Hastings

Our vision image

Our vision is to have well-designed, sustainable housing developments that build a sense of community, use land efficiently and protect our productive land for future generations.
We want to encourage housing providers to marry good design with a variety of housing types to create high quality, high amenity living options at a range of price points for our community.

What it means for you

There will be changes to the rules around how property can be developed – with a goal of making medium density development easier in identified areas (City Living Zone and sites identified in the District Plan for comprehensive residential development) and in the General Residential Zones of Hastings, Havelock North and Flaxmere.

During formal public consultation (expected to be held in October/November) we will be contacting those directly impacted (living in the affected zones). In the meantime, if you have questions or want to provide input, you can email policyteam@hdc.govt.nz

What area?

Our district is broken down into zones – this helps us identify the nature of the area and what activities may be appropriate there – i.e. industrial activity or residential housing. On this map we are showing only the general residential zones (yellow) and proposed medium density zones (outlined in red).

In 2015, the areas outlined in red were incorporated into the District Plan as appropriate zones for medium density housing (or comprehensive residential development). With Resource Consent, you can already build medium density-style housing in both of the red and yellow areas, as long as you meet certain rules and the location is close to shops, public parks, and community facilities.

With this Plan Change, we are proposing to change these rules to make it easier to build more houses in both the yellow and red areas. While most developments would still require Resource Consent, those that comply with the new rules would not be notified and neighbours would not have a say in how the site could be developed.

Plan change mapThe plan change process

We’re currently drafting the plan change. We’re aiming to notify these changes for public feedback in early November this year. In the meantime, we are letting you know that the plan change is being prepared and we welcome your input and questions during this period.  Once the plan change is publicly notified, submissions on the proposed changes will be able to be made.

Plan change timeline 2.FAQs

Building more houses on land already zoned residential is called residential intensification. 

The Council adopted the Hastings Residential Intensification Design Guide in 2020. The design guide helps property owners and developers understand what is meant by residential intensification and how houses can be built to get the best outcomes. You will see terms like supplementary residential buildings, infill development and comprehensive residential development mentioned in the design guide – these are all ways of achieving residential intensification in an area.

Medium density housing is another term for residential intensification and refers to housing on smaller sites, usually resulting in sections of between 150m2 and 350m2. Housing types that might be considered medium density include townhouses, duplexes (two houses attached), terrace housing (three or more attached houses), and low-rise apartments – apartment buildings that are two or three storeys high.

This housing won’t all look the same. It could be one or two bedroom homes, maybe two and three-storey buildings, low-rise apartments, or terraced housing.

The picture below is an example of some two and three storey terraced housing. More images and alternative housing options can be found in our design guide.

Residential housing illustration

12 metres is the maximum height a building can be to comply with the District Plan.

There are three reasons:

  • To increase the supply of housing – so more houses can be built in existing residential neighbourhoods. Everyone should have access to housing. It is essential and underpins our hauora (wellbeing).
  • To comply with Government’s directive to increase residential intensification.
  • To protect our valuable fertile soils.

Although the Government directive means Council must plan to increase residential density, there are still matters on which you can provide feedback and make a formal submission on. They . They include: some of the areas to be intensified, the design and build rules that will mean we get the best outcomes out of the change.

Yes all Councils considered tier 1 or tier 2 under the NPS-UD are required to make changes to their District Plans. 

Tier 1 Councils include: Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Tauranga.

Tier 2 Councils include: Rotorua, Queenstown Lakes, Palmerston North, Napier, Hastings, Nelson, Tasman, Whangārei, New Plymouth and Dunedin.

You can read more about the change here.

To enable residential intensification Council needs to change the Operative District Plan.  The Hastings Operative District Plan is the rule book for development and activities in the Hastings District.

It really depends on the size of the residential section and the size and type of homes proposed by the developer. As a guide, on a 1000m2 section you could fit around five two-storey attached houses – two duplexes and three attached terrace houses. If you were to build low-rise apartments (up to three storeys high) in one building then you may be able to get more houses on a 1000m2 site.

It can happen in the proposed new Medium Density Residential Zone in Hastings and Havelock North. It can also happen in Hastings, Havelock North and Flaxmere General Residential Zones on sites located close to public parks, commercial centres and public transport routes. 

Creating quality living environments that enrich our wellbeing is important. The Hastings Residential Intensification Design Guide is a key tool in promoting quality housing developments.

Wellbeing wheel

The guide includes residential design principles and key design elements that assist in ensuring good design outcomes are achieved. These design principles are based on hauora (wellbeing) and what is important for people living in or next to medium density housing developments.

Yes Council will be investigating additional areas that might be suitable for medium and high density housing. These areas would need to be located close to public transport links, commercial centres, public parks, places of work and schools.

Potentially. As further areas are identified for medium density housing, Council will consult with the Ministry of Education and Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand (formerly the District Health Board) to consider the appropriate needs for the specific area.

As part of identifying these additional areas we would also speak to Council’s community facilities team, community services providers and the community in general, to ascertain what is needed in specific locations.

More housing does place more demands on Hastings’ infrastructure.  Some of our pipes have been underground for more than 100 years, so we need to make sure we are taking into account how these changes could impact our current systems. As part of our business as usual, we try to forecast renewals and upgrades of our existing infrastructure services to maintain and improve our infrastructure for the existing community, as well as providing additional capacity to meet the demands of a growing and thriving city.

More housing means more people needing access to drinking water, wastewater and storm water networks, as well as roads. We know that there are current capacity issues in some areas, so that is why every development will need to gain a certificate from Council’s infrastructure asset management team to ensure the proposed development can be serviced for water supply, wastewater and storm water.

It means that before you start designing your development, check in with Council’s infrastructure asset management and growth team to see whether there are any infrastructure constraints on your site and/or whether there is existing capacity available to service additional housing on your site. You will need to lodge your certificate as part of your resource consent application. We will be preparing a fact sheet on how to gain an infrastructure certificate for your proposed development prior to publicly notifying the plan change.

The Government has required councils to remove all car parking requirements from District Plans. This means developers do not need to provide car parking for houses within the section/property. However, in reality many still do provide car parks as cars are still the primary mode of transport and off-street parking is desired by house buyers. The changes proposed to the District Plan encourage combining vehicle access so that on-street parking is not reduced. This is a matter that is considered when development proposals are submitted to Council for approval.

No, not in the Medium Density Residential Zone if their proposal complies with the new rules in the District Plan.

You can contact our Policy team on policyteam@hdc.govt.nz – they’re collecting feedback while they draft the plan change.

You can also formally provide feedback by making a submission when the plan change is publicly notified, this will be in November.

Plan Change 5 road show

We’re hitting the road to talk all things Plan Change 5.

What’s happening?

Hastings District Council’s policy team will be out and about in our Connecting Communities caravan to share more about Plan Change 5.

Why are you doing a road show? 

The change impacts everyone in our central city and residential areas. To help people understand the change our team will be setting up in different spots across the city and is encouraging residents to come by to learn more. Find the sessions below.

Road show locations

You can drop by any of the below sessions to find out more about Plan Change 5 and what it means for you. Look out for the caravan!

Wednesday 12 October, 10am-2pm
Cornwall Park, Tōmoana Rd (by duck pond)

Thursday 13 October, 10am-2pm
Te Mata Rd, Havelock North (outside St Lukes Church)

Friday 14 October, 10am-2pm
Henderson Rd, Flaxmere (across from Flaxmere College)

Saturday 15 October, 10am-2pm
Hastings City Mall (near the clock tower)

Can’t make any of the sessions but want to chat with someone from the team? Email policyteam@hdc.govt.nz

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