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Lower Hutt moving towards medium density (3-storey) housing in nine centres

Press Release – Hutt City Council
Hutt City Council voted tonight to approve public notification of a proposed District Plan change that could allow for a wider range of housing types and medium density housing in the city.

Several amendments were made including the decision not to introduce a medium residential zone at the CBD Edge. The CBD Edge will now be considered as part of the CBD Spatial Plan. Work on the spatial plan starts later in the year.

With the CBD Edge removed, the proposed plan change would include allowing medium density residential and commercial development in nine carefully selected centres with good access to transport, shopping, parks and schools.

The proposed centres under the amendment are: Stokes Valley, Taita, Naenae, Avalon/Park Ave, Epuni, Waterloo, Alicetown, Waiwhetu/Woburn and Wainuiomata.

In these centres, two new zones are proposed. Suburban Mixed Use would allow buildings of up to three storeys with retail and cafes on the ground floor and offices or apartments above. The second new zone, Medium Density Residential, would be located adjacent to Suburban Mixed Use and allow residential buildings of up to three storeys, while restricting building height on the side and rear boundaries. This compares to the current two-storey permitted height limit.

More intensive developments requiring resource consent would need to adhere to a design guide and undertake onsite storm water management.

Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace says the amendment is an important step in moving the proposed district plan change through to the consultation stage, where people will have the opportunity to make submissions. The consultation period will be extended to four months.

“Tonight’s decision was a careful balance between existing residents’ concerns and the future health of the city,” he says. “The Medium Density Design Guide is very comprehensive and goes a long way to address issues of shade, privacy and the quality of builds.

“The reality is we don’t have enough greenfield land for residential development. Our population is starting to grow and this is projected to continue. Last financial year our average house prices jumped more than 23 per cent.”

“If we are to revitalise this city and provide for a variety of more affordable housing types for young families, if we want to attract and retain skilled workers, then we have to take a thoughtful and planned approach to housing.”

Tonight’s full Council meeting heard public comment from residents concerned with potential effects on their properties ranging from shade cast by new developments through to possible falls in their property values. Two speakers in their 20s said the proposed plan change offers the chance of buying their first homes and could provide more sustainable and stimulating communities.

The proposed plan change would also provide for greater intensification on sites larger than 1400m2 in the General Residential zone. It would also enable traditional infill, allowing for two dwellings per site and minor dwellings like tiny houses and granny flats.

Proposed District Plan Change 43 will be publicly notified and the submission period will be extended to four months. A schedule of information days providing information and giving the public the opportunity to ask questions will be published when the plan change is notified.

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