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Hutt Council taking “new look” at housing, to encourage new development

Press Release – Hutt City Council
Lower Hutt’s rejuvenation projects are underway, the city’s population is growing and new businesses are opening so the Hutt City Council is taking a fresh look at housing.

Lower Hutt does not have enough land for new greenfield developments for new housing to sustain this growth or even satisfy demand from existing residents. So the Council is proposing a number of changes to housing in existing urban areas, outlined in a survey launched this week.

Council has been working for several years to create new housing development opportunities to cope with growth, including opening up land in Wainuiomata and Fairfield and offering development incentives for the last five years. The result has been a sharp rise in residential building consents since 2014, but this alone is insufficient.

Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace says the vision of revitalising and growing the city is heavily dependent on having sufficient housing and housing choices that suit people’s needs.

“It’s also crucial that we are able to provide a mix of housing types and critical if we want to avoid the looming spectre of unaffordable housing.”

In addition, Central Government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development means Council must provide opportunities for housing and business growth.

Council is exploring changes to the District Plan that would allow a wider range of housing, including apartments and terraced houses, in ten specific targeted areas of Lower Hutt that have good access to transport, shopping, parks and schools. They are in: Stokes Valley, Taita, Naenae, Avalon, Epuni, Waterloo, the CBD Edge, Alicetown, Waiwhetu/Woburn and Wainuiomata.

The proposals include two new zones:

• Suburban Mixed Use zone would replace much of the existing Suburban Commercial zone and allow for buildings of up to three storeys, compared with Suburban Commercial’s two-storey limit. Buildings would accommodate shops and cafes on the ground floor, with the second and third storeys being residential or offices

• The second zone, Medium Density Residential, would be located next to the proposed Suburban Mixed Use zone and allow for residential buildings of up to three storeys.

The proposals also take a fresh look at traditional infill development in the General Residential zone, including enabling more intensification on large sites and opportunities for tiny houses.

To ensure high-quality developments, all developments requiring resource consent would have to follow a design guide.

The thought of change can cause anxiety for some people, which is natural, says Mayor Wallace. “But if changes to our residential neighbourhoods are made thoughtfully and carefully, then housing growth is a positive thing. And this is exactly what we have in mind.”

The survey runs until 5 June. Take part at: huttcity.govt.nz/residential-survey

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