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Draft District Plan will be seeking opinions from residents

News from Wellington City Council
Wellington’s Draft District Plan – the capital city’s first completely revised planning and environmental rulebook in more than 20 years – is now online and will be considered by the City Council’s Pūroro Āmua Planning and Environment Committee on 20 October for agreement to send it for community input, starting in November.

The Draft District Plan can be viewed here.

Twelve storeys in Te Aro.

Next week’s committee agenda, including the draft District Plan, can be viewed here.

Mayor Foster says: “This is an opportunity for all Wellingtonians to get involved in shaping the future of our great city.

“I know there will be as many views as we have residents, and I encourage everyone to participate respecting and seeking to understand the diversity of viewpoints that will undoubtedly be expressed.

“This District Plan represents a major change in aiming to deal with the major planning issues facing our city – housing affordability, population growth, transport, environmental protection, climate change and natural hazards. While there have been many changes to the existing District Plan, this will lead to the first complete replacement of the Plan since 2000.”

If Mayor Foster and Councillors approve the draft Plan, Wellingtonians will be asked to give feedback in a consultation period running from 2 November-14 December.

Pūroro Āmua Planning and Environment Committee Chair Iona Pannett says the Plan provides a tremendous opportunity to build on the successes of the past and to build for the future.

“Wellingtonians have been clear that they want a great environment and affordable and warm housing,” says Cr Pannett.

Pūroro Āmua Planning and Environment Committee Deputy Chair Tamatha Paul says the Council has worked alongside mana whenua to create a Plan which aims to embed Te Tiriti, giving greater weight to partnership and the aspirations of local iwi.

“Housing affordability is another important aim of the proposed Plan. “We all know that we have a housing crisis and a climate crisis – many people despair about never finding secure housing and we must change that. The draft Plan proposes ways to change that.”

Cr Pannett gives the example of the Plan’s proposed provisions to either incentivise or require assisted (affordable) housing to be included in new residential developments. Cr Pannett says: “This is a big policy shift. Only Queenstown Lakes District Council, where housing supply and affordability is also a huge problem, is doing something similar via a District Plan change.

Cr Paul says the plan proposes working with developers to provide affordable housing, include requirements that a certain proportion of units or houses in any development be affordable, or options for developers to contribute to the funding of affordable housing built by third parties.

The Draft District Plan isn’t just about providing for more housing – it also:

  • Provides opportunities for business and employment growth across the city
  • Sets out requirements for the critical transport and infrastructure required to service growth areas
  • Introduces rules to protect important natural environment and cultural values (e.g. significant natural areas, sites and areas of significance to Māori, and historic heritage values),
  • Responds to climate change and sea level rise and provides a new framework to better manage natural hazard risks (eg earthquakes, flooding).

If approved, the Draft District Plan consultation will run alongside consultation on the city’s Cycling Network and Let’s Get Wellington Moving’s routes and modes for mass rapid transit

“We’ll be doing a joined-up consultation and will be visiting communities and seeking feedback starting in November,” says Cr Pannett “We really encourage people to have their say.”

The review of the District Plan is the last stage of the Planning for Growth project that has been in progress since 2017. The Draft Plan is non-statutory and the Council will be seeking feedback from the community ahead of the notification of a statutory Proposed District Plan in mid-2022.

Mayor Foster says the District Plan will put into effect the Spatial Plan developed over the past three years. “This version of the District Plan is the opportunity for us as a community to consider and test the objectives, policies and rules of the Plan so we can make any changes before we notify the District Plan proper in May-June next year when it will start to have statutory effect on land use and development.”

Submissions on the notified District Plan will be part of the statutory process under the Resource Management Act.

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50 comments:

  1. Wellington Commuter, 13. October 2021, 19:10

    The Supporting Map yet again is difficult to understand as they’ve not included housing types in the map. Best switch on “Height Control Areas” under “Specific Controls” (21m = 6 Storeys).

     
  2. Claire, 13. October 2021, 22:45

    The 15 minute walkable catchment needs some explaining. Where is it from exactly?
    It’s at least 35 minutes to walk from the intersection of Owen and Constable Street in Newtown to the Cbd.

     
  3. Sam Somers, 14. October 2021, 9:26

    Newtown is a separate in for work, out to home Suburb, because of its biggest employer, the hospital. But many city planners and some members of the public don’t see or think that between 5000 and 7500 people enter and exit Newtown for work every day. [from Facebook]

     
  4. Kara Lipski, 14. October 2021, 9:34

    For people who are fully ambulant a 15 to 30 minutes walk is no big deal. In my 30s I happily walked Wellington’s hilly streets for hours. However there will be many who cannot tolerate 30 minutes walking or even 15 minutes if it’s down a steep hill. Whoever is doing the planning needs to get out from behind their desk and meet face to face with the various communities in Wellington city.

     
  5. Claire, 14. October 2021, 10:25

    My point is the walkable (to where from where) is being used to put higher buildings all over Wellington.

     
  6. Jim, 14. October 2021, 10:41

    Kara – I don’t see why that should reduce the areas for intensification. There should certainly be allowances in the DDP for accessibility (there are) – but this shouldn’t be a reason to reduce the catchment areas for those who are able bodied.

     
  7. Greenwelly, 14. October 2021, 10:44

    So presumably the Council already knows the routes for the LGWM rapid transit? Because otherwise we are going to have to go back and upzone big chunks of places like Island Bay if it runs down there, (which in this plan doesn’t appear to allow for 6 storeys). Or is there a clause that says as soon as a rapid Transit route is confirmed there is an automatic change despite what was consulted on??

     
  8. Peter Steven, 14. October 2021, 10:53

    Kara, you will still have the autonomy to choose where you live if you wish to be closer than a 15 minute walk to the city.

     
  9. Tamatha Paul, 14. October 2021, 11:21

    Been wading through this District Plan and man, the impact of colonial, individualised legacies on land use & planning is clear. This is what happens when you import a set of rules & assumptions from the UK that don’t fit the cultural context of Aotearoa. We need to dismantle this mindset that weaponises individual preference and subjective amenity against the real needs of the wider community, future generations, or as some say, “imaginary people”. First crack District Plan, and big picture is transformation thru the RMA Reforms. [via twitter]

     
  10. Claire, 14. October 2021, 11:44

    Tamatha: the homeowners of today are not colonists. The housing crisis is a Govt problem and it needs to intervene for affordability. If you want to increase houses, look at the Brownfields that is where the biggest opportunity is. Every concrete tower with its emissions is not a triumph. The whole of Wellington’s communities should help to plan for this. Truly take them with you and don’t create division.

     
  11. Marko, 14. October 2021, 13:45

    Green Welly: There will likely be a plan change once MRT routes are determined. 10 or 15 min catchment of 6 storeys around the new stations. So probably much more upzoning to occur in the South and East.

    Claire: Because everyone wanted lower Adelaide road (Countdown to Basin) to be upzoned so badly, it’s now part of the Centre City zone. A lovely side-effect is that it puts much more of Newtown within the 15 min catchment of the city. Apart from the “character” areas of course.

     
  12. Claire, 14. October 2021, 14:10

    Marko: then I guess that’s a bit made up, as it’s a walk to nowhere – not work or shops anyway. But maybe to visit a friend in one of the hopefully twenty 12-storey buildings on Adelaide road.

     
  13. Jim, 14. October 2021, 14:52

    Claire – walkable catchments are also from suburban centres and transport routes. Interestingly, despite the increase in catchment areas, the 6-storey areas have actually reduced in Newtown/Berhampore from the Draft Spatial Plan, due to the recalculation of the walking speeds. In essence they made people slower.

     
  14. Claire, 14. October 2021, 15:29

    Jim/Marko: I know things look different for Newtown / Berhampore, but the walkable catchment surely has to go into the city not just to the tip of Adelaide Road. Leaves room for dispute.

     
  15. JAB, 14. October 2021, 22:33

    Tamatha: There have been many valid questions about why and how this will all work. I would like to know why the council, even after it admitted it was a very high estimate, continued to promote the figure of 50,000 pop. increase over 30 years. Plus why has the scattershot of 6 stoery buildings (right wing dream territory for developers and landlords) been given preference over community-led solutions? And why is the council not lobbying Victoria University to provide decent accommodation for students, rather than them having to rely on the private market?

     
  16. Kara Lipski, 15. October 2021, 13:23

    Peter Steven. I assume you don’t live in the inner city so why would you assume that anyone else could afford rents for the shoe box size apartments in the inner city. Some of the developments I have seen in the inner city lack green space (even on the roofs), so that residents can’t share a vegetable garden.

     
  17. Peter Steven, 15. October 2021, 15:28

    Kara, I’m not making any assumptions about who can afford what. I’m just saying that the 15 minute walking distance isn’t going to inherently disadvantage people who can’t walk 15 minutes, because they could choose to either live closer to the city center or nearby train station, or they could choose to live somewhere where they could own a car.

    I agree it would be great if more developments had vege gardens and other communal spaces. I feel like it would help a lot with creating communities. The apartment building on Abel Smith Street by the basketball courts seems to have a nice shared garden.

     
  18. Ray Chung, 15. October 2021, 15:36

    I’ve gone through this Draft District Plan and ORCA our Residents Association will be presenting a submission. We’ve started engaging with other Wellington Residents Associations to assess the different opinions and perspectives. We’ve also recruited young renters onto our committee so that they can offer perspectives that many of us haven’t been exposed to.
    Iona and Tamatha: you talk about “affordable housing” – that is something that we all want so I have no issue with that. But it seems to me that there’s a fixation that you’ll be able to achieve these with intensification. I maintain that it won’t. While developers can and will build higher, these apartments don’t get any cheaper so won’t be into the “affordable” category. The only way for house prices to drop is to get a greater quantity, and this will entail building out of the inner-city suburbs in brown field and green field areas.
    Tamatha, I don’t understand why you and others talk about getting away from the colonial legacies and subjective amenity of the real needs of the community? Do you mean that you don’t believe in individual houses and you prefer to live on a huge compound? I lived in a typical house in London jammed up against identical houses on either side and I would only live like that again through necessity, not choice. You talk about the “cultural context of New Zealand” but I don’t understand what you mean. I agree that we need more housing in Wellington. I consider that individual choice is a good thing, to be able to balance where you live depending on what your needs are at the time. It seems to me that the best way of giving people a choice in where they live is to build more houses of varying sizes, in the city, inner and outer suburbs.

     
  19. Claire, 15. October 2021, 15:47

    Kara: the walkable distances are citing Newtown as a Metropolitan area, which it is not. Also a possible light rail stop will be nearby (very doubtful.) So it’s all smoke and mirrors.

     
  20. Claire, 15. October 2021, 16:40

    Ray: please contact the Newtown Residents Association. And learn about the alternative plan for housing in Newtown.

     
  21. Ray Chung, 15. October 2021, 19:44

    Hi Claire, many thanks and I’ve just sent Sam Somers a note about this. I had a two hour chat with him last night and he never mentioned the Newtown alternative plan. Has this been presented to Fleur and Laurie?

     
  22. Claire, 15. October 2021, 20:14

    Ray: yes it was presented at submission time, and also on the voting day 24th of June. Sam knows about it. Talk to Rhona the president.

     
  23. JAB, 15. October 2021, 22:09

    Ray/Claire. Are the Mt Vic, Thorndon and J’ville residents’ associations also included in this get together?

     
  24. Toni, 16. October 2021, 9:37

    Tamatha, I too would like to see the answer to Ray’s question “I don’t understand why you and others talk about getting away from the colonial legacies and subjective amenity of the real needs of the community? Do you mean that you don’t believe in individual houses and you prefer to live on a huge compound?”. While I accept that many things should have been done differently all those years ago, I do not feel the constant use of the word ‘colonisation’ helps pull the community together. We are a very diverse community made up of many cultures, all wanting the same thing. A city we can be proud of. A city where we were able to addressed the problems facing our city together through understanding and collective community collaboration and understanding, and it is up to WCC to do the best they can in ensuring this happens.

     
  25. Claire, 16. October 2021, 9:52

    Jab: for many months there has been a coming together of groups and not just the residents associations. Many many residents feel that the direction is foolish, a harking back to deregulation. There are better ways to promote more housing and quicker.

     
  26. D'Esterre, 16. October 2021, 15:26

    Tamatha Paul: surely you don’t actually believe any of that? Many early settlers came here to get away from the old cities of Europe, with their cheek-by-jowl living arrangements. Multi-storey apartment buildings, tenements and the terrace housing to which Ray Chung refers, combined with lack of sanitation, contributed to the winnowing of populations by epidemic diseases (note what’s happened with coronavirus in the big cities of the world). Hence the detached house with a bit of land around it, where children could play, and gardens could be cultivated. And now you wish to return us to the housing density from which the first settlers escaped, and which – given WCC’s manifest inability to fix our creaking infrastructure – is likely to enable the resurgence of epidemic diseases. The coronavirus, for example.

    We have extended family in central Europe: they’d give their right arms to live as we do here.

    Cities aren’t an invention of the UK, or even of the West, you know. The oldest of them are mostly in the Fertile Crescent area. Living in towns and cities is what humans do, and have done since the rise of agriculture. You have been elected to represent ratepayers in your ward. So represent them and desist from divisive epithets such as colonialism.

     
  27. Ray Chung, 16. October 2021, 21:16

    I was at the Naenae Market Day today and chatted with someone about housing, and the same argument about “colonists” and “colonial legacies” came up. Tamatha, it wasn’t you who I was talking to was it? I asked what she meant by the “colonist legacy” and she pointed to all the houses and buildings around us so I said I’m still confused, did she not like these houses and buildings? But she just said she wants things to be as they were when she was growing up with open fields and places to enjoy the outdoors and play and fish in the rivers. So I asked how the colonists were to blame for these but she had no answer so I’m still none the wiser. I must concede though that I enjoyed my childhood when we lived in Jessie Street in Te Aro where we could play cricket in the street as there was only one car coming through every half hour or so. Maybe the problem is we have too many people in the CBD now, so isn’t the answer to move out to the suburbs and develop more greenfield developments?

     
  28. Ray Chung, 16. October 2021, 21:26

    JAB/Claire; Sam said the Newtown Residents Assn is meeting on Monday to discuss the Draft District Plan and will no doubt be submitting on this and Sam will discuss this with me as I will the ORCA submission. JAB: we believe that it’ll be great to get as many Resident Associations together to see what commonality we have in our ideas for submissions. We spoke with the RA in Miramar and they’re keen to share information too. We’re also going to work with the Oriental Bay RA. I believe that all RAs will have their own issues and concerns but there’s bound to be a lot of commonality and very happy to share what we have and know.

     
  29. TrevorH, 17. October 2021, 8:09

    “Colonisation”? Clearly a major problem facing “Aotearoa” today is the dumbing down of the universities to accommodate people who lack the ability to think for themselves and in a rational manner.

     
  30. Claire, 17. October 2021, 9:50

    Trevor: isn’t that the role of the University to teach people to think for themselves. Colonisation of New Zealand certainly did occur, run from the UK. Land was taken or bought for paltry amounts. And Maori suffered from lands being taken away. But the housing crisis has grown out of the last thirty years and Governments allowing homes to be treated as commodities. And now homeowners are being blamed because they like a small garden and a one or two storey house. It’s the Govt’s job to provide affordable housing and to do it without taking land and wrecking suburbs. The empty lots, carparks and awful seventies buildings are there for that purpose.

     
  31. Jim, 17. October 2021, 11:04

    Ray – greenfield development is not going to come close to meeting our housing needs. The two areas in Glenfield and Grenada/Woodsville are already included in the spatial plan numbers. Outside of this there are not much more areas where we can expand. Some more could go in the Ohariu valley but access is not ideal and numbers of homes would be low.
    The fact is that suburban sprawl is unsustainable. We have limited space and we need to go up. Despite the opposition – people need somewhere to live. Please keep that in mind.

    Brownfields get brought up a lot – you will be all happy that the Draft DP has earmarked the central city/Newtown ones with height increases. In fact – I dont recall seeing many across the city that were excluded from the new development proposals. Some of the larger ones even get a special targeted development plan. Surely that must make some of you happier?

     
  32. Ray Chung, 17. October 2021, 14:14

    Jim: I believe there are huge greenfield sites available such as Upper Stebbings Valley as well as Ohariu Valley. Just go out to Woodridge and look at the potential to expand there. These developments will be far cheaper than building six-storey buildings in the city and will have more open land for building amenities. I was just looking at the Citroen Ami electric car that’s been released in the UK. It’s selling for GBP5,000 there, about NZ$11,000 so that’ll allow very inexpensive commuting.

     
  33. Jim, 17. October 2021, 16:08

    Ray: those areas you mention are already ear-marked for greenfield development and are included in the housing numbers proposed. There is simply not enough land. Electric cars are not going to solve the issue. All this will do is clog up the motorway with private vehicles. Endless sprawl is not the answer.

     
  34. Julienz, 17. October 2021, 18:42

    Jim: Ohariu Valley is not earmarked for greenfield development. But if Johnsonville is to become a metropolitan centre then, beyond the intensification of Johnsonville itself, Ohariu is the closest place to develop. And if we don’t develop land within the bounds of Wellington City we will just encourage commuters from, and development of the prime soils of, Horowhenua and elsewhere. We will not be stopping clogged up motorways and longer journeys will surely mean more emissions.

     
  35. Ray Chung, 17. October 2021, 19:48

    Julienz; yes, there are huge developments in Porirua and Upper Hutt now and it’s inconceivable that residents won’t consider these and commute. There seems to be a lot of greenfield land around Tawa that can also be developed.
    Jim: I can understand your preferring greater intensity but by expanding into these greenfield areas, it gives people a choice as not everyone desires apartment living.

     
  36. Claire, 17. October 2021, 20:13

    Let’s not try and do housing, congestion, and emissions all in one go. It’s stopping the easier options and promoting options that should be last on the list. Are there solutions that take care of all without creating mental health problems and emissions from concrete towers. And cycleways are the least able to reduce emissions. My leaning is towards brownfields for lower buildings with courtyard gardens and some wow design. And direct intervention by Govt on affordability.

     
  37. Jim, 18. October 2021, 9:21

    Julienz – correct, but the other two areas are. The amount of useable land in Ohariu is minimal – without massive excavations and terraforming of the landscape. I’m not saying that the area should be out of bounds – just that those few areas will not solve the issue. Keep that land open for development but also encourage the densification that is being fought against in these comments.
    Ray, you are correct that not everyone wants to live in apartments – similarly not everyone wants to have a house in the burbs. You can’t say give people the choice whilst trying to prevent one of those choices from happening. It’s ironic that you speak against densification of J.Ville as the “trains are too full” but are happy to expand the suburb into the surrounding hills.
    Claire – We shouldn’t just go with the easiest option and ignore the consequences (congestion/emissions). Cycleways are a great way to reduce emissions – especially if they allow easier access between inner-city centres and suburbs. To disregard the need for them is short-sighted. The courtyard model is a good precedent and would work on brownfield sites that are large enough – often comprised of a 5-6 lvl perimeter block, and it works well. There is nothing in the DDP that would stop someone from doing this.

     
  38. Claire, 18. October 2021, 11:31

    Jim: Over most of Wellington, brownfields have not been targeted. The low hanging fruit of the 71% of heritage areas that will have protections removed have. It’s the process and the quality and the appropriateness of density that needs addressing. Inner suburbs people already live in dense suburbs.

     
  39. Nemo, 18. October 2021, 18:02

    Endless submissions from the people who actually live in Wellington seem to have been largely ignored, particularly in Te Aro. I’m fairly shocked and staggered that what the Te Aro area seems to have ended up with is a “height limit” of 42.5m – that’s an overall 60% increase in height over the existing limit. And to be blunt, buildings of that height in the narrow streets of Te Aro will totally fuck the streetscape, the liveability, any chance of sunshine or daylight. [from eyeofthefish]

     
  40. Julienz, 18. October 2021, 18:15

    Nemo, 21 metre buildings on the floor of the valley in Ngaio and Khandallah will do likewise. And the wind tunnels will be atrocious.

     
  41. Jim, 18. October 2021, 18:58

    Claire – find me a brownfield site that has not been included in the new rules. Adelaide Road is now at 42m. Te Aro is now 42m in the vast majority. Hopper Street is 21-27m. Kilbirnie central including the Bus Barn site is 27m (and is a targeted development area under the plan). Thorndon Quay is 21 -35m ….. and so on. A 2000sqm section with a old garage on it is more likely to be developed than a 300sqm section w/ a renovated villa.

    I’m at a loss about where people think height/intensification is appropriate. You wrote an article on the 4 storey apartments on Hanson being too tall – which is within the Adelaide corridor where you also proposed all the height should go? The “heritage” areas are no more targeted then other areas in the city. It’s based on distance to the central city. The most heritage significant areas are still being protected – but not all old buildings are worthy of being labeled heritage.

    The people who pack your groceries, make your coffee, clean up after you, all need somewhere to live. You can’t just pack them off to the far flung suburbs because you don’t want things to change.

     
  42. Kara, 18. October 2021, 19:20

    Lots of really good reasons to not live in Whanganui-a-Tara.

     
  43. Claire, 18. October 2021, 20:01

    Jim I don’t see brownfields rezoned as heritage areas are. Maybe Adelaide Road? Kent and Cambridge? Carparks, old petrol stations, rows of seventies buildings? And the main Newtown retail area. 71% of inner suburbs looked at by Boffa Miskel are not being protected. There are very few run down houses now they have been done up. Hanson Street is a disgrace – large buildings jammed up next to smaller ones. That is what Newtown could end up like. Also all those people who pack my groceries also live in Newtown. It has the highest social housing in Wellington. Ten tower blocks of it.

     
  44. Rebecca Matthews, 18. October 2021, 20:49

    Just a heads up, I am not planning district plan amendments this week. Doesn’t mean I don’t think it needs changes (eg don’t get me started on that daylight rule…) but keen to go through consultation process and hear from all of you first. [via twitter]

     
  45. Jim, 19. October 2021, 8:27

    Claire – Why are the run down houses on Hanson worth protecting? If that’s the catalyst – you’re not going to be happy with new housing anywhere in the city. If those builds on Hanson were not permitted you would loose over 100 + homes – just to stop shading on a poorly maintained ugly old house. Which should really just be another apartment building. Streets and neighbourhoods change as cities grow. It’s not reasonable to keep all streets the same. Some are to be preserved. But we can’t do all of them.

    In regards to Brownfields – all those areas you mention have seen drastic height increases from what was previously allowed – i don’t understand why you think they have been left out.

     
  46. Claire, 19. October 2021, 9:54

    Jim: I think we should agree to differ. There would have been a domino effect on the old houses in Hanson Street – one tall building causing smaller ones to deteriorate. (i.e. untreated wood and lack of sun.) Your view does not take in subtle things like design and set back building placement.
    People like myself are happy to change but it has to be for a better all round situation not slum creation.

     
  47. greenwelly, 19. October 2021, 12:13

    So , was the council aware of this when it published the District Plan:
    “The medium density residential standards (MDRS) will enable landowners to build up to three homes of up to three storeys on most sites up to 50 per cent maximum coverage of the site without the need for a resource consent. Before this change, district plans would typically only allow for one home of up to two storeys,” Parker said.”

     
  48. JAB, 19. October 2021, 12:23

    Ray: With electric cars at such a modest figure, we could afford to just hand out or rent 25,000 such vehicles to a third of the households in Wellington (25000 households)to replace old ICE cars and that would be cheaper than cycleways. It would be a huge greening of the city, would be viable for a far larger group of people to use and coupled with work from home to spread the traffic around would not cause any more traffic jams.

     
  49. Julienz, 19. October 2021, 14:18

    Greenwelly, it would seem the WCC were unaware of the medium density announcement made today, as most of the outer residential area in the Draft District Plan remains zoned for one to two storeys. I hope there will be a rewrite of the DDP and recalculation of expected realised housing before we are expected to respond to more “consultation” from the WCC.

    Jim, you said you were at a loss about where people think height/intensification is appropriate. I think the issue is more what kind of intensification is appropriate. The kind of more gentle densification announced today is what many of us in the outer suburbs have been asking for. I still have major concerns about six storeys along the Johnsonville Line. Development is predicated on the train service being mass rapid transit. The speed, frequency and capacity of the service are not up to the standard I consider to be mass rapid transit and the potential to improve the service is very limited.

     
  50. Jim, 19. October 2021, 14:21

    JAB – and carparks will magically appear from thin air, and people will only travel when they need to, so traffic will no longer be a thing. We could also just do away with footpaths and have electric autonomous wheelchairs take people from their cars to the shop/cafe. Movement is too hard.
    [Comments on this topic are now closed, as we’ve reached the maximum that our system can handle.]

     

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