What is the District Plan?
The District Plan is the main document for managing the development of Lower Hutt and the way land is used. It is effectively a book of rules and policies that guides the development of the city, and controls the scale, form and intensity of subdivisions and development in urban and rural areas. It influences how our city will look, feel and operate in the decades ahead.
It regulates what we can and can’t do on our properties, what our neighbours can do on their land and whether a business can set up next door. It protects the city’s historic and cultural heritage, as well as indigenous animal and plant habitats.
The District Plan ensures well-planned and organised growth, giving the community, property owners and businesses a level of certainty about what they can and can’t do and where.
How does the District Plan affect me?
The District Plan affects every person living in Lower Hutt and every business and organisation.
If you own land, the District Plan controls what you can do on your land and what your neighbours can do. For example, it sets the parameters for what you can build, how high and certain aspects of its design. It affects the environment you live in and how your city looks, feels and operates.
The review will help decide things that affect you like:
- Housing supply and housing affordability
- What kind of building can be built next to your house
- Whether you can subdivide your land, and how close you can build to your boundary
- What the right housing density is for specific areas of the city
- How to protect valuable aspects of the city, such as indigenous animal and plant habitats, cultural and historic heritage and significant landscapes and coastlines
- How to minimise the impacts of climate change, flooding and earthquakes
- How much noise a factory or other workplaces can make.
Why is the District Plan being reviewed?
The District Plan became operative in 2003. The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) requires Councils to review their district plans every 10 years. Council has been doing a rolling review of the current District Plan, where each chapter is progressively reviewed. We still need to review around 50% of its chapters.
Lower Hutt has changed a lot since the original District Plan became operative. Analysis suggests we will need to make space for up to another 9600 households in the city between 2017 and 2047. We also need to plan for challenges like climate change and use more recent data to better prepare for flooding and earthquakes.
The plan also needs to be updated to incorporate the latest policy changes Central Government and Greater Wellington Regional Council have issued to address important issues covered by the District Plan.
How long will it take to review the District Plan?
We are now in the initial stages of the review. Reviewing the District Plan is a complex and rigorous process. Our planners expect the review to take up to four years before the new District Plan becomes operative. See the timeline.
Does Lower Hutt have complete control over developing the new District Plan?
No. Central Government and Greater Wellington Regional Council release policies that provide legal direction for key areas in the District Plan, such as urban development and indigenous plant and animal habitat protection. Council is legally required to adhere to these policies.
What happens next and how do I have my say?
Council’s District Plan team is now reviewing and evaluating the current District Plan, and examining issues and options that need to be considered when formulating a draft plan for public consultation.
Over the coming months, we will provide you with more information on the review. There will be opportunities for formal submissions during the review, but in the next few months, we will also be asking you about what you want for Lower Hutt and what’s important to you about the city.
Council is taking a partnership approach with mana whenua throughout the review to ensure their views and aspirations are fully considered. Engagement with stakeholders who have specific interests in the review will occur over the next few months.