Energy, infrastructure and transport
The review will look at how the district plan should address issues around energy, infrastructure and transport.
The district plan is required to look at the efficient use of energy and the benefits of renewable energy generation. Zoning that supports a compact urban form, including denser residential development near train stations and suburban commercial centres, reduces energy use and makes better use of existing infrastructure and transport services.
Action around energy efficiency is needed in order to support government and council’s zero carbon 2050 target. The review will also look at energy-efficient design and making provision for renewable energy generation.
Development that is enabled by the district plan will need to be able to be supported by infrastructure, including three waters infrastructure (freshwater, wastewater and stormwater) and the transport networks. The review will look at how the district plan should enable the construction, upgrade, maintenance and operation of infrastructure, while managing the potential effects of infrastructure on the environment.
The review will consider how it should provide for the transport network and a range of transport types, including public and active transport (walking and cycling). This will include how the district plan should manage things, such as site access and driveways, car and cycle parking areas and areas for loading and manoeuvring trucks at commercial and industrial sites.
Subdivision is the division of plots of land to create new smaller sections. In Lower Hutt, this has been one of the most important ways of enabling new residential development. The district plan controls subdivision to allow future development while managing the potential effects on the environment. The effects on heritage, natural environment, infrastructure and water are all important considerations when considering proposals for subdivision.
The district plan can also require developers doing subdivisions to make a financial contribution to some public services provided by council, such as acquiring and improving roads, parks and reserves.
Earthworks are an essential part of new development, such as the creation of new building platforms, construction of new roads and access, and trenching for new services. The district plan controls earthworks in order to control effects on the natural environment, landscape, water quality, drainage, land stability and the risk of slips and flooding amongst other things.
Hazardous substances and Contaminated land
Hazardous substances include substances such as industrial, agricultural, horticultural and household chemicals, medical wastes, petroleum products including LPG and lubricating oils, explosives and radioactive substances. A wide range of activities involve hazardous substances, from businesses that rely on industrial chemicals through to weed control in recreation areas. Given the potential risk to the health and safety of people and the environment, hazardous substances are managed to ensure they are located, stored and used in a safe and secure manner.
Contaminated land is land that has a hazardous substance either in or it that could impact the environment. As well as endangering health, contamination can limit the use of land or cause corrosion that may threaten buildings and property. It is important that sites in the city identified as being potentially contaminated are investigated further so people are not exposed to contaminants that may affect their health.
Light spill and glare
Lighting in our urban and rural areas is vital for things like road safety and personal security. Light spill however can also have negative effects, such as interfering with residents’ ability to sleep, reducing the quality of the view of the night sky or disturbing wildlife. The provisions for light spill in the district plan are overdue for review, and need to tackle the balance between enabling night time activity, protecting residents’ comfort and impacts on the city’s natural environment.
Unwanted noise and vibration can be a cause of significant disruption to residents. In 2019-20 the council spent over $100,000 dealing with noise complaints. The majority of complaints are generated by other residential activities or temporary events such as construction or concerts. The National Planning Standards have set specific guidelines for noise and vibration, prompting the council to undertake a survey of noise in the district to form a baseline for future management.
Signs have a wide range of important functions ranging from safety and security to enhancing our commercial and social activities. The district plan’s provisions for signs need to balance this with how signs affect the appearance of our city, and making sure signs do not interfere with the safety of our roads.
Temporary activities and filming
Temporary activities include things like concerts, festivals, parades, sports events, ceremonies, markets, and exhibitions. Location filming for movies and TV or other purposes can also be temporary events. Activities like these can be disruptive in terms of traffic and noise, but they can also make our city a more lively and diverse place, and bring in more customers for our city’s businesses. Provisions deal with the length and size of events, limits for noise, the amount of traffic and when to require resource consents for larger or more complex events.
In addition to its concern for the natural environment, the district plan aims to maintain and protect specific notable trees for their heritage or cultural value, and for the character and enjoyment they bring to certain areas. Notable trees can be found on both public land and on private property. Individual trees are listed in the district plan and this means that trimming, removal or land use close to the tree requires resource consent
Activities on the surface of water
Lower Hutt has several rivers (Hutt/Te Awa Kairangi, Wainuiomata, Orongorongo), streams and the two Parangarahu Lakes within its land area. They provide a resource for recreation, natural open space, amenity, and commercial activities. The district plan controls and manages the effects of these activities on our river environments.
Open space and recreation zones
Lower Hutt has large areas of open space within in its boundaries, with over half of the district’s land area being in city or regional parks and reserves or Department of Conservation land. These areas include a forest park, regional parks, natural open spaces, walking and cycle trails, sports grounds and facilities, play areas, and civic spaces. Most of the open spaces are publicly owned but there are some in private ownership such as sports clubs.
Council manages its open spaces mostly outside the district plan, with operations and funding covered in the Long Term Plan. However, the district plan review will assess the open spaces and consider what sort of activities should take place within them and the type and scale of facilities allowed.
The rural area makes up nearly 70% of the district’s total land area, although much of this is in the Remutaka Forest Park and regional parks. As most of the land is classified as having low productively, due to soil, topographical and climate characteristics, the primary land uses are lifestyle farming, grazing, forestry, quarrying and conservation.
The rural area contributes significantly to the amenity of the district. Historically there has been limited pressure for development within the rural area although increasingly there is demand for land and development at the urban edges for urban expansion and lifestyle blocks. This will need to be addressed by the district plan review, along with managing the interactions between different activities (reverse sensitivity).
A key focus will be how to sustain the productive use of land and support rural communities while also ensuring that the soil, water, ecosystems and other resources are protected for the future generations.
Tertiary education zone
Lower Hutt has three main tertiary education facilities:
- Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec)
- The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
- Te Wananga o Aotearoa
Through the district plan review, council will be reviewing how the District Plan should enable the ongoing operation and development at these facilities while managing any adverse effects on surrounding communities and the environment. This will include a review of the range of activities that should be enabled and the size, location and design of new buildings
There are three large scale healthcare facilities on adjoining sites in Boulcott:
- Hutt Hospital,
- Boulcott Hospital and
- The Hutt Valley Health Hub.
Through the district plan review, council will be reviewing how the district plan should enable the ongoing operation and development at these facilities while managing any adverse effects on surrounding communities and the environment. This will include a review of the range of activities that should be enabled and the size, location and design of new buildings.
You can contact the district plan team at: email@example.com