Why do we need more houses?
We need more houses because our population is predicted to grow over the next 30 years meaning that we are likely to need over 9600 new homes by 2047.
There is already a shortage of houses and this has contributed to the decline in housing affordability in Lower Hutt and the Wellington region. The district plan needs to play a role in ensuring there is enough development capacity to meet housing demands in the short, medium and long term.
Will I have to have high-rise buildings next door to me? Are six storey buildings going to be allowed?
As part of the district plan review, council will be considering which types of buildings to enable in different parts of the district. In some cases, this will include allowing buildings in residential areas that are taller than the current buildings.
This is partly to ensure that there are enough development opportunities to meet the housing demands of the community now and in the future, and to address housing supply and affordability issues.
In addition, the National Policy Statement on Urban Development, which came into force in 2020, requires councils to allow buildings of up to at least six storeys within a walkable catchment of existing and planned rapid transit stops (such as the district’s train stations), the edge of city centres (which includes the Lower Hutt commercial centre) and the edge of metropolitan centres (Council is still looking at whether any of Lower Hutt’s commercial centres should be classed as a metropolitan centre).
The district plan must do what national and regional policy statements say. Through the district plan review, council will be considering the most appropriate way to meet these requirements from the National Policy Statement, including how best to enable six storey buildings while still managing effects on the surrounding area.
Where will new houses be built?
The district plan will identify residential areas and set objectives, policies and rules that manage the types, scale and design of housing within those areas. This includes traditional standalone houses, semi-detached houses, multi-unit/terrace/townhouses and low-rise and mid-rise apartments. However, the exact location of where new houses are built will depend on the opportunities that are taken up by property owners and developers.
Why are you allowing intensification before the infrastructure is upgraded?
Council is working with infrastructure providers to ensure that new development, including intensification, is properly supported by infrastructure.
The current district plan includes provisions to ensure some types of new development, including intensification, consider their effects on existing infrastructure and/or that the developers contribute to new or upgraded infrastructure.
As part of the district plan review, we are interested in hearing the views of the community and infrastructure providers on how development should take account of possible infrastructure constraints.
Will you be building on farmland?
As part of the district plan review, council will be reviewing the types of land use and development that should be made possible in the district’s rural areas. This could result in the district plan allowing further development in these areas. However, this will need to take into account the views of the rural community and other stakeholders. There are other matters that council will need to consider. One is whether different types of land use and development could feasibly be supported by infrastructure. Another is the potential impacts on the character of the rural area.
What other uses and activities will be allowed in residential zones?
There are currently a range of non-residential activities that are allowed in residential zones at a small scale. These include:
- home businesses
- care facilities, boarding houses, hostels and visitor accommodation
- childcare facilities
- health care facilities
- community facilities
- small-scale retail, e.g. dairies.
Through the district plan review, we are interested in looking at what types of non-residential activities should be allowed in residential zones, as well as the scale of the non-residential activities.