Hutt City Council votes to accept independent recommendations on housing intensification

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Published: 30 August 2023

Hutt City Council has today voted unanimously for government-mandated changes to allow higher and denser housing, particularly around transport hubs.

Following a public hearing in April, an independent panel delivered recommended decisions to Hutt City Council for Plan Change 56: Enabling Intensification in Residential and Commercial Areas.

Council may limit the Government’s Medium Density Residential Standards and the National Policy Statement on Urban Development only in specific circumstances such as identified areas with natural hazards, heritage areas, or sites of significance to Māori.

While the significant parts of the plan change are mandated by the legislation, there are some factors that the public can influence, and it was submissions on these that the panel considered.

Mayor Campbell Barry thanked the members of the community who gave their time to be involved in this process by making a submission and attending the hearing.

"This was a thorough process and members of our community did an excellent job with their submissions to the independent panel.

"While council does not agree entirely with the approach of central government in how to enable intensification, we have fulfilled our obligations.

"We accepted all the recommendations of the independent panel and will now continue our work with a full District Plan review."

Councillors agreed with the Independent Panel’s recommendation to not proceed with six new residential heritage areas which were proposed by a Council-appointed independent heritage expert. The Panel accepted Council’s overall approach to heritage protection but raised concerns with how the proposed heritage areas were assessed for heritage values.

Head of Planning Tim Johnstone said, "The plan change has been tested through a robust process with a range of submissions for and against the proposed changes."

Tim Johnstone said Hutt City Council had embraced the intent of the National Policy Statement to enable more housing and business development, as the Lower Hutt population is expected to grow by another 40,000 people by 2050.

Key changes recommended for Plan Change 56

  • Reductions in the size of the High Density and Medium Density Residential Activity Areas in parts of Harbour View, Korokoro, Manor Park, Normandale, and Tirohanga
  • Increases in the size of the High Density Residential Activity Area in parts of Moera and Naenae
  • In Eastbourne, Stokes Valley, and Wainuiomata change from High Density Residential to Medium Density Residential but simultaneously apply a higher height limit of 18m (approx. five storeys) and over a wider area
  • Increase the height limit from 22m to 36m (approximately ten storeys) immediately adjacent to the city centre
  • Not proceeding with the proposed new residential heritage areas of Hardham Crescent, Hutt Road Railway, Moera Railway, Petone Foreshore, Petone State Flats, and Wainuiomata Terracrete Homes
  • A slight expansion of the Jackson Street Heritage Area to include 352, 358, and 362-364 Jackson Street
  • A lower height limit on regional council-owned land near Korokoro urupā, from 22m to 12m (six storeys to three)
  • A selectively more generous recession plane--- in the High Density Residential Activity Area for developments that provide a significant number of new homes, to encourage buildings to be located closer to the street
  • A simplified resource consent pathway to encourage more small-scale commercial activities in High Density Residential areas at the ground floor of apartment buildings

Plan Change 56, including the panel’s recommendations, will become operative on 21 September.

The Government requires this change to the District Plan to run on a streamlined process under the Resource Management Act, and there is no process for appeal by Council or any other group or individual.


Council’s High Density Residential zone proposed:

  • Buildings up to six storeys, subject to planning permission, within 1200m from the edge of the Lower Hutt CBD.
  • Buildings up to six storeys, subject to planning permission, 800m from the Petone commercial centre and all train stations
  • Buildings up to six storeys, subject to planning permission, in areas around Avalon and Moera commercial centres
  • Buildings up to four storeys, subject to planning permission, in areas around the commercial shopping centres in Stokes Valley, Wainuiomata and Eastbourne.

Council’s Medium Density Residential Activity Area zone proposed to cover all other areas that are currently in the General Residential Activity Area zone and Medium Density Residential Activity Area zone. These are predominantly in the Eastern Bays, Stokes Valley and Wainuiomata, but also include some areas on the valley floor. All Medium Density Residential Standards/rules would apply in this area, including 11 metres maximum building height (3 storeys). If the rules are followed, then no Council planning permission (resource consent) would be necessary.

For the most part, areas that are currently within the Hill Residential Activity Area zone and the Landscape Protection Activity Area zone won’t be affected by proposed changes to the district plan. The only exception is for areas in Western Hill suburbs that are in a walkable distance of the city centre or train stations (1200 metres and 800 metres, respectively). This includes some areas in Korokoro, Maungaraki, Normandale, Harbour View and Tirohanga.

A recession plan is an angle taken from a boundary between properties to determine whether a proposed building will shade a neighbouring property more than is permitted.