Waikato District Council is making changes to our District Plan, which sets the rules for land use, development and subdivision in the Waikato district. These changes are called ‘Variation 3 ‘.
What do the changes mean?
For some residential areas, a resource consent will no longer be required to build up to three homes, up to 11 metres high (three storeys, depending on building design). These new rules are called Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS).
However, in some parts of our district, the amount of increased housing allowed will be less than the MDRS or may be exempt; these are known as Qualifying Matters. This could be because of their significant heritage or character value, or because of specific hazards they are susceptible to, such as flooding.
To speed up the opportunity to enable more housing, a new planning process called the Intensification Streamlined Planning Process (ISPP) has been introduced by the government. The rules relating to MDRS will have immediate legal effect once the Council notifies the Variation.
If you choose to submit on the Variation, you will have an opportunity to present at a hearings. Hearings will likely take place next year and will be heard by an independent Hearings Panel. The panel will provide Council with recommendations Appeals to the decision can only be made on points of law. These appeals will be held at the High Court.
Why are you making these changes?
The Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act passed into law in December 2021.
This Act amends the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) by bringing forward and strengthening the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD). This will help to increase housing supply in our urban areas where it is needed the most.
How does Variation 3 relate to the appeals that have been received on the decisions to the Proposed District Plan?
The decisions on the Proposed Waikato District Plan included areas zoned for Medium Density Residential Housing. The proposed Variation will mean that there will be additional areas zoned for Medium Density Residential Housing in some of the main urban towns of the Waikato district. In those areas, people will be able to build up to three houses, up to 11m in height, and if they meet the other rules in the plan, can do so without needing a resource consent. However, Waikato District Council propose adding a requirement for people to check the water supply and sewer network capacity with us prior to planning a new development, and to ensure that houses are not located in high-risk hazard areas unless the risk has been considered through a resource consent process.
Submission forms and planning documents will be available from 19 August.