Proposed housing bill heightens need for a considered approach to growth
Published 1 Nov 2021
Kāpiti Coast District Council’s consultation on its growth approach for the next 30 years is progressing, but new government direction means intensification across many residential areas will occur regardless, says housing portfolio leader Councillor Rob McCann.
"The proposed law is designed to increase housing supply by enabling more medium-density development in tier one councils, which includes Kapiti. It allows landowners to build up to three homes of up to three storeys on most urban sites.
“Kāpiti District Council’s proposed approach to growth, called Te tupu pai – Growing well, has just opened for public feedback. We have been clear in the consultation document that our approach to growth needs to meet government requirements. But our growth approach is also much broader than just the intensification that would be enabled by this government bill,” Mr McCann said.
“Our consultation will help us set a strategic direction so we can plan for infrastructure and other needs to support expected population growth of another 32,000 people and 14,000 homes by 2050.
“The government bill signals that medium density development is now deemed normal and cannot be prevented by objections from neighbours or communities. It’s clear the government doesn’t want nimbyism to play a role in slowing down potential developments, but there are implications for some of our district’s precincts such as the Garden Precinct at Te Moana Rd in Waikanae which may not survive the one size fits all approach that has been signalled.
“The other observation is that the one-size-fits-all-approach does not enable council to encourage development in areas where existing infrastructure has capacity. And with the Government signalling they will take over three waters, (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater), the council could have a significantly reduced role in forward planning for new developments.
“Council staff are looking closely at the Housing Supply Bill to make sure we understand the full implications of the proposal, including whether it will result in unanticipated costs, such as the need to upgrade or put new infrastructure in place which won’t have been factored into most councils’ 2021-41 Long-term Plans.” Mr McCann said.
“The Government Bill does provide some exceptions to ensure increased density is appropriate, such as considering natural hazards, heritage value, setbacks, and not building on more than 50 percent of the site, but there is real concern in the community that these protections will not be strong enough.
But, apart from intensification, there are many other decisions which need public input to our proposed growth approach.
“Our proposed approach considers factors such as protecting our environment, offering housing choice, revitalising town centres, creating better access and transport options, and spaces for business, industry and productive land.
“We’re running a second consultation alongside our approach to growth which has many linkages, so it makes sense to consider them together. This is our updated open space strategy. It’s about protecting and growing our network of open space that connects our people and communities to the environment and nourishes the mauri or essential vitality of both.
“As we go out to consult on what a future Kāpiti might look like, this is a timely reminder that not all the decisions are in our hands. We are bound by central government direction in a number of ways and must remain flexible and adapt as things change.
Get more information on both consultations from your local library or online at Haveyoursay.kapiticoast.govt.nz by 5pm Friday 19 November 2021.