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District Plan review - notification deadline 2015

Councils are required to undertake a review of their District Plan’s every ten years. In preparation for this review, QLDC’s policy planning team have been undertaking monitoring to assess the effectiveness of the District Plan’s rules. This work has culminated in a series of reports, called “Section 32 Reports” identifying issues and suggesting improvements to various chapters of the District Plan. These reports and the changes proposed can be accessed via the Council’s website by clicking on the following link, or going to www.qldc.govt – Planning & Consents – District Plan Review – s32 Archive.

The following chapters of the District Plan are included in Stage 1 of the review – Residential, Rural and Rural Living, Town Centres, Queenstown Airport Mixed Use zone, Heritage, Utilities and Noise (across all zoned).

The following articles highlight the proposed changes and how they may affect you or neighbouring areas:

To understand how the new rules will affect you or how you can make a submission, contact our Resource Management team.

Residential Zones

The key proposed changes are:

(a) High Density Residential Zone

  • Three subzones to be replaced with one
  • Increase in height for flat sites from 8m to 12m. This is a 4m increase and would effectively enable 3 storeys, rather than the current 2.
  • Sloping sites – increase available height by 1.5m. Could allow 4 storeys on steeper sites.
  • Floor area ratio introduced so that the greater the height the lower the site coverage and vica versa.
  • Introduced a “living space” requirement – can be provided in or outdoors.

 (b) New Medium Density Residential Zone

  • Applies to several areas in Queenstown (includes Frankton and Fernhill), Arrowtown and Wanaka.
  • Aims to provide affordable housing at low scale.
  • No change to height rules, but no density controls and 55% site coverage.
  • Controls to limit overlooking and adverse privacy impacts.
  • While no density controls the effect of other controls would means average section sized between 200-300m2 – similar to the existing provisions in the Low Density Residential zone providing for comprehensive residential developments (where a minimum land holding of 2000m2 was required).

 (c) Low Density Residential

  • Sites less than 900m2, can erect more than one dwelling, but limit on second and subsequent dwellings to 5.5m2 (one storey). Site coverage designed to place an effective limit on density.
  • Reference to residential flats to be removed – provisions to be more flexible such as providing for second dwellings either as residential flats or stand-alone dwellings, and subdivision capable.
  • Commercial activities (other than home occupations) prohibited.

Generally speaking, these changes provide some welcome “common” sense and workability to the residential zone provisions and should assist with the Council’s aim to enable more affordable housing.

The suite of controls and assessment matters to achieve the overall required density levels across all three areas will require careful scrutiny as will rules relating to parking and quality design of buildings.

Rural Zones

The key proposed changes are

  • Buildings within an approved building platform to be a permitted activity (subject to compliance with conditions imposed at the time the building platform was approved) BUT with some new standards – such as buildings limited at ground floor to 300m2, height 7m (presently 8m).
  • New Farm Buildings, or extensions to existing farm buildings to be permitted activities (still a requirement that the area of the site exceeds 100ha and no more than one such building per 50ha)
  • Introduction of new standards to mitigate and control the effects of dairy farming such as milking sheds and associated infrastructure being sited 400m away from neighbours or roads, management of stock herds on public roads, measures to eliminate stock contaminating waterways.
  • Rezoning of some lands zoned Rural General to Rural Lifestyle – for example the Hawthorn Triangle and Fitzpatrick Basin.
  • Subdivision and development to become a non-complying activity (presently it is discretionary) in areas identified on the planning maps as “Outstanding Natural Landscape”.
  • Remove the Visual Amenity Landscape and Other Rural Landscape classifications and combine as “Rural Landscape”.
  • Airports/Airstrips – it will be a permitted activity to undertake three trips (each “trip” comprising a landing and a take-off) from a helipad or airstrip on your land. Where land is held in a pastoral lease or administered by DOC, any number of “trips” will be a permitted activity.
  • On the surface of lakes and rivers (all are zoned Rural General), easier consenting path for non-motorised commercial activities.
  • Jetties and moorings in the whole of the Frankton Arm to be restricted discretionary activities -again an easier consenting path.
  • Gibbston Character zone – specific changes make for an easier consenting path for winery buildings.

The changes proposed will bring a mixed reaction. While simplification to the consenting process is to be commended, some of the changes proposed will require careful evaluation and will come under close scrutiny, particularly the introduction of non-complying status for building in ONL’s and the condensation of the present landscape classification system and its associated assessment criteria. For a critical review of the Rural Zone changes we commend readers to the paper prepared by Ben Espie (Vivian +Espie) which can be accessed by following this link.