Intensification Planning Instrument (IPI)

Changes to our District Plan– how could this impact you? 

The Government has introduced new rules for all high-growth areas to accommodate more residents, businesses and community services in urban areas.  

By 2051, Upper Hutt’s population is expected to increase from 46,000 to 70,000.

Like other cities across the country, we need to change our District Plan (the rules for land use and development) to support these new rules. 

Everyone in Upper Hutt could be affected by what’s being proposed, like:  

  • Three dwellings—each up to three storeys—on each site in the residential zone (without needing a resource consent if all other relevant rules and standards are met). 

  • Housing of at least six storeys within walking distance of train stations and the central business district in the proposed high density residential zone. 

  • No maximum height for buildings in the City Centre. 

  • New mixed-use and business zones, and new centres from City Centre to Neighbourhood Centre. 

  • Developers pay more up front to fund infrastructure required for growth. 

We’ve prepared an IPI (Intensification Planning Instrument), which is the complete set of changes Councils must make to their District Plans to enable high and medium density development in existing residential and commercial areas.  This includes mandatory requirements to be included in the District Plan for medium density development.

While most of the IPI applies to urban areas, some parts (including the new Papakāinga (Māori living together communally with traditional commercial activities) provisions and financial contributions changes) apply across the whole city.


Current status: The next stage in the process is a hearing by an independent panel.  All submitters will be informed and an update will be posted here once the hearing date has been set.

The full provisions and supporting information are provided below:

Stage  Status Supporting Documents
Further Submissions

Further submissions closed on 7 December 2022 

Further submissions on submission #33 were extended to 14 December 2022

Full submissions(PDF, 23MB)

Summary of submissions(PDF, 3MB)

Public notice for summary of decisions requested(PDF, 42KB)

Further submission form - Form 6 (PDF)(PDF, 75KB)

Further submission form - Form 6 (Word)(DOCX, 48KB)

Public notice for corrections and additions to summary of decisions (30 November 2022)(PDF, 42KB)

Correction of errors and omissions relating to Submission 33(PDF, 298KB)

Notification 

Submissions closed 30 September 2022

 UHCC Proposed IPI Provisions.pdf(PDF, 24MB)

 S32 Volume 1 Overview.pdf(PDF, 1MB)

 Appendix A Summary of Feedback from Consultation.pdf(PDF, 315KB)

 Appendix B Feedback from Consultation.pdf(PDF, 3MB)

 Appendix C HBA 2019.pdf(PDF, 4MB)

 Appendix D HBA Update 2022.pdf(PDF, 4MB)

 Appendix E Boffa Miskell Evaluation.pdf(PDF, 7MB)

 Appendix F Active Frontages.pdf(PDF, 5MB)

 Appendix G Cost Benefit Analysis.pdf(PDF, 1MB)

 Appendix H Urban Design Guide City Centre.pdf(PDF, 9MB)

 Appendix I Urban Design Guide Residential.pdf(PDF, 11MB)

 Appendix J Te Whaitua.pdf(PDF, 9MB)

 Appendix K Stormwater Runoff Management.pdf(PDF, 506KB)

 Appendix L PC50 Engagement Report.pdf(PDF, 2MB)

 S32 Volume 2 Residential Zones.pdf(PDF, 770KB)

 Appendix M Rationale for Residential Zones.pdf(PDF, 170KB)

 Appendix N Explanation of Residential Provisions.pdf(PDF, 137KB)

 S32 Volume 3 Commercial and Mixed Use.pdf(PDF, 647KB)

 Appendix O Rationale for Commercial and Mixed Use Zones.pdf(PDF, 239KB)

 Appendix P Explanation of Provisions.pdf(PDF, 326KB)

 Appendix Q Summary of PC54 Feedback.pdf(PDF, 233KB)

 S32 Volume 4 Qualifying Matters.pdf(PDF, 262KB)

 Appendix R Ecological Assessment.pdf(PDF, 62MB)

 Rules with immediate legal effect.pdf(PDF, 105KB)

 Copy of Public Notice.pdf(PDF, 39KB)

These changes mean that some of our previous District Plan proposals will need to change for the intensification components of the residential and business zones to use the new streamlined planning process and the rural review will proceed separately with notification in 2023 likely. 

 

FAQs

Latest changes to the RMA – the Enabling Housing Act

What is this Resource Management (Enabling Housing and Other Matters) Amendment Act (Housing Amendment Act)?

This Housing Amendment Act makes changes to the Resource Management Act that require Council to insert specific residential building and subdivision rules and standards into the District Plan to enable additional housing at increased heights and densities across all urban areas. The Housing Amendment Act also introduces a new streamlined planning process that Councils must use to insert the new rules and standards.

The Council publicly notified the above changes to the District Plan on 18 August 2022.

When did the changes come into force?

The Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act (‘Housing Amendment Act’) came into force on 21 December 2021. The Bill was first introduced in October 2021 and was taken through the process within very short timeframes.

 

Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS)

What are the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS)?

The MDRS are a suite of mandatory subdivision and building provisions that set out how the Council must provide for medium density residential development across all residential zones. These standards will enable people to develop up to three dwellings on each site, each being up to three storeys, without needing to apply for a resource consent, if they comply with all other rules and standards in the plan.

A full list of the MDRS standards can be viewed here: Medium Density Residential Standards.

In summary, the MDRS enable the following as a permitted activity:

Residential Units per Site

Allow up to 3 residential units per site


Building Height

Allow buildings to have a maximum height of 11 metres, with an additional metre being permitted for pitched roofs

MDRS1.jpg

Height in Relation to Boundary

All buildings must be within a 60° recession plane measured from a point 4 metres vertically above ground level along all boundaries 

MDRS2.jpg

This does not apply to:

  • boundaries with a road;

  • existing or proposed internal boundaries within a site; and

  • boundaries where there is an existing or proposed common wall.

 

 

Setbacks

Minimum setbacks of:

  • 1.5 metres for the front boundary; and
  • 1 metre from side and rear boundaries.

 

Building Coverage

Allow a maximum building coverage of 50% of the net site area

 

Outdoor Living Space

Require residential units at ground level to have an outdoor living space that is at least 20m². Minimum size and dimensions are specified for balconies, patios or roof terraces where these are proposed to form the outdoor living space.

 

Outlook Space

Require an outlook space be provided from habitable rooms. Minimum dimensions are 4 metres by 4 metres for principal living rooms, and 1 metre by 1 metre for all other habitable rooms.

MDRS3.jpg

Windows to Street

Require a minimum of 20% of the street-facing façade to be glazed for residential units facing the street.

 

Landscaped Areas

Require a minimum of 20% of a developed site at ground floor level to be landscaped with grass or plants. This can include the canopy of trees.

 

 

Under the Housing Amendment Act, Councils must introduce the above standards – they may be more permissive (e.g. allow for greater height or require less outdoor living space) but they cannot be more restrictive (e.g. require greater setbacks) than the above standards, unless they identify qualifying matters (see question 2.5 below)

The subdivision requirements of the MDRS prevent the Council from requiring minimum lot sizes if it can be demonstrated a residential unit that complies with the MDRS standards can be built on each lot.

What are the main parts of the intensification plan change notified in the Intensification Planning Instrument (IPI)?

The main changes are:

  1. The application of the MDRS to all residential areas. This has immediate legal effect from the date of public notification within the General Residential Zone.
  2. The rezoning of areas of the General Residential Zone that are within a walkable distance of the centres and train stations. Most of these new provisions do not have legal effect until decisions are released on the IPI on or before 20 August 2023. Please contact the resource consents team for further details on provisions that have immediate legal effect.
  3. The rezoning of commercial zoned sites to new centre zones and mixed use zone. These changes do not have legal effect until decisions are released on the IPI on or before 20 August 2023.
  4. The introduction of papakāinga provisions across most zones in Upper Hutt. These provisions do not have legal effect until decisions are released on the IPI on or before 20 August 2023.
  5. The introduction of hydraulic neutrality provisions. These provisions do not have legal effect until decisions are released on the IPI on or before 20 August 2023.
  6. The amendment of financial contribution provisions. These changes do not have legal effect until decisions are released on the IPI on or before 20 August 2023.
  7. The introduction of the St Patrick’s Estate Precinct and the Indigenous Biodiversity Precinct to introduce policy direction and guidance. These provisions do not have legal effect until decisions are released on the IPI on or before 20 August 2023.
  8. The introduction of City Centre Design Guide and a Medium and High Density Design Guide. These design guides do not have legal effect until decisions are released on the IPI on or before 20 August 2023.

 

Are the intensification requirements compulsory?

Yes, they are. Under the Housing Amendment Act, councils are grouped into Tiers based on their need for housing, with Tier 1 Councils having the highest level of housing need. Upper Hutt City (together with the entire Wellington Region) has been identified as a Tier 1 Council. This means that Council is required to apply the new MDRS to all residential areas.

To achieve this the Council must notify a change to the District Plan by no later than 20 August 2022. For most of the City, the new rules will have immediate effect from the notification date, meaning they can be used to build medium density housing and subdivide from that date. The exclusion to this is the proposed High Density Residential Zone. Only some provisions within this new zone will have immediate effect from the date of notification. A number of existing District Plan provisions will continue to apply until decisions are released on the plan change on or before 20 August 2023

What type of development can be expected because of the MDRS?

Three houses per site, up to three storeys high can be built as a permitted activity under the MDRS. There are a number of other mandatory standards that must be met such as building setbacks from boundaries, height in relation to boundary, building site coverage, and landscaping.

A design guide has been provided by the government which can be viewed here.

The MDRS also enables the construction of accessory buildings (such as detached garages), and the relocation of buildings onto a site as a permitted activity, so long as they meet the MDRS requirements.

What does permitted activity mean?

A permitted activity means the activity can be carried out as-of-right, without the need to seek a resource consent or approval from neighbouring property owners.

There are other rules in the District Plan that address important things such as earthworks, infrastructure (water supply, sewerage, and stormwater), transport, indigenous vegetation clearance, natural hazards and historic heritage that must still be complied with in addition to the MDRS.

If all the MDRS standards as well as all other relevant rules and standards are met, only a building consent will be required.

The Council may reduce the MDRS to the degree necessary to accommodate important area-specific factors such as the presence of significant natural hazards, historic heritage, and significant natural areas (known as qualifying matters).

The existing rules and standards that manage these important matters will continue to manage the potential impacts on them that could arise from the MDRS. The plan change includes a list of these existing matters under a new definition for qualifying matter area in the definitions section of the District Plan (section 3.1).

What are qualifying matters?

As explained above, a qualifying matter is a tool the Council can use to reduce the MDRS to the degree necessary to accommodate an important matter. In Upper Hutt City the reasons for applying a qualifying matter to a specific area are limited to the following matters (bold identifies other terms that are defined in the District Plan):

(a) flood hazard extents identified on the Planning Maps comprising the:

     (i) River Corridor;

     (ii)Stream Corridor;

     (iii)Overflow Path; and

     (iv)Erosion Hazard Area;

(b) Ponding areas;

(c) Pinehaven Flood Hazard Extent;

(d) Mangaroa Flood Hazard Extent;

(e) 1% (1 in 100 year) flood extent of the Hutt River;

(f)  Fault band identified on the Planning Maps;

(g) Significant Heritage Features listed in Schedule HH-SCHED1;

(h) Notable Trees listed in TREE-SCHED1;

(i) Urban Tree Groups listed in UTG-SCHED1;

(j) Indigenous vegetation that is not on an Urban Environment Allotment;

(k) Rare or Threatened Indigenous Vegetation and Fauna in ECO-SCHED-2 where not on an Urban Environment Allotment;

(l) The areas within 20 metres of the bank of any waterbody with an average width of 3 metres or more;

(m) The widths specified for esplanade reserves and esplanade strips in SUB-GEN-S1;

(n) The areas within 20 metres of a high voltage (110kV or greater) electricity transmission line;

(o) The areas within 12-32m of a high voltage (110kV or greater) electricity transmission line;

(p) The Open Space Zone as identified on the Planning Maps;

(q) The Natural Open Space Zone as identified on the Planning Maps;

(r) The Sport and Active Recreation Zone as identified on the Planning Maps.

 

Intensification Planning Instrument (IPI) and Intensification Streamlined Planning Process (ISPP)

What is an Intensification Planning Instrument (IPI)?

The Intensification Planning Instrument(PDF, 13MB) is the name given to the complete set of changes the Council must make to the District Plan to incorporate the MDRS and to give effect to policies 3 and 4 of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD). 

Draft IPI map

In summary, IPI will include the following:

  • Changes needed to incorporate the MDRS and consequential changes:

  • Intensification policies to implement the NPS-UD;

  • Introduction of a papakāinga chapter;

  • Financial contributions changes.

 

Key elements of the changes are:

  1. The introduction of a High Density Residential Zone, known as the High Density Zone, around the City Centre and along the valley floor between the Upper Hutt Station and Silverstream. This extent includes the part of the St Patrick’s Estate land that is currently being filled for future development. The proposal is to have permitted development in high density zone of 6 storeys with development up to 10 stories enabled via resource consent. The extent of the High Density Zone proposed is smaller than the draft Plan change 50 extent as some of the criteria have changed in the recent legislation;

  2. Extension of the general residential zone with all residential conservation and residential hill areas being included in the general residential zone. The MDRS standards must apply to all the residential zones. The MDRS standards permit the development of up to three dwellings of three stories on any residential property unless other ‘qualifying matters’ (which are identified in the legislation) apply to the land. This means that District wide matters such as flood hazards, heritage protection, urban tree groups still apply within the residential zones. The MDRS standards will enable additional housing development on most lots across residential zones without a resource consent;

  3. The City Centre Zone provisions are to be amended to have no maximum height for buildings and to include ‘active frontage’ requirements for key pedestrian streets, such as Main St. The full range of commercial, office and retail activities (not including industrial) are enabled in the zone. All new buildings will require resource consent in this zone to enable consideration of urban design issues. This will include the provision of an urban design guide for the City Centre in the IPI.

  4. Four new business zones are being created to differentiate the roles of business zoned land and create a hierarchy of centres, this replaces the commercial zones from draft plan change 54. In all of these zones apartment style living is encouraged above the ground floor level. These zones are in summary:
    • Town Centre Zone – the Silverstream shops surrounding the New World supermarket, with an area to be rezoned from residential at the eastern end, will form the Town Centre Zone. In this zone further large format retail is not encouraged (beyond the supermarket), a range of commercial and non-residential uses will be enabled with a floor area limit for permitted offices and retail. Active frontage requirements on Whitemans Road and Kiln Street;
    • Local Centre Zone – Groups of business premises surrounded by the proposed high density residential zone which provide a range of shops and commercial services to the surrounding residential catchment. The IPI includes floor area limits for offices and retail in this zone. The floor limits enable smaller premises than the Town Centre Zone. Active frontage requirements apply on Fergusson Drive and other key other streets;
    • Neighbourhood Centre Zone – small commercial areas located in general residential areas with a few shops and other non-residential activities. Floor area limits for all activities and no active frontage requirements in this zone; and
    • Mixed Use Zone – areas where some light industrial activities occur alongside retail and commercial activities. This includes areas on Goodshed Road and Refreshment Place. Large Format retail is permitted in this zone with no floor area limits. There are no active frontage requirements in this zone.

  5. Definitions – there are a large number of additional definitions proposed in the IPI, some are to clarify the MDRS requirements and others to clarify commercial and non-residential activities.

  6. Financial contributions - The financial contributions provisions are proposed to be amended to allow contributions to be collected from permitted activity developments. This amendment is necessary as it is anticipated that a large percentage of new housing will occur on existing properties without subdivision occurring. 

What must / may / may not be included in an IPI?

The IPI must be used by Council to :

  • incorporate the MDRS and
  • give effect to policies 3 and 4 of the NPS-UD.

The IPI may also include provisions relating to:

  • financial contributions,
  • papakāinga housing
  • supporting or consequential changes (e.g. earthworks or subdivision)

The IPI may not be used for or include any other changes that are not specified in the amendment act.

What is an Intensification Streamlined Planning Process (ISPP)

The Housing Amendment Act also introduces a new planning process - the Intensification Streamlined Planning Process (ISPP). The intention of the ISPP is to provide Councils with a faster and easier process to make the necessary changes to their District Plans.

Under the ISPP the usual timeframes for plan changes are compressed and the decision making process is changed. The new process will allow for submissions, further submissions and a hearing and then decisions by an Independent Panel of experts. However, there will be no appeals to the Environment Court and if the Council disagrees with any of the decisions of the Independent Panel, the Minister for the Environment will make a determination.

Can Council choose not to use the ISPP?

No. The ISPP is compulsory.

Can I still have my say?

Yes. The IPI will be publicly notified in August 2022 and there will be an opportunity to make submissions and further submissions. There will also be an opportunity to present your submission to an independent hearing panel, however, rights of appeal to the Environment Court have been removed. Rights to seek a judicial review are still available.

 

Residential Growth - PC50

What does this mean for the residential intensification work the Council was preparing under draft Plan Change 50?

The draft Plan Change 50 intensification work was in an advanced state with community consultation completed on draft provisions before the MDRS was released. Councils were not aware of the MDRS prior to the Government’s public announcement of its release.

The MDRS include compulsory rules and standards for residential subdivision and development. In many instances the MDRS requirements are different to those proposed under the Council’s earlier draft intensification work. This means the Council was required to review this earlier intensification work to determine what parts can still progress, and what parts are replaced by the MDRS.

The Council was proposing to include high density and low-density residential areas as part of the earlier intensification work. The high-density residential areas can still progress, although some minor changes to boundaries may have been required.

The draft low-density residential areas can no longer proceed as intended. However, many of the areas originally identified for low density residential use include significant natural areas, steep slopes, historic heritage values, or are subject to significant natural hazards. The existing qualifying matters listed above will continued to apply across all residential areas.

What about the Rural Zones?

All rural zone provisions that were part of the Council’s earlier plan change work cannot progress via the IPI and will therefore need to progress via a separate plan change using the normal plan change process.

What will be the impacts on the community’s infrastructure?

The amount of permitted development that will be able to occur on residential sites (3x houses), plus the inability of the Council to require on-site car parking will put additional pressure on the community’s three-waters and roading infrastructure. The plan change includes proposed financial contribution provisions to ensure development contributes towards infrastructure costs.

Why were on-site car parking requirements removed from the District Plan in February?

All Councils in New Zealand were required by the Government to remove all provisions from the District Plan that required a minimum number of car parks to be provided. This was required to be completed by 20 February 2022, and it was required to be done without involving the community.

Council can no longer require a minimum number of car parks be provided on a site, however the effects of providing none or an insufficient number of on-site car parks on the safe and efficient operation of the roading network may still be a consideration for some resource consent applications.

The Council removed the car parking requirements from the Upper Hutt City District Plan on 18 February 2022.

 

Commercial Growth – PC54

Why does Council need to include the commercial review in the new process if it is not about housing?

The Housing Amendment Act does not only require the introduction of Medium Density Residential Standards, but it also requires Tier 1 Councils to give effect to policies 3 and 4 of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development at the same time. Policy 3 contains directions and requirements for Councils to provide for additional development capacity and enable intensification in city centre zones and other commercial zones.

To enable the Council to appropriately give effect to the requirements of policy 3 of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development, the necessary changes to the commercial zones of the District Plan must be included in the Intensification Planning Instrument (IPI) and taken through the Intensification Streamlined Planning Process (ISPP).  

What does this mean for the commercial and industrial areas proposed under draft Plan Change 54?

The changes announced by the Government mean most of the changes previously proposed to be included in draft Plan Change 54 may and must now be included in the new IPI (together with the residential changes).

The following zones and associated district plan provisions will be included in the IPI:

All of the above commercial zones will also provide for some residential development and will reflect the MDRS that apply to residential development in residential zones.

  • City Centre Zone
  • Town Centre Zone
  • Local Centre Zone
  • Neighbourhood Centre Zone
  • Mixed Use Zone
What about the review of the Industrial Zone?

The review of the General Industrial Zone that was previously proposed as part of PC54 cannot be included in the new IPI/ISPP process. This is mainly because industrial zones are not covered by Policy 3 of the NPS-UD and also because the proposed provisions do not support residential development inside the industrial zone. The industrial chapter review will therefore need to progress via a separate plan change using the normal plan change process under the RMA.

 

Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment (HBA)

What is a Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment (HBA)?

A Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment (HBA) is a compulsory evaluation under the NPS-UD that identifies the amount of available land capacity for housing and business uses in the City over a 30 year period. Up to date population projections and expert economic advice is some of the important data that is considered in the preparation of the HBA.

What did the 2019 Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment (HBA) show?

The 2019 HBA evaluated housing and business demand over a 30-year period from 2017 – 2047 at a regional and local level. The HBA found that with Upper Hutt predicted to grow in population, an additional 5,600 dwellings are required to accommodate growth by 2047.

It was calculated that only 3,500 could be provided under the existing provisions within the District Plan and future growth areas, leaving a shortfall of up to 2,100 homes by 2047.

What is the 2022 HBA update?

As required by the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD), Upper Hutt City Council has undertaken a review of its 2019 housing capacity assessment. Upper Hutt continues to experience the pressures of housing demand through a high take-up of available housing stock, alongside continued increases in dwelling sale prices and rent prices. This trend is not just being felt in Upper Hutt, but across the wider Wellington Region.

This refresh of the 2019 HBA presents an opportunity to evaluate changes to Upper Hutt’s housing capacity now, and through until 2051, prior to the preparation of a new, full HBA which will start in 2022.

How is Upper Hutt predicted to change?

The updated population projections which have informed the required housing delivery numbers for Upper Hutt show that from 2021 to 2051, Upper Hutt’s population is forecast to increase by 24,268 people. This is higher than the 2019 HBA predicted.

To accommodate this population increase, we need to provide for 10,458 new dwellings. This is higher than the original number of houses that the 2019 HBA predicted we needed to supply due to the increased difference in our population forecasting.

What does the HBA update show?

The 2022 HBA update has sought to conceptualise housing demand against feasibly developable land and infrastructure capacity to determine an overall development sufficiency in accordance with the NPS-UD.

Based on this assessment, under the current District Plan provisions, the feasible capacity for infill housing delivery is estimated to be 6,858 dwellings, with the realisable capacity being slightly lower at 5,928 dwellings. Therefore, with these realisable infill numbers, we can expect that our medium term (2023-2030) housing requirement of 2,749 dwellings can be met, but the infill realisable figure falls short of our long term (2030-2051) requirement of 6,530 dwellings.

As part of this 2022 HBA update we have also assessed the capacity of identified greenfield sites in Upper Hutt to deliver housing. Overall Upper Hutt’s identified greenfield sites have the capacity for 5,433 new dwellings, all of which are feasible to develop. This figure, combined with the feasible infill capacity, means Upper Hutt has a feasible development capacity of 12,291 dwellings, which is sufficient capacity to meet the long-term housing requirement for the City.