Incentives to boost Nelson's inner-city living

INNER-CITY LIFE: Liz Palmer says Nelson needs more people living in the central city.
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ

INNER-CITY LIFE: Liz Palmer says Nelson needs more people living in the central city.

An extra 360 people could be living in Nelson's CBD in five years if the city council's new development contributions waiver goes to plan.

The new draft development contributions policy remits contributions for 30 new developments in the CBD each year over the next five years. It was adopted at Monday's council meeting to go out for public consultation.

The council wants to incentivise the development of residential inner-city living options, something it sees as a long-term objective.

A development contribution is a general cost a developer must pay toward infrastructure (stormwater, wastewater, water supply and the transport network) at the start of each development. The standard cost is $11,800.

This means the council faces losing out on $354,000 each year, but staff told councillors that figure was manageable.

If the policy boosts CBD living it will eventually increase the rating base, off-setting some lost revenue. The council decided on the limit of 30 each year, as that is what staff said the wastewater system could currently manage.

If adopted, the policy will be reviewed in five years to see how infrastructure had accommodated the increased development and whether the cap could be extended.

The remissions would be done on a first in first served basis and there would not be an annual rollover for any leftover waivers.

Councillors Matt Lawrey, Kate Fulton, Pete Rainey, Brian McGurk and Ruth Copeland voted to add that developers undertaking larger scale developments must see the council's urban design panel as a condition of the remission.

However, the motion was voted down, with a number of councillors saying there were other avenues that should be taken to encourage good urban design.

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These would be addressed at an upcoming council workshop.

The draft policy also gives a remission in development contributions for new one- or two-bedroom units that are being built on an existing single title. This includes second dwellings and minor units, such as a granny flat, and apartments. The contribution would be either half or three-quarters the normal contribution cost, depending on how many bedrooms were provided.

Within the policy the council also lays out where it will provide infrastructure over the course of the long-term plan. This is to encourage development in targeted areas of the wider city.

Some priority areas in the draft policy are: Main Rd Stoke/Saxton Rd, Ngawhatu Valley, Marsden Valley, Coster/The Ridgeway, Quarantine Rd, Airport and Golf Rd, Tasman Heights and Campbell St/Braemar.

There are other areas, such as Nelson South, Washington Valley and Bayview, that councillors signalled they wanted to add to the list through the Nelson resource management plan review.

The draft development contributions policy will be released for public consultation tomorrow as part of the supporting package of documents for the long term plan consultation document.

Submissions are open until noon on April 28.

Inner-city living lauded

More inner-city living is the rebirth Nelson needs, says CBD resident Liz Palmer.

Palmer has raised a family with her husband John in their home on Nile St West opposite the Rutherford Hotel for the past 14 years.

"We've really enjoyed living here. It's the convenience and access to the city, we go with our trolleys every Saturday morning to the markets to get our food. "We love not using a car, you only need a car when you go out into the country or something so we use our bikes and we walk everywhere."

She said over the last decade Nelsonians had sat back and watched Richmond grow and getting more people living in Nelson's city centre would give it the "rebirth" it needed. "We have been pushing to get more people in the CBD for a long time. It's a really neat place to raise children. People think that because you have a family you have to live in the suburbs but then you have to drive everywhere."

The couple are moving to Dunedin for business reasons soon, and will be leasing their apartment.

She said over the 14 years she had seen improved late-night behaviour. "The city's neat and the more people that live in the inner-city the more safe it will be, it would get more life back on the street. It's better for restaurants and makes a more vibrant and safe CBD."

She said the council needed to follow Wellington and "lighten up" on parking rules as it wasn't viable for a developer to build a carpark building to service apartments. "People are more important than cars and the more people the better."

 - The Nelson Mail

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