Council proposals 'lack direction for future'

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 08:45 14/08/2014
Gerry Brownlee
Fairfax NZ
NOT SATISFIED: Gerry Brownlee, along with Environment Minister Amy Adams, has made a further 29 recommendations for change.

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Government ministers are unhappy with some of the proposed revisions to Christchurch's planning rules and believe the city council has not gone far enough.

The city council has been re-working chapters of the District Plan - the planning document which guides how land can be used and developed - in order to address concerns the existing plethora of rules could hamper Christchurch's recovery.

But Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Environment Minister Amy Adams, who have been reviewing the council's work on the plan, are not satisfied with the changes proposed and have made a further 29 recommendations for change.

''The draft proposals focus on retaining the status quo and lack a clear direction for the future of the district that reflects the significant changes that have occurred as a result of the earthquakes,'' the ministers said in a letter to the council.

''Overall the draft proposals need to provide a clearer articulation of the anticipated outcomes for the Christchurch District through the rebuild and recovery, and into the future. We consider the draft proposals are too embedded in the existing district plans and do not make the step change needed to support recovery.''

The ministers said they were concerned the draft proposals did not enable sufficient residential intensification, particularly medium-density residential development, and were likely to result to insufficient residential development capacity within the existing urban areas. 

The changes proposed by the council provided for an extra 150 hectares of land to be zoned for medium-density residential development but the ministers now want that reviewed. They also want the council to have another look at the rules governing residential development.

''The residential proposal contains an excessive number of rules and assessment matters, which are considered overly prescriptive, limits design options and may have an adverse effect on the financial feasibility of providing necessary housing choices,'' the ministers said.

They questioned several other aspects of the regulatory planning system and how the city council planned to manage the phases of recovery.

The city council is holding a special meeting tomorrow to consider the ministers' comments.

Under the streamlined process being used to review the district plan - a process that has, in the past, taken 10 years - they must pay ''particular regard'' to the comments made by the ministers before they notify the draft plan and call for public submissions. 

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Currently Christchurch has two district plans - the Christchurch City Plan and the Banks Peninsula District Plan. Both were developed in the 1990s and have been amended incrementally since then.  

Neither of the plans were designed to cope with the amount of repair and rebuild that will be necessary to recover from the earthquakes, which is why an expedited process to replace them with a single plan has been put in place.

The council is due to publicly notify the new plan at the end of this month.

- The Press

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