Housing changes explained

Waipā District Council have concluded the last of three webinars which discussed the district’s upcoming housing changes.

The Zoom webinars were hosted by district growth and regulatory services group manager Wayne Allan and the final one was held last Thursday.

“Really complex changes have been forced upon us, changes that we think have the potential to fundamentally change parts of Cambridge, Te Awamutu, and Kihikihi residential areas,” said Allan.

Wayne Allan

Wayne Allan

In each webinar, residents were given the opportunity to send in questions about the government’s new housing intensification legislation, which allows for three houses, up to three stories high, to be built on single sections without the need for a resource consent in residential areas.

The new laws are aimed to address the national housing crisis and apply to big growth cities. Planning and policy staff Jo Cook-Munro, Tony Coutts, Tony Quickfall and David Totman assisted Allan in answering questions.

They were asked how the changes would affect things like the provision of green spaces, access to sunlight, infrastructure, sound isolation, parking, cycleways, and private covenants.

Some residents asked more specific questions, such as the protection homeowners who invested in solar panel owners had under the new legislation, to ensure their panels wouldn’t be blocked by the building of taller houses.

Tony Quickfall, the council’s district plan and growth manager, said that this was a bit of a grey area.

“If the rules are confirmed and eleven metre houses are permitted after it (the legislation) has gone through, then it seems to me that there wouldn’t be much protection for existing solar arrays,” he said.

The council’s Plan Change 26, which was developed to implement the government’s mandated housing changes, is open for public submission until September 30.

It is not expected to be implemented until either late next year or early 2024.

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