Mayor Lianne Dalziel says she understands people’s concerns about Government-directed moves to enable higher density housing in Christchurch but the Council’s hands are tied.
“We have very little room to manoeuvre,’’ says Mayor Dalziel. “We are legally obliged to notify changes to our District Plan to comply with the Government policy directions, which have been issued to enable denser and higher residential and commercial development in New Zealand’s biggest centres.
“It is not something that we can opt out of or say no to, even though many of us share residents’ concerns about how these new density rules will impact on our neighbourhoods,’’ Mayor Dalziel says.
“We have explored the implications of not notifying the plan changes. The legal advice we have received suggests that if we were to vote on Thursday against notifying the Housing and Business Choice Plan Change, then the Government can appoint someone to do it for us.
“Such an intervention would leave the elected Council with no control over the content of the notified Plan Change’’ the Mayor says.
“We could end up with a notified Plan Change that is even more permissive than staff are recommending. While the Council cannot alter the intensification standards set by the Government, we have been able to propose limiting development in some areas because of Qualifying Matters.
“Council staff have put in a significant amount of work to provide strong evidence to support the case for exempting these areas from intensification. We risk this all being discarded if the decision-making is taken away from the Council altogether,’’ the Mayor says.