1 May 2024

Christchurch City Council has agreed on the scope of its decision-making for its proposed Housing and Business Choice Plan Change (Plan Change 14) later this year.

In September, the Council will limit its decisions to the Independent Hearing Panel’s recommendations on greater heights and densities in and around the central city and suburban centres.

It will also decide on the panel’s recommendations related to re-zoning land in Sydenham to mixed-use and financial contributions for tree-canopy cover across all relevant zones.

Mayor Phil Mauger says the new process will allow for better decision-making that fits with the Government’s direction in the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD).

“To meet the NPS-UD, the Council still needs to allow taller buildings, and more of them, in and around the zones of the central city and our suburban centres, but we have until September next year to consider what wider housing growth will look like for our city.

“Today’s decision asks the Independent Hearings Panel to consider giving its recommendations in a way that will allow the Council to split its decision-making later this year, saving time and money in the long run.”

Last month, Minister Chris Bishop approved the Council’s request for a time extension to parts of Plan Change 14, specifically those that relate to the Medium-Density Residential Standards (MDRS) beyond areas defined in the NPS-UD. The Council has until September 2025 to notify its decision on those parts.

The Government still expects the Council to continue to the original deadline of 12 September 2024 for implementing the NPS-UD.

The Council will still need to apply MDRS within the NPS-UD zones – namely within walkable distances of the central city and suburban centres – because of the way MDRS has been used as a baseline for those zones.

Under MDRS, up to three dwellings of up to three storeys can be developed on a property without needing to apply for a resource consent if all other rules have been met.

The staff report tabled at today’s Council meeting said there would not be enough time before September to change the MDRS baseline for NPS-UD zones.

Following today’s decision, Council staff will now prepare a Right of Reply for the Independent Hearings Panel so it can consider structuring its recommendations in a way that will allow for the Council’s split decision-making in September.