Whether Christchurch City Council will request a pause and extension to the Independent Hearings Panel process on Plan Change 14 will be decided at next week’s Council meeting.
A report will be considered by Councillors on 6 December which includes recommendations that the Council asks the Minister for the Environment to set a new date for resuming the hearings and completing Plan Change 14 by way of Gazette Notice.
The report says this will enable the Council to place Plan Change 14 on hold until legislative changes occur.
It comes as the new Government’s coalition agreement outlines that it intends to make Medium Density Residential Standards optional for councils.
“We do not know when those changes will be made, what new direction may be proposed to replace this, nor what, if any, changes may be proposed to the National Policy Statement on Urban Development,” the report says.
“In the meantime, the Council must continue with Plan Change 14 to meet a Gazette Notice requirement that the Council makes a decision by 12 September 2024.
“The Independent Hearings Panel is scheduled to resume on 30 January 2024, continuing into February with a total of six further hearing days. A quick request to the Minister to issue an amended Gazette Notice could avoid the need for that hearing to continue,” it says.
The Council notified Plan Change 14 to implement Medium Density Residential Standards to enable three houses per site up to three storeys as directed in the Resource Management Act and to implement sections of the National Policy Statement for Urban Development.
This policy statement requires greater heights and densities of development in and around the Central City and commercial centres.
The report says staff will report back to the Council when the Government announces its legislative programme, and more is known about the nature of the intended changes.
“There may be aspects of Plan Change 14 that the Council still wishes to pursue. The best time to assess what aspects of the plan change to still pursue will be when the Council knows more about the legislative changes.”