Greater Housing Choice Proposed For Nelson

Published: Mon 7 Aug 2023 09:06 PM
Nelson City Council’s elected members will decide whether to progress notification of Housing Plan Change 29 (PC29) to the Nelson Resource Management Plan (NRMP) at a Council meeting on 10 August 2023. Proposed Plan Change 29 focuses on intensification, aiming to accommodate much of Whakatū Nelson’s future growth through redevelopment within existing urban areas rather than expanding into new greenfield sites.
Proposed Plan Change 29 is consistent with the Nelson Tasman Future Development Strategy which estimates 78% of Nelson’s growth is expected to occur through intensification and development on existing urban-zoned land.
As well as changes to help address Nelson’s existing housing challenges, the plan change proposes updates related to heritage and natural hazards. The proposed changes aim to provide more housing options, opportunities, and flexibility within Nelson’s existing urban areas, giving homeowners and developers more choice in how they build. The proposed plan change also provides opportunity for papkāinga development by Māori and for Māori.
Whakatū Nelson’s population increased by 13,400 between 1996 and 2020 at a rate greater than the national average. The population is estimated to increase by an additional 11,860 people and 6,470 households by 2051, representing an approximate 27 per cent growth in population over the 2020–2051 period.
“These are the biggest changes to Nelson’s planning rules in a generation and will have a huge impact on the future shape of our city,” says Nelson Mayor Nick Smith. “The goal is to make housing more accessible and affordable by enabling more diversity in housing types. This reform tackles Nelson housing affordability at its root cause by recognising that we need to use our limited land more efficiently.
“We will be welcoming submissions from Nelsonians on this reform after the proposed Plan Change is notified. This will help us get the right rules in the right place. We need a mix of intensification and greenfield development. We need to better manage the risks of earthquakes, floods and climate change. We need to enable quality developments and keep costs affordable but also ensure we maintain the characteristics that make Nelson such a great place to live.”
If approved by Council, Plan Change 29 (PC29) will be publicly notified on 11 August 2023 and open for public submissions on the proposed changes until 4.00pm, 19 September.
PC29 proposes introducing new residential zones, allowing for varying levels of intensity. For example, for each lot, the General Residential Zone permits up to three residential units with a height of eight metres (two storeys), the Medium Density Residential Zone allows up to three units with a height of 12 metres (three storeys), and the High Density Residential Zone permits up to three units with a height of up to 19.5 metres (six storeys). In the proposed changes there is no minimum site area for lots that contain residential buildings, however there is a 200m² minimum lot size for vacant lot subdivision.
Building and site design is important, and the plan change has rules around reducing shadow and ensuring penetration of sunlight, provision of outdoor spaces and onsite storage.
There are some well-evidenced benefits of intensification that our community can consider, including that it allows for our central city area to continue to grow and form a strong focal point for retail, hospitality and culture. It increases the amount of housing choice by allowing for apartments and terraced housing, and it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing reliance on cars for travel. Most importantly it means that less greenfield land is needed for development, allowing us to prioritise our highly productive land for primary production and recreation and minimise impacts on the natural environment.
Proposed PC29 also incorporates updates to natural hazards policies, rules, and maps, considering risks from earthquakes, landslides, floods, and liquefaction. Special assessments and designs by qualified professionals will be required for significant new developments to ensure safety from natural hazards.
In addition, PC29 addresses heritage conservation by updating heritage policies and rules to support sustainable and safety-related changes to heritage buildings, without requiring resource consent.
A new way to access our plans
“Council has shifted to an electronic version of all of Nelson’s Plans, making it easier for people to find out what is happening in their neighbourhood,” says Mandy Bishop, Group Manager Environmental Management.
“ePlan offers two distinct ways to explore our city’s plans, both as a comprehensive guidebook that can be read from cover to cover, or you can use the interactive map to focus on specific properties and areas of interest.
“We urge you to go and have a look at the ePlan and find out what’s proposed for your neighbourhood.”
To assist the community with the submission process, Council is planning on providing a free service to help remove barriers to making submissions under the RMA regulations. For the duration of the process, a Friend of Submitters service is available to answer questions about the hearing process and procedures, assist with the preparation and lodgement of submissions, and advise on what to do after lodging a submission.
The Friend of Submitters can support individuals as well as groups and organisations wishing to make a submission. The service will also provide four full days of in-person sessions at the Mahitahi Colab by appointment. Go to for more information.
Council staff and elected members will be available to assist the public with any questions they may have. There is a drop-in session with Council staff and elected members on Saturday 2 September 8am–1pm at the blue caravan, Saturday Market, Montgomery Square.

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