The number and variety of homes is set to increase in Te Puke, and Western Bay is prepared.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council is updating its local housing rules to reflect a new law being introduced by central government in a bid to speed up housing developments.
The Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS), which comes into effect on August 20 2022, enables up to three houses to be built three storeys high on most sections in medium density residential zones without needing resource consent. Building consents will still be required.
There are nine rules that must be met for the activity to be permitted, including the height restrictions, and having a minimum outdoor living space.
Council’s Senior Policy Analyst, Jodie Rickard, says the changes being led by Government mean Te Puke will look a little different in 2032.
“But you won’t see those changes overnight. It will take time to change what housing we are able to offer, while protecting the community feel we know is important to locals," says Jodie.
“When we spoke to the community - as part of the Your Place Tō wāhi campaign - about what makes Te Puke a great place to live, they told us about the benefits of being in close proximity to other centres, the small town feel and its people.
“The community have also told us they want to see affordable housing and options for first home buyers too. Concerns were expressed about how the lifestyle might change if more houses were built, and more people came to town – and asked us to ensure there are enough community facilities, traffic and parking is addressed and green space protected. We are making plans with this feedback in mind.”
The changes under the MDRS also mean that all areas currently residentially zoned, will be subject to the MDRS rules.
"We expect to see more properties with more than one home on them, units in backyards and redevelopments where an existing house could be replaced with townhouses."
The legislation, which enables more housing, comes as a trend of slowing consents is observed in Te Puke. Since July 1 2021, 27 consents have been issued for new dwellings.
Across the Western Bay in the 2022 calendar year, there have been slightly fewer consents approved. Building materials, and the pandemic’s effect on workforce, is predicted to be behind this.
The law changes are expected to turn this trend around. The number of consents is also forecast to pick up significantly as new sections become available.
Some promising developments are in the pipeline, including two large projects that will create more than 700 new lots. These subdivisions are in the Dunlop Road/MacLoughlin Drive area and are either being marketed now or expected to come on stream this year.
A proposal for a private plan change, off the end of Seddon Street and Harris Street, is also being investigated. This would create a further 145 lots.
While all of these new lots will provide much-needed housing, the MDRS changes provide for different kinds of housing to suit all sorts of Te Puke whānau.
Currently, most properties are standalone homes with up to four bedrooms.
However, new houses provided for under the MDRS include properties suited to renters and seasonal workers and multi-generational households, and could help to address overcrowding and facilitating better co-ordination of public and transitional housing.
“We also need to find ways to support Māori to meet their housing aspirations. But, with that all in mind, we’re really looking forward to building a plan tailored to Te Puke and helping our whānau to live fulfilling lives,” says Jodie.
For anyone wishing to kōrero on the proposed changes and what the new rules will mean for them, Council is offering one-on-one sessions.
"You can book in a 15-minute session to kōrero with our friendly team on June 21 or 23 2022, between 9am and 5pm," says Jodie.
Bookings can be made by email – firstname.lastname@example.org - or phone 0800 926 732.
Council will be notifying the plan change on August 20 2022 and the public will be able to make a formal submission if they wish.
To read more about the changes visit yourplace.westernbay.govt.nz