Nelson Plan to pause due to reform uncertainties but housing work to continue

24/11/2021 2:52am

Nelson City Council has decided to pause the release of the Whakamahere Whakatū Nelson Plan for now, primarily due to the risk that new legislation, expected early next year will require significant change.

Government announced broad Resource Management Act (RMA) reforms in July 2021, and the impact of those changes is still not certain.

Council has therefore decided to pause work on the Whakamahere Whakatū Nelson Plan and instead make changes in the short term under the existing Nelson Resource Management Plan.

Council will focus on releasing a Housing Plan Change to the Nelson Resource Management Plan. 

This will allow Council to push forward with action that will provide greater housing choices and enable intensification, ensuring Council can deliver housing choice for the community as a priority, while also being the most cost and time-efficient process for ratepayers.

This option will also enable Council to consider the recent government announcement about housing intensification for larger metropolitan councils, that allows up to three houses of up to three storeys to be built on most sites without a resource consent, and the same will potentially apply for Nelson.

Councillor and Whakamahere Whakatū Nelson Plan Lead, Brian McGurk, says Council can move ahead under the current RMA with action that addresses the issues that are of the greatest importance to our community at the moment, like the need for more housing.

“Council is not prepared to wait until the RMA reforms are complete. We know that Nelson is facing a housing crisis. We need to continue to make changes now. Rule changes made through the existing Plan will make it easier to develop higher-density housing and smaller homes.”

Council anticipates that much of the work, such as natural hazard mapping and heritage assessments that went into developing the draft Whakamahere Whakatū Nelson Plan, will be readily transferrable to plans created under the replacement legislation for the RMA.

On-going work programmes will also continue where they relate to freshwater planning, air quality and coastal hazards, including the Dynamic Adaptive Pathways Planning (DAPP) work that began in 2020.

The next step will be to prepare a Housing Plan Change to the Nelson Resource Management Plan, with an opportunity for the community to have further input once the plan change is publicly notified.