Under new legislation, the Housing Accords and Special Housing
Areas Act 2013 ("the Act") identifies that more land must be opened
up for residential development in Tauranga and the Western Bay of
Plenty in order to curb the housing supply and affordability issues
facing the region.
Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith clarified this in a recent
statement, as follows
"The major housing challenge in Tauranga and the Western Bay of
Plenty is managing projected population growth of 64,000 people
over the next 20 years. This will require an additional 1,300
homes per year, but only 800 per year have been built over the past
5 years, contributing to high house prices."
The Act sets out that land opened up for residential
development must comply with the following:
The development must be located where there is existing
infrastructure within the defined special housing area.
The development must not be higher than six storeys' high and 27
metres in height.
The development must contain not fewer than the prescribed
minimum number of dwellings to be built as well as contain not less
than the prescribed percentage of affordable dwellings.
As to what these prescribed covenants will be are yet to be
agreed upon by the Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty
District Council with the Housing Minister. Should an agreement not
be reached, the Governor General may by Order in Council on the
recommendation of the Housing Minister prescribe the covenants to
be enforced under the Act.
The Act provides a significantly different regime to that under
the Resource Management Act 1991. It offers to streamline the
resource consenting process and fast track an applicant's
application. It also restricts a person's right to appeal the
Council's decision to the Environment Court or by judicial review
if the development built is 3 or less storeys high. Such benefits
are only available until 16 September 2016.