The Nelson City Council has unveiled its Draft Nelson Plan which will shape the city’s future with a focus on housing, residential intensification and climate change.
The Draft Whakamahere Whakatū Nelson Plan brings together existing resource management plans for Nelson and has been in development for about seven years.
Its first round of public engagement is open from this week until December 6. However, it will not be finalised until 2022.
“Housing and affordable housing choice is a top priority for our community,” says Mayor Rachel Reese, acknowledging the council’s need to address rising house prices and availability in the region.
The plan addresses an estimated population growth of 40,000 people and the need for 24,000 extra homes over the next 30 years.
The plan proposes a ‘medium density residential zone’ that would be a new zone for Nelson, aimed at providing a range of housing types close to the city centre.
“This plan is one of the big tools that helps us with providing opportunities for good housing development,” says Rachel.
The medium zone will enable a range of residential units to be developed. These would come in a variety of forms, from second dwellings and division of existing dwellings and two to three-storey apartments and townhouses with a height limit of 11 metres.
The medium zone encompasses existing residential zones in areas surrounding the city centre including Fairfield through to the Brook and Hampden Street, Nelson East, Washington Valley, Nelson South, Dodson Valley and Stoke.
This supports the Nelson Tasman Future Development Strategy’s findings that 60 per cent of growth should be achieved through intensification of existing urban areas.
These findings were approved by the Nelson City and Tasman District Councils in July 2019.
The council’s environment planning manager Maxine Day says climate change concerns are integrated throughout the plan.
The plan takes a risk-based management approach to mitigate the uncertainties of climate change events. Since declaring a climate emergency in May 2019, the council says it recognises the need to prioritise a consistent approach in addressing the issue.
The council are anticipating rising sea levels, heavier rain periods and intense storms, increasing the risk of coastal and river flood hazards. This will impact the council’s development of areas such as The Wood and Tāhunanui, where the risk of coastal and flood hazards and liquefaction are currently being investigated.
City councillor Brian McGurk says the plan aims to combine an out of date resource policy statement, alongside an Air Quality Plan and the council’s Nelson Resource Management Plan.
“We wanted to bring all the documents together to have a comprehensive view of what our regional council responsibilities and our territorial responsibilities are,” says Brian.
This is the first opportunity for public input into the plan which, when finalised, will guide how the city uses its natural resources.
“We want to make sure the community sees it as their plan and that it reflects their views and aspirations and how they want to see their city develop,” says Brian.
The council will be launching this feedback period with a special consultation document, which arrived in letterboxes across Nelson this Wednesday and will also be available online at shape.nelson.govt.nz.
This initial two-month engagement period is the first phase of a process enabling the community to contribute to the development of the plan, set to be finalised in 2022.
The next opportunity for public feedback will be held in early 2021.
The council will be hosting community drop-in sessions across the city from the October 15. The calendar for public drop-in sessions can be found at the above website.
“The Nelson Plan is the community’s plan. We’ve built something that we hope reflects the direction that Nelsonians want to take, in terms of looking after their environment and how they want to grow their city,” says Rachel.