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Residential activities in the commercial zone

We want to ensure that dwellings that are built in commercial areas create both great spaces to live in, and great neighbourhoods.

We are proposing some changes to the commercial zone for residential activities to allow for greater residential living, support good urban design outcomes and onsite amenity. Providing that these developments meet all the rules, they will be non-notified resource consent applications without the need for neighbours’ approval.

What kind of residential dwellings could we see in commercial areas?

In the commercial zone we can see apartment buildings, with business or retail activities at ground floor and residential activities located above. This is an example of a building in a commercial zone, with businesses on the ground floor, and residential activities (apartments) on the first and second floors.

residential-in-commercial

Current commercial zone rules that we'd keep the same for residential activities:

Current commercial zone rule:

  • Provide veranda
  • Active frontage at ground level
  • Provide direct pedestrian access from the public footpath to the building at ground floor level

Proposed rule: Same rule

Reasoning: We're proposing to retain these rules as no issues have been raised regarding these provisions in the past.

Current commercial zone rule: Any development on the boundary between these zones must meet the overshadowing rules in the suburban residential zone.

Proposed rule: Same rule

Reasoning: We're proposing to retain these rules as no issues have been raised regarding these provisions in the past.

Current commercial zone rule: 12 metres maximum

Proposed rule: Same rule

Reasoning: We're proposing to retain this rule as Plan Change 26 focuses on residential activities. This rule will be reviewed as part of the City Plan review

Current commercial zone rules that we'd amend for residential activities: 

Current commercial zone rule: permitted activity

Proposed rule: (Table 17A.1, rule 17A.14.18 and 17A.14.19): Restricted Discretionary Activity (non-notified) 

Reasoning: We want to make sure that residential activities in the Commercial Zone support good urban outcomes and on-site amenity so that they are nice places to live.

Current commercial zone rule: 12 metres maximum

Proposed rule: Increase building heights in the Te Papa peninsula in accordance with appendix 14F (Rule 17A.11.1). 12 metres maximum will remain in the existing Commercial Zones not identified in the Te Papa housing overlay or where greater height is not considered to be appropriate.  

Reasoning: Identified areas within the existing commercial zone in Te Papa will be increased  to be consistent with the height of the surrounding residential area and avoid low height pockets of commercial land surrounded by taller residential buildings.

Current commercial zone rule: 1 dwelling per 50m2

Proposed rule: No density provision (remove the existing rule 17A.11.5)

Reasoning: It is reasonable to expect greater density in the commercial zone, as these are areas that are highly accessible to shops and amenities.

Current commercial zone rule: 

  • Residential activities must be separated from street frontage by retail or office activities to a depth of at least 15m, or 50% depth of site
  • Have front entrance facing the street

Proposed rule (17A.14.18.3):

  • Residential activities must be located above ground floor only
  • Have front entrance facing the street which is separated from the access to the business activity at ground floor

Reasoning: Residential development should not compromise the purpose of the zone, which is to provide for commercial activities.

Rules we're proposing to add for residential activities in commercial areas: 

Current commercial zone rule: No rule for this currently

Proposed rule (17A.14.18.4): 

  • 10m2 balcony, minimum 1.5m wide in any direction
  • Located N, NE or NW
  • Accessible from main living area
  • Screened from adjoining outdoor living areas

Reasoning: To provide for a useable space that is easily accessible to living areas and sunlight and ensure on-site amenity for residents.

Current commercial zone rule: No rule for this currently

Proposed rule (17A.14.18.5): Minimum gross floor area (excluding garages): 

  • Studio: 35m2
  • 1 bedroom: 45m2
  • 2+ bedroom: 60m2

Reasoning: Requiring a minimum dwelling size will provide for liveable and functional houses that meet the needs of residents and can be adapted to changing needs.

Current commercial zone rule: No rule for this currently

Proposed rule (17A.14.18.5): Provide outlook space free of buildings:

  • Min 4m x 4m from main living area or studio
  • Min 3m x 3m from principal bedroom
  • Min 1m x 1m from other habitable rooms

Reasoning: This will create separation between dwellings and windows, to ensure privacy and more on-site amenity for residents.

Current commercial zone rule: No rule for this currently

Proposed rule (4B.2.14 and appendix 4S) for:

  • Resident: 1 per 2 bedrooms
  • Visitor: 1 per 20 units

Reasoning: Cycle parking is in a lockable enclosure, garage, shelter or compound anywhere on the property. Adding this rule will support sustainable transport modes.

Urban design assessment criteria

To ensure new builds look good, meet community needs and are great spaces to live in, new policies and assessment criteria are proposed to support good urban design outcomes in the city. These will apply to comprehensively designed development in the suburban residential and city living zones and residential activities in the Commercial Zone.

We have prepared an urban design guide, the Residential Outcomes Framework, that provides guidance on how these policies and assessment criteria can be met.

Find out more on the proposed residential outcomes framework

Other assessment criteria

We’re also considering including criteria in the City Plan to address matters such as capacity of network infrastructure, and natural hazards.

Capacity of network infrastructure: An assessment to determine if appropriate infrastructure capacity (water supply, wastewater, transportation) is available in the local network to service the development will be required as part of a resource consent application.

Infrastructure capacity Natural hazards, including stormwater management

Good to know

Remember, visible change in the city through this plan change would not happen all at once. It would happen over time as development occurs across the city, as people decide to redevelop their sections in existing residential areas. Read up on the other topics we are taking into consideration as we develop this plan change:

Direction from central government More on the plan change FAQs

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