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Residential developments in Te Papa (townhouses and apartments)

We want to make it easier for people to build more compact types of homes in some parts of Te Papa, like rows of townhouses and apartment buildings.

We’ve developed a 30-year plan for growth and change along the Te Papa peninsula, which runs from Greerton through the city centre to the harbour bridge.

The plan considers how we will address our key challenges of population growth and housing choice, infrastructure pressure, transport options, cultural wellbeing and the local amenities needed to support our communities. It outlines the overall approach, priority areas of focus, anticipated benefits and required actions.

Read about the Te Papa Spatial Plan

We are proposing to provide for more housing choice in the Te Papa peninsula to enable comprehensively designed development in the form of terraced houses, townhouses and apartments. Greater heights and densities will be enabled in the City Living Zone and areas close to centres and public transport, as directed by the National Policy Statement for Urban Development. Providing that these developments meet all the rules, they will be non-notified resource consent applications without the need for neighbours’ approval

This will be introduced through a new Te Papa housing overlay, that includes properties currently zoned suburban residential and city living. The area that adjoins the city centre (northern end of Te Papa) already provides for townhouses and apartments through the city living zone. We’re now proposing to enable this type of residential development in more parts of Te Papa – in the areas within walking distance to centres, public transport, schools, open space and amenities.

New Te Papa housing overlay map (1.1mb pdf)

We’re also proposing some amendments to the existing city living zone rules, to make them more enabling of increased density while ensuring good quality development outcomes there. The rest of Te Papa will remain zoned as suburban residential and will be subject to the changes proposed to enable duplexes and terraced houses/townhouses in that zone.

Where these properties are currently zoned suburban residential, they can choose to apply the Te Papa housing overlay or suburban residential rules to their development.

What kind of dwellings could we see in parts of Te Papa?

In the parts of Te Papa identified for increased density we are proposing to enable terraced houses/townhouses (a row of three or more independent dwelling units separated by walls on one or both sides, and typically two to three storeys) and apartment buildings up to four or six storeys depending on the location of the site. Here are some examples of what they could look like.

Developing the rules for residential developments in Te Papa

To ensure new builds both look good and that they create great spaces and neighbourhoods for us all to live in, we need to put some rules in the City Plan around what townhouses and apartment building developments should look like in Te Papa, and what elements they should include to qualify as a restricted discretionary activity (simpler resource consent process required).

To do this, we used the existing City Plan rules for the city living zone as a starting point. From there we developed new rules, and amended existing rules, to better enable higher density in the defined areas, and achieve good quality outcomes for residents within townhouses and apartments and their neighbours. We’re also proposing to amend the height limit of parts of the commercial zone in Te Papa, to align it with the surrounding height requirements.

Current city living zone rules that we'd keep the same:

Current city living zone rule: Maximum fence/wall height:

  • 1.2m adjoining an open space zone/public place, or
  • within 1.5m of the road frontage boundary

Proposed rule (14D.4.2.4) for Te Papa: Same rule

Reasoning: Providing a maximum fence height in the front yard will ensure terraces/townhouses and apartments overlook the street, enhancing safety of the street and house.

Current city living zone rule: 

  • 1.5m from front and side boundary
  • 3m from rear boundary

Proposed rule (14D.4.2.5) for Te Papa: Same rule

Reasoning: The existing setback provisions are considered appropriate for this zone.

Current city living zone rule: Comprehensively designed development are restricted discretionary activities.

Proposed rule (Table 14B.1) for Te Papa: Same rule

Reasoning: We want to make sure that these developments support good urban design outcomes, on-site amenity and are appropriate for its location and neighbouring properties so that they create nice neighbourhoods where people want to live. 

City living zone rules that we'd amend:

Current city living zone rule: 

  • Minimum site area: 200m2 per independent dwelling unit
  • No density limit if site is at least 1050m2 and can contain a 25m diameter circle

Proposed rule for Te Papa: Delete existing rule (14D.4.2.2) that specifies densities and maximum density requirements

Reasoning: It is reasonable to expect greater density in the identified areas as they are close to transport linkages, services and amenities. Compliance with other rules, such as setbacks, overshadowing, outdoor living area and urban design requirements will dictate on how many dwellings are appropriate for the site without setting a density limit. This will also be determined by specific characteristics of each site, including topography and adjoining properties. 

This gives effect to the National Policy Statement on Urban Development. To support greater densities along the Te Papa peninsula, the primary focus of the Te Papa Spatial Plan is to provide support for investment in amenities, infrastructure (including transport) and other initiatives required to support and deliver sustainable growth for delivery through future long-term plans and by other organisations.

More about central government direction

Current city living zone rule: 

  • 9m max in the area delimited by Edgecumbe Road, Cameron Road, Fourth and Eighth Avenues
  • 19m max opposite Tauranga and Wharepai Domain
  • 13m max in the remainder of the city living zone

Proposed rule for Te Papa: Enable greater heights up to six storeys where it is appropriate to allow for greater intensity of buildings around key areas (Appendix 14F and rule 14D.4.2.3)

Reasoning: As required by central government through the National Policy Statement on Urban Development, we are introducing new rules along the Te Papa peninsula that will enable up to six storeys generally within 800m of the City Centre Zone and from Cameron Road which has planned rapid transit. The NPS-UD provides for defined areas where 6 storeys is inappropriate due to specific characteristics. Viewshafts, natural hazards and existing heritage sites were taken into consideration when determining appropriate heights as proposed in Appendix 14F: Te Papa Housing Overlay Maximum Heights. This allows for a greater intensity of buildings around key areas.

To support greater height proposed along the Te Papa peninsula, the Te Papa spatial plan has been adopted. The project’s primary focus is on the development of a supporting plan for investment in amenities, infrastructure (including transport) and other initiatives required to support and deliver sustainable growth for delivery through future long-term plans and by other organisations.

Current city living zone rule: 

  • No on-site parking between building and street
  • Road boundary setback must be landscaped/permeable
  • Direct pedestrian access from street
  • On-site carparking screened/landscaped from street
  • On-site parking located to side/rear of building

Proposed rule (14D.4.2.4) for Te Papa: 

  • Garages/carports designed with direct vehicle access to a road shall be set back at 5m
  • Access to the site should be off a service lane or local road where possible
  • Remove requirement for boundary setback to be landscaped permeable

Reasoning: The proposed amendments seek to maintain the safety and efficiency of the adjoining transport corridor. Landscaping requirements and pedestrian access will be looked at through the resource consent assessment criteria instead.

Current city living zone rule: Up 2.7m then at an angle of 45 degrees or 55 degrees. Does not apply to first 12m.

Proposed rule (14D.4.2.6) for Te Papa: 

  • Where a site adjoins the suburban residential zone or an open space zone less than 3000m2, the suburban residential zone overshadowing rules will apply
  • In other locations, up 5.4 m then at an angle of 45 degrees or 55 degrees.
  • Does not apply to a boundary adjoining commercial zones and, industrial zones
  • Where the encroachment adjoins a boundary that forms part of a pedestrian access or vehicle accessway, the control applies to the opposite side of the pedestrian or vehicle acceeway

Reasoning: The amendments to the rule seeks to mitigate effects of overshadowing on adjoining properties while ensuring development can occur on a site. 

Current city living zone rule

  • Max 50% can be covered by buildings
  • Max 75% can be covered by a combination of buildings, access, manoeuvring and parking areas
  • Min 25% of the site shall be designed, constructed and occupied by an outdoor developed landscape

Proposed rule for Te Papa: Remove existing building site coverage rule (14D.4.2.7). The requirements for impervious surfaces will be addressed through Plan Change 27: Flooding from intense rainfall.

Reasoning: The impervious surface rule proposed through Plan Change 27 will assist with managing stormwater linked with greater intensity of development in the identified areas in Te Papa. Building site coverage (rule removed) will be managed by achieving the other controls relevant to the zone.

Find out more about Plan Change 27: Flooding from intense rainfall

Current city living zone rule: 

  • Units at ground level: 30m2 and 3m diameter circle
  • Units above ground: 6m2 and min 2m wide
  • Directly accessible from main living area
  • Unobstructed by driveways, parking etc

Proposed rule (14D.4.2.8) for Te Papa: 

  • Units at ground level: 20m2 and 3m diameter circle
  • Units above ground:
    • studio and 1 bedroom: min 6m2 and min 1.5m wide
    • 2+ bedrooms: min 10m2 and min 1.5m wide
  • Located N, NE or NW
  • Directly accessible from main living area
  • Unobstructed by driveways, parking etc
  • Located and/or screened so that at least 50% of the outdoor living area has complete visual privacy from the living rooms and outdoor living spaces from ground floor of other dwellings on the site, and screened from adjoining sites.

Reasoning: This rule seeks to provide for a more useable space that is easily accessible to living areas and sunlight, and ensure on-site amenity for residents.

Current city living zone rule (14D.4.2.8): 

  • Min 4m2 and min 1m wide
  • Located at ground floor level
  • Screened from street

Proposed rule for Te Papa: Removing minimum service area requirements

Reasoning: This will be addressed through a matter of discretion instead to ensure that secure and conveniently accessible storage is provided for the number and type of occupants the dwelling designed to accommodate. This provides for innovation and flexibility. 

Current city living zone rule: Minimum gross floor area:

  • Studio/1 bedroom: 40m2
  • 2 bedroom: 55m2
  • 3+ bedroom: 70m2

Proposed rule (14D.4.2.2) for Te Papa: Minimum gross floor area (excluding garages): 

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

Reasoning: To provide functional houses that meet the needs of residents and can be adapted to changing needs.

Current city living zone rule: The main living area shall be provided with at least one north-facing window or doorway/accessway of at least 4m2 in an area that can admit north-facing sunlight directly onto the main living area floor, for at least 2 hours continuous on 21 June.

Proposed rule for Te Papa: No requirement (remove existing rule 14D.4.2.8)

Reasoning: The existing rule is complicated and hard to achieve. There are existing requirements in the Building Act for access to sunlight. The intent of this rule will be achieved through the visual outlook rule and the assessment criteria that relate to design outcomes.

Current city living zone rule: Provide outlook space free of buildings adjoining a main living area, studio or bedroom. Minimum dimension 6x3m from main living area. Each main living area, studio area and bedroom must have an opening window.

Proposed rule (14D.4.2.9) for Te Papa: 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.

Rules we're proposing to add:

Current city living zone rule: No rule for this currently

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

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

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

Current city living zone rule: No rule for this currently

Proposed rule (14D.4.2.10) for Te Papa:

  • Minimum waste storage area of 5m2 per unit with minimum dimension of 1m in any direction
  • Can be provided as a communal area
  • Must be easily accessible
  • Screened from street/public space

Reasoning: As sections become smaller, we need to be smarter on how we use spaces. This rule is to ensure that we provide sufficient space for waste bins.

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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