The Council is proposing to rezone the land bounded by James Line, Napier Road, Stoney Creek Road, and the southern extent of the Kelvin Grove Cemetery from a rural to a residential zone. The area will provide for the short to medium term greenfield residential growth of Palmerston North.
The area is approximately 55 hectares in size and is located outside of Palmerston North Airport air noise contours identified within the District Plan.
Policy planner, Daniel Batley, says the proposal responds positively to the City's land supply issues and the growing concerns surrounding the supply of affordable housing.
"Council is proactively planning for the City's future. The Plan provides much needed certainty to the development community on the direction of greenfield residential growth within the City. Whakarongo, in addition to existing residential land at Aokautere and Kelvin Grove will provide approximately 15 years land supply."
The Plan Change has a strong urban design focus which is supported by the following provisions:
- The Whakarongo Structure Plan - to ensure residential growth occurs in a planned and integrated manner;
- A comprehensive policy framework that both complements and enables enforcement of the Whakarongo Structure Plan;
- A restricted discretionary activity status for subdivisions;
- A requirement that subdivision applications are supported by comprehensive development plans.
The Plan Change gives effect to Council's Residential Growth Strategy (September 2010) and Addendum (September 2012) within the District Plan.
"A multi-disciplinary approach was taken," says Mr Batley, "to inform Council of the most suitable location for greenfield residential growth within Palmerston North".
Following an assessment of 18 potential growth options Council completed more detailed investigations on two sites, Whakarongo and City West.
Mr Batley says significant technical analysis was carried out prior to the recommendations being made to Council, on matters including:
- Urban design
Council was presented with the findings, including a Liquefaction Assessment completed by Tonkin & Taylor (August 2012), which found City West soil properties are susceptible to liquefaction.
"A number of uncertainties exist with regard to residential development on land susceptible to liquefaction.The exact cost and effectiveness of mitigation options remains uncertain at this time."
The report was considered by Councillors who voted in favour of progressing Whakarongo in advance of City West. City West remains an option for medium to long term residential growth subject to greater certainty regarding the cost and effectiveness of mitigation options on land prone to liquefaction and the ability of the Council to fund network infrastructure to support residential growth in this location.
Plan Change 6: Whakarongo Residential Area was notified for public consultation on Thursday 23 May and closes on Friday 21 June at 4pm, any public submissions are welcome during this period.
The submissions will be considered by Council planners who will then make recommendations to a Hearings Panel who will make the final decision on the proposal. The Hearing is likely to be scheduled for late 2013 or early 2014.