Your Council

Plan Change 20A: working in the suburbs

Proposed Plan Change 20A-B includes changes to the rules for non-residential activities operating in the Residential Zone.

Working in the suburbs

A number of workplaces and other activities occupy residential suburbs. Motels, schools, doctors, community halls, places of worship, childcare centres and home businesses play an important role in economic growth and supply essential services to local neighbourhoods. However, commercial activities can impact on the neighbourhood quality. It's all about striking the right balance.

What are the proposed changes?

A number of changes are proposed to ensure that commercial activities do not impact on neighbours or neighbourhood character.


Working from Home / Home Occupations (Rule

Home business or home occupations are permitted to take place, but rules exist in regard to the scale and effects of the business  in order to protect neighbours and neighbourhood character. 

Proposed changes:  Four key changes are proposed:

  • Reducing the total area (including outdoor storage) from 75m2 to 40m2.
  • Excluding waste and offensive activities from being allowed to operate as a home occupation.
  • Introduce additional on-site car parking requirement of one per five visitors expected.
  • Restricting the number of derelict vehicles stored on the property to one.

Current Rules:   The current rules for home occupations are found here

Why is this changing:  These changes are proposed to ensure that the scale of home businesses remain in keeping with residential character and do not impact on neighbours. 


Health facilities (Rule

A number of houses have been converted into small scale health facilities.  Re-use of these buildings helps maintain the character of neighbourhoods, and the current District Plan supports this approach

Proposed change:   Changes are proposed to clarify that health facilities are permitted in converted houses, but that this does not apply if a new commercial building is being constructed.

Current rules:   The current rules are unclear as to whether these facilities are allowed to operate in a newly constructed commercial building.

Why is this changing:  This change prevents the construction of new commercial buildings in the Residential Zone as a Permitted Activity.  New commercial buildings would be assessed as a Restricted Discretionary Activity (Rule


Landscape and Planting Requirements for Non-Residential Activities

All commercial activities operating in the Residential Zone are required to comply with landscape and planting requirements to help these fit with residential character.  A review of the current provisions has highlighted some areas where the current rules are falling short.

Proposed changes:   The following changes are proposed to R10.8.1.1 Community Houses, R10.8.1.2 Accommodation Motels, R10.8.1.3 Education Facilities, R10.8.1.4 Health Facilities:

  • Street front boundary - requiring a landscaped strip with a minimum width of 1.5m, and at least 1 specimen tree planted every 10m
  • On all other boundaries - require a landscape strip with a minimum width of 2m.
  • New requirement that landscaping is to be well-maintained at all times.

Current rules:  The current standards do not require a landscape strip along the street edge.  On other boundaries, a landscape strip is not required if a solid 1.8m fence has been constructed.

Why is this changing:   Landscape planting plays an important role in helping commercial activities blend in with the character of residential areas.  These changes will help maintain residential character in Palmerston North.


Early Childhood Education facilities (Rule

Early childchood education facilities are currently permitted to operate in the Residential Zone, but that they must comply with various rules, including noise limits.  A review of recent applications has identified that meeting noise limits is not possible.  Resource consents are being required to establish early childhood education facilities as they are not able to meet noise limits.

Proposed change:   Elevate the activity status of early childhood education facilities so they will no longer be a permitted activity.

Current rules:   Early childhood education facilities are a permitted activity, but must comply with set standards.

Why is this changing:  The noise standard for residential areas prevents Early Childcare Facilities from complying.


Minor Temporary Military Training Activities (Rule

Minor temporary military training activities are provided for as a permitted activity in the current District Plan.  Changes are proposed to specifically exclude live firing of weapons, firing of blank ammunition, single or multiple explosive events. 

Proposed change:   Major changes to R10.8.10 include:

  • Exclude live firing of weapons, firing of blank ammunition, single or multiple explosive events. 
  • Introduce new noise standards.

Current rules:   Minor Temporary Military Training Activities are a permitted activity, subject to standards for:

  • Buildings and Structures
  • Excavations and Alterations to Landform
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Duration and Frequency of Activities

Why is this changing:  Changes are proposed to ensure that activities do not impact on residential amenity.