District Plan Review Stage Two - Spatial Plans Implementation & Light

District Plan Review - Stage Two

Mackenzie District Council is planning for the future with a review of the Mackenzie District Plan

We’re updating the District Plan to ensure we can grow in a sustainable way, while protecting the things that make the Mackenzie District special. We have now begun Stage Two of the Review, which covers the urban parts of the district including the following issues:

  • Lighting
  • Workers Accommodation
  • Visitor Accommodation
  • Zoning changes
  • Design Guidelines

This stage will be notified as a Plan Change, most likely to be Plan Change 21.


Lighting

Overview

Maintaining the darkness of the night sky is a key issue for the Mackenzie District. The Mackenzie region is internationally recognised as one of the best sites for viewing and researching the night sky and dark sky tourism is a significant attraction for visitors and source of income for the community.

The darkness of the night sky can be reduced by light pollution which can brighten the sky and hide the stars, the aurora and other faint natural lights. Control of light pollution is necessary to maintain Mackenzie’s famous dark skies.

The current District Plan includes rules around lighting that are aimed at managing the impacts of lighting on the night sky and, to a lesser extent, controlling the potential negative effects of outdoor lighting on neighbouring properties and roads.

The rules currently apply within the Aoraki Makenzie International Dark Sky Reserve (AMIDR). This excludes townships in the Eastern Mackenzie, including Burkes Pass, as well as the western and northern-most rural areas of the district, including the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.

Issues with the current rules

While the current rules go some way towards controlling light pollution, there are several shortcomings, including:

  • They only apply in some areas of the district. While this reflects the current AMIDR area, there is a desire for the dark sky rules to be expanded across the whole district.
  • They only apply to outdoor lighting. Indoor lighting also has the potential to result in light pollution, including skylights, lights from an open bay shed, verandas, open car ports and display windows in commercial areas.
  • They pre-date the use of LED lamps, some of which contain more blue and green light which can result in increased light pollution.
  • In terms of controlling potential nuisance effects of outdoor lighting, the current District Plan (unlike many others) does not currently include light limits to restrict the amount of light spill onto neighbouring properties. The existing controls around outdoor lighting also only apply in the AMIDR despite them not being related to protecting the night sky darkness (at present).

Potential options to address these issues

The following options have been identified as ways of addressing the issues identified and protecting Mackenzie’s dark skies:

  1. Apply the lighting rules district-wide, to ensure that nuisance effects are better managed, and that the potential effects of light pollution on night sky darkness are managed in the same way throughout the District.
  2. Extend the rules to cover light spill from interior lighting, particularly skylights.
  3. Update the rules, in line with advice received from Canterbury University, to better manage things like security lighting and to bring the controls up to date in relation to LED lighting.

We are also considering including light spill limits across the district, consistent with other plans, to better address nuisance effects on residential amenity from light spill between properties.

It is acknowledged that all of these options would increase the level of control on lighting, including introducing controls in areas within the district that currently do not have any.


Workers Accommodation

Overview

The ability to provide accommodation to employees is important to businesses across the district, particularly those involved in the tourism industry.

In towns like Tekapo and Twizel, specific workers accommodation for seasonal or short-term visiting workers, rather than for employees that are permanent residents is in short supply.

While the Mackenzie Spatial Plans do not identify specific areas for workers accommodation, they note that the community had made it clear that they want to see provision for workers accommodation.

Issues with the current rules

  • At present the District Plan does not identify workers accommodation as a separate activity, and therefore it is treated as a residential activity (where the length of stay is greater than three months) or visitor accommodation (where less than three months).
  • There are no specific limits on the scale of workers accommodation in the residential zones, i.e. a house for any number of workers is permitted, provided that the bulk and location standards are met. For example, a 10-bedroom building, with shared kitchen facilities, accommodating up to 20 workers with 10 ensuites could be established as a permitted activity in any of the district’s residential zones.
    Workers accommodation at this scale can have positive effects in terms of providing targeted accommodation for seasonal / short-term workers and supporting tourism operators. However it can also have adverse effects including pressure on infrastructure, amenity effects and increased traffic effects.
  • Despite the rule framework being generally permissive for workers accommodation, limited purpose-built workers accommodation buildings have actually been constructed. A possible reason for this is the amount of housing stock being used for short-term visitor accommodation as buildings can be rented per night rather than on a weekly basis, for greater financial returns.

Potential options to address these issues

A key question for the District Plan review is whether workers accommodation should be clearly defined in the Plan and treated differently to residential activity. If it is treated differently, then further consideration needs to be given to how it is managed. Options include:

Location

  • Enabling workers accommodation in any area where residential activity is anticipated. This would be more flexible for establishing workers accommodation and is likely to better support the tourism industry, but could have impacts on neighbours (depending on controls applied).
  • Enabling workers accommodation in specific areas only, for example medium density zones. This is a less flexible approach, but would send a clearer signal about where workers accommodation is desirable and potentially incentivise its development in these areas.

Bulk and location controls

  • Managing workers accommodation the same as for residential activities. This would help to ensure that any buildings maintain the existing residential character and densities.
  • Allowing more permissive bulk and location standards, such as yard set backs, height controls or height to boundary ratios. This could encourage the establishment of purpose-built workers accommodation.

Scale controls

  • Do not limit scale. This would be targeted at establishing workers accommodation, but could lead to adverse effects, including pressure on infrastructure and increased traffic effects without the ability to consider and manage these through a consent process.
  • Place limits on the permitted level of development, such as the number of people or bedrooms. Beyond these limits, greater scale could be considered, but through a resource consent process. This would allow for adverse effects of larger-scale accommodation to be considered and managed through a consent process, while still encouraging smaller-scale developments.
  • If enabled in more than one residential zone, apply different limits in different zones. For example, lower limits could be applied in the Large Lot and Low Density Residential Zones and higher limits/no limit in Medium Density Residential Zone.
    This is similar to the above for areas where a limit is applied. It would be likely to encourage greater development of workers accommodation in the zones where a higher/no limit is applied. However, it would not allow for any site specific matters or controls to be considered through a consent process in these areas.


Visitor Accommodation

Overview

Visitor Accommodation (VA), whether it be commercial accommodation such as motels and hotels, or residential accommodation such as holiday home rentals and Airbnb, is important for supporting tourism activities in the district, and the economic wellbeing of the community. Short term residential VA also allows residents to help supplement their income through the letting out of their home or rooms within their home.

However, there are a range of effects associated with VA, including traffic, parking and noise, as well as increased pressure on infrastructure which causes increased costs on the ratepayer. In traditional residential areas, increased VA activity can also affect the sense of residential amenity and impact the fabric of the community.

The Mackenzie Spatial Plans identified areas for higher density visitor accommodation, such as hotels and motels, but left controls on residential visitor accommodation to be addressed through the District Plan review.

Issues

  • Under the current District Plan, all forms of VA (excluding homestays) are treated the same, so short-term letting of residential properties (such as Airbnb) are treated the same as a motel or hotel.
  • This doesn’t take into account that the effects of a standalone house being rented out for short term visitor accommodation are usually different to the effects of multiple purpose-built visitor accommodation facilities and purpose-built motels and hotels, in terms of appearance, traffic volumes and carparking etc.
  • In broad terms, while the District Plan enables some development of visitor accommodation within the District, the actual rate and scale has been much higher than expected, and has not always been in the locations that may have been anticipated.
  • The District Plan includes specific zones, the Tourist Zone and Travellers Accommodation Zone, that are aimed at providing for visitor accommodation. However, they also allow for residential development. In the Tourist Zone in particular, residential activities are subject to less stringent controls than those applying to residential development in other zones. This has led to development which is largely residential in character, rather than a broad range of visitor-orientated activities. The rules regarding built form in these zones are more permissive, so the intensity of built form and activities in this area is higher, which can reduce the amenity for residents.
  • Development of visitor accommodation has also occurred within residential or other zones where land tends to be less expensive. Within the Residential 1, 3, and 4 Zones, the way the rules currently work allows for a single site to contain the following without requiring a resource consent:
    • one residential unit
    • one minor unit
    • visitor accommodation for up to six guests.
  • This has led to greater amount of ‘development’ per site than might have been expected.
  • Another issue arising from the current District Plan is that the built form controls apply different for different activities – rather than applying the same controls to any building regardless of its intended use.

Potential Options to Address Issues

There are various options for how the District Plan Review can address visitor accommodation and many of these are interrelated – as such they will need to be considered in an integrated way. It is important to note that visitor accommodation that is already lawfully established or has a resource consent will have existing use rights - and will be able to continue to operate following the DP Review.

Differentiating Different Types of Visitor Accommodation

  1. Status Quo – Treat holiday homes the same as hotel and motels. This approach is unlikely to address the issues outlined above and does not acknowledge that visitor accommodation based in a residential unit has different effects to more commercial forms of accommodation.
  2. Define ‘residential visitor accommodation’ and treat it distinctly from other forms of visitor accommodation. This approach allows management to be better targeted to the different types of effects residential visitor accommodation has.

If ‘residential visitor accommodation’ is treated distinctly from other forms of visitor accommodation, there are further considerations regarding how it is managed. A number of these controls are not mutually exclusive and a combination of them may be best.

Location

  1. Enable residential visitor accommodation across all residential zones. This would provide a greater number of property owners the opportunity to receive income from short-term rentals, but could result in a loss of ‘residential coherence’ (permanent residential neighbours).
  2. Limit residential visitor accommodation to certain areas (e.g. specific zones only, or across zones but in specifically identified areas). This would better provide for residential coherence in areas where residential visitor accommodation is not enabled, but would not have an impact where residential visitor accommodation has already been established and areas are already characterised by a mix of residential and residential visitor accommodation activities. There would also be less opportunity for property owners without existing property rights to obtain income from short-term rentals.

Controls

  1. Apply the same bulk and location controls as apply to residential activities – including only allowing one main unit per site. This is consistent with best practise, which applies the same controls to any building regardless of its use, and better ensures that the scale of any development is consistent with what is anticipated by underlying zone. However, it would reduce development opportunities from those provided in the current District Plan.
  2. Require resource consent in all instances. This would allow for case-by-case consideration of the effects of any residential visitor accommodation, including in relation to residential coherence, but is a more costly and complex approach for those looking to use their property for residential visitor accommodation.
  3. Where resource consent is not required, require registration of use of property as visitor accommodation with Council. This would provide a record of what properties are being used for visitor accommodation, but could be costly to monitor/enforce.
  4. Limit the permitted number of guests - in all areas. This is similar to the current approach for Residential 1, 3 & 4 zones, but not for the Residential 2 or Tourist Zone. It allows a site to be rented to a small family or group that would be similar in scale to a large household. It would allow for better case-by-case consideration of accommodation, including management of effects. However, the approach might disincentivise larger-scale accommodation being provided in some situations.
  5. Limit the permitted number of guests - in some areas only (e.g. not in Medium Density). This is similar to the current approach in the Residential 2 zone and allows for increased residential visitor accommodation to be provided in areas close to town centres and where a greater intensity of development is anticipated. This approach (on its own) does not allow for any site-specific matters or controls to be considered through a consent process.
  6. Limit the number of permitted visitor nights. This approach is taken in other district plans and would reduce some effects arising from visitor accommodation, such as increased pressure on infrastructure. However, it is a less efficient use of housing stock if properties remain vacant for longer periods, and is not expected to address effects on residential coherence as a site could still be used for short-stay accommodation, not by permanent residents. It is also difficult to monitor/enforce and would result in different rules applying to newer accommodation than those already established.
  7. Require a noise management plan to be developed. This may help address noise effects associated with visitor accommodation, but could have increased monitoring and enforcement requirements. The latter could be overcome by only requiring it where a resource consent is otherwise triggered.


Zoning Changes

Overview

The Operative District Plan currently includes 29 zones in total, the majority of which are located within urban areas.

This is a high number of zones given the population of the district. It creates a complex framework for plan users, which may not be necessary to achieve the outcomes sought for each zone. While each zone has its own set of rules, in some cases, there is limited distinction between zones, or the distinctions could be retained but without the need for a completely different zone.

The Mackenzie Spatial Plans propose rationalising the number of zones used, identifying the following:

  • a single rural residential zone
  • three residential zones (medium density, low density and large lot)
  • a high density residential/mixed use zone
  • three main business zones (retail, large format retail and industrial)
  • two open space zones (open space and natural open space)
  • areas for specific types of activities (visitor accommodation; community facilities; and utilities).

Zoning Approach

The District Plan review presents an opportunity to implement the Spatial Plan zoning and in doing so simplify the approach taken to zoning.

In addition to what zoning is applied, the review will also consider how activities within each zone are managed. In broad terms, while different zones in the current District Plan have different focuses, including different types of residential, commercial and industrial activities, the actual rule framework is generally very permissive and allows, in many zones, for a range of activities to be established.

The objectives and policies for each zone lack clear direction about the outcomes sought for each zone and therefore provide limited guidance about what is and isn’t expected in different areas.

Through the District Plan Review, the framework for each zone – objectives, policies and rules – can be better targeted to more clearly set out what is anticipated in each zone. This is likely to mean that the rules are less ‘permissive’ than they are now, but with greater certainty provided about what to expect in each area.

While the District Plan review will largely look to apply the zoning identified in the Spatial Plans, it is unlikely that those areas identified for visitor accommodation, community facilities and utilities will be implemented through specific ‘zones’, because national direction does not allow for specific zones for these activities. However, we will be looking at other ways that we can enable these activities in the right locations and therefore meet the intent of the Spatial Plans.


Township expansions

The Spatial Plans identified areas within the current urban boundary earmarked for intensification, as well as signalling areas where townships could expand. Collectively, this is expected to provide for anticipated growth in each township over the next 30 years - which is beyond the 10-year life of a District Plan. As part of the District Plan review, we need to confirm that the areas identified for expansion are suitable and consider in more detail how the effects of any expansion are best managed. This includes considering whether we need to rezone all of these areas now, or leave some for future processes.

At the moment, we are gathering technical information on these areas to help inform these decisions, as well as talking to the landowners and will keep the community updated on this.

Smaller Settlements – Burkes Pass/ Te Kopi-O-Ōpihi, Kimbell and Albury

The rural settlements of Burkes Pass/ Te Kopi-O-Ōpihi, Kimbell and Albury are currently zoned Residential 1. The Mackenzie Spatial Plans propose low density residential zoning for these areas, but also identify specific areas for commercial activities, and in Albury, two ‘light industrial’ areas.

Through the District Plan Review, these specific zones could be applied to the areas delineated in the Spatial Plans. However, an alternate option is to apply a ‘Settlement Zone’ to whole township. In other district plans that use a Settlement Zone for smaller urban areas, the framework generally provides primarily for residential activities, but also allows for small-scale non-residential activities that serve the local community, with limits on things like building size and hours of operation to minimise impacts on the surrounding area.

The key difference between these two options is that a Settlement Zone would allow non-residential activities (subject to scale and management of effects) throughout the township, whereas a commercial zoning would limit development to specified areas. Under both options the predominant character of the Townships would remain residential.


Design Guidelines

Design guidelines are used to promote good design principles that achieve high-quality, high-amenity development.

The Mackenzie Spatial Plans propose that more land within the existing urban areas of Fairlie, Tekapo|Takapō and Twizel is zoned Medium Density Residential, allowing for a greater scale of redevelopment and infill to occur. An area in Tekapo|Takapō is also identified for High Density Residential/Mixed Use. The Spatial Plans anticipated that specific design guidelines would be developed alongside the District Plan review, to support the new District Plan and ensure new housing, particularly at higher densities, complements the landscape and fits the look and feel of the town.

Through the District Plan review, Council is proposing to prepare guidelines for medium and high density residential development, to help developers achieve good quality housing that respects neighbours and is well integrated into the neighbourhood. These guidelines could be contained within the District Plan itself, or otherwise integrate with the framework of the zone.

The current District Plan contains a Design Guide for Lake Tekapo. This currently applies to some but not all zones within the Lake Tekapo|Takapō urban area. The guide is also a mix of outcomes and directions; principles and considerations for built development; and standards/rules. Aspects of the Design Guide also do not appear to be all that applicable to Lake Tekapo|Takapō.

As part of the District Plan review the current approach to the design guide will be reviewed, particularly in terms of:

  • updating the guide so that it is fit-for-purpose
  • determining what standards should be applied to development in Lake Tekapo through the rule framework
  • where the standards and guide should apply.

We will come back to the community to seek feedback on the use and nature of Design Guidelines, but if you have an initial view fill please email districtplan@mackenzie.govt.nz and let us know what you think.

District Plan Review - Stage Two

Mackenzie District Council is planning for the future with a review of the Mackenzie District Plan

We’re updating the District Plan to ensure we can grow in a sustainable way, while protecting the things that make the Mackenzie District special. We have now begun Stage Two of the Review, which covers the urban parts of the district including the following issues:

  • Lighting
  • Workers Accommodation
  • Visitor Accommodation
  • Zoning changes
  • Design Guidelines

This stage will be notified as a Plan Change, most likely to be Plan Change 21.


Lighting

Overview

Maintaining the darkness of the night sky is a key issue for the Mackenzie District. The Mackenzie region is internationally recognised as one of the best sites for viewing and researching the night sky and dark sky tourism is a significant attraction for visitors and source of income for the community.

The darkness of the night sky can be reduced by light pollution which can brighten the sky and hide the stars, the aurora and other faint natural lights. Control of light pollution is necessary to maintain Mackenzie’s famous dark skies.

The current District Plan includes rules around lighting that are aimed at managing the impacts of lighting on the night sky and, to a lesser extent, controlling the potential negative effects of outdoor lighting on neighbouring properties and roads.

The rules currently apply within the Aoraki Makenzie International Dark Sky Reserve (AMIDR). This excludes townships in the Eastern Mackenzie, including Burkes Pass, as well as the western and northern-most rural areas of the district, including the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.

Issues with the current rules

While the current rules go some way towards controlling light pollution, there are several shortcomings, including:

  • They only apply in some areas of the district. While this reflects the current AMIDR area, there is a desire for the dark sky rules to be expanded across the whole district.
  • They only apply to outdoor lighting. Indoor lighting also has the potential to result in light pollution, including skylights, lights from an open bay shed, verandas, open car ports and display windows in commercial areas.
  • They pre-date the use of LED lamps, some of which contain more blue and green light which can result in increased light pollution.
  • In terms of controlling potential nuisance effects of outdoor lighting, the current District Plan (unlike many others) does not currently include light limits to restrict the amount of light spill onto neighbouring properties. The existing controls around outdoor lighting also only apply in the AMIDR despite them not being related to protecting the night sky darkness (at present).

Potential options to address these issues

The following options have been identified as ways of addressing the issues identified and protecting Mackenzie’s dark skies:

  1. Apply the lighting rules district-wide, to ensure that nuisance effects are better managed, and that the potential effects of light pollution on night sky darkness are managed in the same way throughout the District.
  2. Extend the rules to cover light spill from interior lighting, particularly skylights.
  3. Update the rules, in line with advice received from Canterbury University, to better manage things like security lighting and to bring the controls up to date in relation to LED lighting.

We are also considering including light spill limits across the district, consistent with other plans, to better address nuisance effects on residential amenity from light spill between properties.

It is acknowledged that all of these options would increase the level of control on lighting, including introducing controls in areas within the district that currently do not have any.


Workers Accommodation

Overview

The ability to provide accommodation to employees is important to businesses across the district, particularly those involved in the tourism industry.

In towns like Tekapo and Twizel, specific workers accommodation for seasonal or short-term visiting workers, rather than for employees that are permanent residents is in short supply.

While the Mackenzie Spatial Plans do not identify specific areas for workers accommodation, they note that the community had made it clear that they want to see provision for workers accommodation.

Issues with the current rules

  • At present the District Plan does not identify workers accommodation as a separate activity, and therefore it is treated as a residential activity (where the length of stay is greater than three months) or visitor accommodation (where less than three months).
  • There are no specific limits on the scale of workers accommodation in the residential zones, i.e. a house for any number of workers is permitted, provided that the bulk and location standards are met. For example, a 10-bedroom building, with shared kitchen facilities, accommodating up to 20 workers with 10 ensuites could be established as a permitted activity in any of the district’s residential zones.
    Workers accommodation at this scale can have positive effects in terms of providing targeted accommodation for seasonal / short-term workers and supporting tourism operators. However it can also have adverse effects including pressure on infrastructure, amenity effects and increased traffic effects.
  • Despite the rule framework being generally permissive for workers accommodation, limited purpose-built workers accommodation buildings have actually been constructed. A possible reason for this is the amount of housing stock being used for short-term visitor accommodation as buildings can be rented per night rather than on a weekly basis, for greater financial returns.

Potential options to address these issues

A key question for the District Plan review is whether workers accommodation should be clearly defined in the Plan and treated differently to residential activity. If it is treated differently, then further consideration needs to be given to how it is managed. Options include:

Location

  • Enabling workers accommodation in any area where residential activity is anticipated. This would be more flexible for establishing workers accommodation and is likely to better support the tourism industry, but could have impacts on neighbours (depending on controls applied).
  • Enabling workers accommodation in specific areas only, for example medium density zones. This is a less flexible approach, but would send a clearer signal about where workers accommodation is desirable and potentially incentivise its development in these areas.

Bulk and location controls

  • Managing workers accommodation the same as for residential activities. This would help to ensure that any buildings maintain the existing residential character and densities.
  • Allowing more permissive bulk and location standards, such as yard set backs, height controls or height to boundary ratios. This could encourage the establishment of purpose-built workers accommodation.

Scale controls

  • Do not limit scale. This would be targeted at establishing workers accommodation, but could lead to adverse effects, including pressure on infrastructure and increased traffic effects without the ability to consider and manage these through a consent process.
  • Place limits on the permitted level of development, such as the number of people or bedrooms. Beyond these limits, greater scale could be considered, but through a resource consent process. This would allow for adverse effects of larger-scale accommodation to be considered and managed through a consent process, while still encouraging smaller-scale developments.
  • If enabled in more than one residential zone, apply different limits in different zones. For example, lower limits could be applied in the Large Lot and Low Density Residential Zones and higher limits/no limit in Medium Density Residential Zone.
    This is similar to the above for areas where a limit is applied. It would be likely to encourage greater development of workers accommodation in the zones where a higher/no limit is applied. However, it would not allow for any site specific matters or controls to be considered through a consent process in these areas.


Visitor Accommodation

Overview

Visitor Accommodation (VA), whether it be commercial accommodation such as motels and hotels, or residential accommodation such as holiday home rentals and Airbnb, is important for supporting tourism activities in the district, and the economic wellbeing of the community. Short term residential VA also allows residents to help supplement their income through the letting out of their home or rooms within their home.

However, there are a range of effects associated with VA, including traffic, parking and noise, as well as increased pressure on infrastructure which causes increased costs on the ratepayer. In traditional residential areas, increased VA activity can also affect the sense of residential amenity and impact the fabric of the community.

The Mackenzie Spatial Plans identified areas for higher density visitor accommodation, such as hotels and motels, but left controls on residential visitor accommodation to be addressed through the District Plan review.

Issues

  • Under the current District Plan, all forms of VA (excluding homestays) are treated the same, so short-term letting of residential properties (such as Airbnb) are treated the same as a motel or hotel.
  • This doesn’t take into account that the effects of a standalone house being rented out for short term visitor accommodation are usually different to the effects of multiple purpose-built visitor accommodation facilities and purpose-built motels and hotels, in terms of appearance, traffic volumes and carparking etc.
  • In broad terms, while the District Plan enables some development of visitor accommodation within the District, the actual rate and scale has been much higher than expected, and has not always been in the locations that may have been anticipated.
  • The District Plan includes specific zones, the Tourist Zone and Travellers Accommodation Zone, that are aimed at providing for visitor accommodation. However, they also allow for residential development. In the Tourist Zone in particular, residential activities are subject to less stringent controls than those applying to residential development in other zones. This has led to development which is largely residential in character, rather than a broad range of visitor-orientated activities. The rules regarding built form in these zones are more permissive, so the intensity of built form and activities in this area is higher, which can reduce the amenity for residents.
  • Development of visitor accommodation has also occurred within residential or other zones where land tends to be less expensive. Within the Residential 1, 3, and 4 Zones, the way the rules currently work allows for a single site to contain the following without requiring a resource consent:
    • one residential unit
    • one minor unit
    • visitor accommodation for up to six guests.
  • This has led to greater amount of ‘development’ per site than might have been expected.
  • Another issue arising from the current District Plan is that the built form controls apply different for different activities – rather than applying the same controls to any building regardless of its intended use.

Potential Options to Address Issues

There are various options for how the District Plan Review can address visitor accommodation and many of these are interrelated – as such they will need to be considered in an integrated way. It is important to note that visitor accommodation that is already lawfully established or has a resource consent will have existing use rights - and will be able to continue to operate following the DP Review.

Differentiating Different Types of Visitor Accommodation

  1. Status Quo – Treat holiday homes the same as hotel and motels. This approach is unlikely to address the issues outlined above and does not acknowledge that visitor accommodation based in a residential unit has different effects to more commercial forms of accommodation.
  2. Define ‘residential visitor accommodation’ and treat it distinctly from other forms of visitor accommodation. This approach allows management to be better targeted to the different types of effects residential visitor accommodation has.

If ‘residential visitor accommodation’ is treated distinctly from other forms of visitor accommodation, there are further considerations regarding how it is managed. A number of these controls are not mutually exclusive and a combination of them may be best.

Location

  1. Enable residential visitor accommodation across all residential zones. This would provide a greater number of property owners the opportunity to receive income from short-term rentals, but could result in a loss of ‘residential coherence’ (permanent residential neighbours).
  2. Limit residential visitor accommodation to certain areas (e.g. specific zones only, or across zones but in specifically identified areas). This would better provide for residential coherence in areas where residential visitor accommodation is not enabled, but would not have an impact where residential visitor accommodation has already been established and areas are already characterised by a mix of residential and residential visitor accommodation activities. There would also be less opportunity for property owners without existing property rights to obtain income from short-term rentals.

Controls

  1. Apply the same bulk and location controls as apply to residential activities – including only allowing one main unit per site. This is consistent with best practise, which applies the same controls to any building regardless of its use, and better ensures that the scale of any development is consistent with what is anticipated by underlying zone. However, it would reduce development opportunities from those provided in the current District Plan.
  2. Require resource consent in all instances. This would allow for case-by-case consideration of the effects of any residential visitor accommodation, including in relation to residential coherence, but is a more costly and complex approach for those looking to use their property for residential visitor accommodation.
  3. Where resource consent is not required, require registration of use of property as visitor accommodation with Council. This would provide a record of what properties are being used for visitor accommodation, but could be costly to monitor/enforce.
  4. Limit the permitted number of guests - in all areas. This is similar to the current approach for Residential 1, 3 & 4 zones, but not for the Residential 2 or Tourist Zone. It allows a site to be rented to a small family or group that would be similar in scale to a large household. It would allow for better case-by-case consideration of accommodation, including management of effects. However, the approach might disincentivise larger-scale accommodation being provided in some situations.
  5. Limit the permitted number of guests - in some areas only (e.g. not in Medium Density). This is similar to the current approach in the Residential 2 zone and allows for increased residential visitor accommodation to be provided in areas close to town centres and where a greater intensity of development is anticipated. This approach (on its own) does not allow for any site-specific matters or controls to be considered through a consent process.
  6. Limit the number of permitted visitor nights. This approach is taken in other district plans and would reduce some effects arising from visitor accommodation, such as increased pressure on infrastructure. However, it is a less efficient use of housing stock if properties remain vacant for longer periods, and is not expected to address effects on residential coherence as a site could still be used for short-stay accommodation, not by permanent residents. It is also difficult to monitor/enforce and would result in different rules applying to newer accommodation than those already established.
  7. Require a noise management plan to be developed. This may help address noise effects associated with visitor accommodation, but could have increased monitoring and enforcement requirements. The latter could be overcome by only requiring it where a resource consent is otherwise triggered.


Zoning Changes

Overview

The Operative District Plan currently includes 29 zones in total, the majority of which are located within urban areas.

This is a high number of zones given the population of the district. It creates a complex framework for plan users, which may not be necessary to achieve the outcomes sought for each zone. While each zone has its own set of rules, in some cases, there is limited distinction between zones, or the distinctions could be retained but without the need for a completely different zone.

The Mackenzie Spatial Plans propose rationalising the number of zones used, identifying the following:

  • a single rural residential zone
  • three residential zones (medium density, low density and large lot)
  • a high density residential/mixed use zone
  • three main business zones (retail, large format retail and industrial)
  • two open space zones (open space and natural open space)
  • areas for specific types of activities (visitor accommodation; community facilities; and utilities).

Zoning Approach

The District Plan review presents an opportunity to implement the Spatial Plan zoning and in doing so simplify the approach taken to zoning.

In addition to what zoning is applied, the review will also consider how activities within each zone are managed. In broad terms, while different zones in the current District Plan have different focuses, including different types of residential, commercial and industrial activities, the actual rule framework is generally very permissive and allows, in many zones, for a range of activities to be established.

The objectives and policies for each zone lack clear direction about the outcomes sought for each zone and therefore provide limited guidance about what is and isn’t expected in different areas.

Through the District Plan Review, the framework for each zone – objectives, policies and rules – can be better targeted to more clearly set out what is anticipated in each zone. This is likely to mean that the rules are less ‘permissive’ than they are now, but with greater certainty provided about what to expect in each area.

While the District Plan review will largely look to apply the zoning identified in the Spatial Plans, it is unlikely that those areas identified for visitor accommodation, community facilities and utilities will be implemented through specific ‘zones’, because national direction does not allow for specific zones for these activities. However, we will be looking at other ways that we can enable these activities in the right locations and therefore meet the intent of the Spatial Plans.


Township expansions

The Spatial Plans identified areas within the current urban boundary earmarked for intensification, as well as signalling areas where townships could expand. Collectively, this is expected to provide for anticipated growth in each township over the next 30 years - which is beyond the 10-year life of a District Plan. As part of the District Plan review, we need to confirm that the areas identified for expansion are suitable and consider in more detail how the effects of any expansion are best managed. This includes considering whether we need to rezone all of these areas now, or leave some for future processes.

At the moment, we are gathering technical information on these areas to help inform these decisions, as well as talking to the landowners and will keep the community updated on this.

Smaller Settlements – Burkes Pass/ Te Kopi-O-Ōpihi, Kimbell and Albury

The rural settlements of Burkes Pass/ Te Kopi-O-Ōpihi, Kimbell and Albury are currently zoned Residential 1. The Mackenzie Spatial Plans propose low density residential zoning for these areas, but also identify specific areas for commercial activities, and in Albury, two ‘light industrial’ areas.

Through the District Plan Review, these specific zones could be applied to the areas delineated in the Spatial Plans. However, an alternate option is to apply a ‘Settlement Zone’ to whole township. In other district plans that use a Settlement Zone for smaller urban areas, the framework generally provides primarily for residential activities, but also allows for small-scale non-residential activities that serve the local community, with limits on things like building size and hours of operation to minimise impacts on the surrounding area.

The key difference between these two options is that a Settlement Zone would allow non-residential activities (subject to scale and management of effects) throughout the township, whereas a commercial zoning would limit development to specified areas. Under both options the predominant character of the Townships would remain residential.


Design Guidelines

Design guidelines are used to promote good design principles that achieve high-quality, high-amenity development.

The Mackenzie Spatial Plans propose that more land within the existing urban areas of Fairlie, Tekapo|Takapō and Twizel is zoned Medium Density Residential, allowing for a greater scale of redevelopment and infill to occur. An area in Tekapo|Takapō is also identified for High Density Residential/Mixed Use. The Spatial Plans anticipated that specific design guidelines would be developed alongside the District Plan review, to support the new District Plan and ensure new housing, particularly at higher densities, complements the landscape and fits the look and feel of the town.

Through the District Plan review, Council is proposing to prepare guidelines for medium and high density residential development, to help developers achieve good quality housing that respects neighbours and is well integrated into the neighbourhood. These guidelines could be contained within the District Plan itself, or otherwise integrate with the framework of the zone.

The current District Plan contains a Design Guide for Lake Tekapo. This currently applies to some but not all zones within the Lake Tekapo|Takapō urban area. The guide is also a mix of outcomes and directions; principles and considerations for built development; and standards/rules. Aspects of the Design Guide also do not appear to be all that applicable to Lake Tekapo|Takapō.

As part of the District Plan review the current approach to the design guide will be reviewed, particularly in terms of:

  • updating the guide so that it is fit-for-purpose
  • determining what standards should be applied to development in Lake Tekapo through the rule framework
  • where the standards and guide should apply.

We will come back to the community to seek feedback on the use and nature of Design Guidelines, but if you have an initial view fill please email districtplan@mackenzie.govt.nz and let us know what you think.

Page last updated: 13 Jun 2022, 09:11 AM