Changes for housing in Te Puke and Ōmokoroa
Tuesday 16 August 2022
New rules that allow sites to have three homes up to three storeys high are set to be introduced in Te Puke and Ōmokoroa.
The changes, being driven by central government, are being formally notified on Saturday 20 August 2022. As a result, Western Bay of Plenty District Council has to replace some local planning rules in these areas to help accelerate much-needed housing.
The rules, known as the Medium Density Residential Standards (or MDRS), allow more houses to be built in existing residential areas across Te Puke and Ōmokoroa, where they have existing access to the infrastructure, amenities, and community facilities. Homes that meet the standards do not require resource consents. Building consents will still be required.
Council’s Group Manager Community and Strategy, Rachael Davie, says changes won’t be visible overnight, but Te Puke and Ōmokoroa may look a bit different in a decade.
“The changing rules make it possible for us to imagine these areas with townhouses, units in backyards, and properties with more homes on them.”
“We spoke to these communities earlier this year and asked them what housing options they wanted to see, and what characteristics of their neighbourhoods they wanted to retain. For Te Puke, it was about providing for multigenerational whānau and seasonal workers, while Ōmokoroa wanted to see options for elderly whānau and first home buyers.
“While this is central government led change we need to be as proactive as possible to safeguard our District and make sure it progresses in a way that suits our communities.”
Building consents are still required under the new rules. There are nine criteria that must be met for the activity to be permitted, including height restrictions, and having a minimum of 20m2 of outdoor living space.
“The rules which we’re formally notifying this week will help us to meet demands for housing, while safeguarding the parts of Te Puke and Ōmokoroa locals have fallen in love with, including the green spaces and small town or village vibes,” says Rachael.
These standards are being introduced around the motu (country) in relevant residential zones in major cities including Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Tauranga, and Christchurch. Other areas with acute housing needs may also be introducing the standards.
The new standards are only being applied in Te Puke and Ōmokoroa as they are the only towns in the Western Bay that fit the brief for central government’s new law, as towns with a population that is planned to be more than 10,000 people.
In addition to the intensification changes, Council is providing for growth by adding new residential areas to Te Puke and Ōmokoroa. In Ōmokoroa we are also providing additional industrial land, a new Natural Open Space Zone to protect the gullies, and a large active reserve across from the planned new primary and secondary school.
All new development will be guided by Council’s newly created how-to guide for designing quality neighbourhoods. The Residential Design Outcomes is a design framework for new development, that will facilitate the construction of high-quality residential development. The design guide aims to achieve neighbourhoods with walkable and cyclable urban environment, ensuring public spaces such as roads and parks are attractive, easy to access and enable people to interact together, designing to maximise sunlight and much more.
At the same time, some other rules for housing in Te Puke and Ōmokoroa are changing. Council will also be introducing a number of supporting rules to ensure that everything you told us you love about your neighbourhood is protected. Examples include
An impervious surface rule to help reduce stormwater runoff
A requirement to achieve a certain number of houses in new development areas to ensure we are maximising land-use for housing
A mixed housing typology rule to ensure that in large development areas there will be a range of houses built to meet the needs of the community e.g., smaller 1 or 2 bedroom homes, duplex homes or townhouses
These rules apply to Te Puke and Ōmokoroa only, and do not have immediate legal effect. The final outcome of these rules will be determined through a formal consultation and hearing process.
While changes are being formally notified this weekend, Western Bay of Plenty District Council is still open to hearing the whakaaro (thoughts) of the community about this.
Formal submissions will be welcomed from 20 August until 16 September, with a further opportunity to submit in October. Any hearings that are required after the submissions close will take place from March 2023, before a decision is made by August 2023.
If you would like support with your submission, the Minister for the Environment has provided funding for an independent ‘Friend of Submitter’ service to help you have your say. More information is available at westernbay.govt.nz/housing-rules
Timeline from here
20 August - Plan change formally notified, formal submissions open
16 September - Submissions close
September/ October - Submissions summarised
October - Opportunity for further submissions (open for 10 working days)
From March 2023 - Hearings
By August 2023 - Decision