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SHAs to boost Wellington housing supply

SHAs to boost Wellington housing supply

Wellington City Council yesterday approved eight special housing areas (SHAs) and qualifying development criteria under the Wellington Housing Accord.

These SHA recommendations will now be sent to the Minister of Housing for government consideration and approval. The Council also agreed on a package of housing development incentives to help kick-start qualifying development in the SHAs.

Approval of the SHAs will allow the Council to apply special planning and consenting powers to qualifying developments under the Housing Accord and Special Housing Areas Act (HASHA). Qualifying developments in SHAs will still be assessed against the relevant district plan rules.

Currently, Wellington is building fewer homes than is needed to meet the forecast population growth. Also homes on average now cost more than five times the median salary. An affordable home is considered to be only three times the median salary.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says this step shows progress in addressing the city’s housing shortage.

“House prices and rents are good indicators of demand and these are increasing – with the SHAs approved we will help meet that demand.

“A warm, dry, affordable home should be every Kiwi's right. We need to streamline housing, reduce barriers while maintaining standards, so houses and flats are good to live in for adults and children alike.

“Dwellings built now will be around in the next century so let's make sure they are attractive, practical and have real transport choices."

Councillor Justin Lester, Chair of the Governance, Finance and Planning Committee says the proposed SHAs will provide choice: a mix of low-, medium- and high-density housing across the city.

“It’s expected that development within the city will continue to concentrate in the SHAs and will be sped up by the incentives package. We’re very conscious that the growth areas will also need appropriate infrastructure investment to reflect increasing local populations,” he says.

The eight SHAs and qualifying criteria recommended to the Minister are:

• the greenfield areas of Stebbings Valley and Lincolnshire Farm-Woodridge (10 or more dwellings)

• the Johnsonville and Kilbirnie medium-density residential areas (two or more dwellings)

• Adelaide Road between John Street and the Basin Reserve (two or more dwellings)

• two parts of the central city; Te Aro and Thorndon (two or more dwellings)

• the Arlington apartments site in Mt Cook (two or more dwellings).

The incentives package to help/encourage housing developers includes:

• a ‘one-stop resource consents shop’ to process consents under the HASHA Act

• financial incentives such as deferred rates increases and waiving pre-application resource consent fees, and targeted investment through infrastructure to support growth and public space improvements.

The Council and Minister of Housing jointly signed up to the Wellington Housing Accord in June 2014. It sets out how the Council and the Government will work together to increase housing supply in the City in areas where there is a demand for high quality housing.

The signed Housing accord is online at Wellington.govt.nz/housingaccord


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