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Waterfront changes aim to clarify design standards

9 December 2008
Waterfront changes aim to clarify design standards
Wellingtonians will get two months next year to comment on proposed District Plan changes which are designed to give greater clarity about what can be built on the area of the waterfront north of Queens Wharf.
Buildings were proposed for this area as part of the Waterfront Development Framework, which was developed in consultation with the community in 2000 and 2001. Two buildings have already been developed there – the award-winning Meridian Building and the relocated and redeveloped building which houses the Loaded Hog and One Red Dog.
It is the three remaining sites – on the railway station side of these buildings near the Whitmore Street entrance – that have been earmarked for future buildings that are the subject of proposed District Plan Variation 11.
The Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee voted last week to consult with the public on the changes.
The changes include proposed building footprints and height limits for the three buildings of 17.5 metres, 25.5 metres and 30 metres above sea level, a new design guide, and rules to ensure the ground floors of buildings are predominantly accessible to the public and connect well with adjacent outdoor areas.
Under the changes, if future buildings planned for these three sites meet all of the footprint, height, design and other requirements being proposed, they could be granted resource consent without having to be publicly notified or advertised.
If developers wanted to build more than 15 percent, or roughly one storey higher than the proposed height limits, resource consent applications would have to be notified and the public would be able to object to them.
The Council’s Urban Development and Transport Portfolio Leader, Councillor Andy Foster, says it was always envisaged when the Waterfront Development Framework was developed that additional changes to the District Plan would be required once further planning and design work had been carried out.
“The idea was that once we had greater clarity about the number and size of buildings proposed we could write the rules around that. That’s happened for this part of the waterfront and we now want to ensure that the District Plan actually reflects our policy, which in this case is the Waterfront Development Framework,” he says. “That’s not the case at the moment. The Environment Court has clearly indicated that the framework can not act as a District Plan design guide.”
“It was always intended that some buildings would be developed in this area to bring vitality to what is currently a car park, and to help fund the development of high quality outdoor public spaces like those around the Loaded Hog and Meridian Building. We want to make sure the District Plan clearly reflects that intention.”
Councillor Foster says the waterfront continually rates very highly in resident satisfaction surveys, is one of the city’s greatest assets and something many Wellingtonians are passionate about.
“For that reason, I’m sure people will take a keen interest in the proposed District Plan changes and design guide. We want to hear whether the design guide reflects what people want to happen there.”
Formal consultation will begin on Monday 2 February and run for two months (a month longer than legally required) but the proposed plan change and design guide is already available on the Council’s website www.Wellington.govt.nz for anyone keen to take a look. It can be found in the Have Your Say section in the agenda for last week’s Strategy and Policy Committee meeting

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