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Council To Use Streamlined Planning Process For Proposed Plimmerton Farm Plan Change

Porirua City Council has been given the go ahead from the Minister for the Environment to use the Streamlined Planning Process (SPP) to change its operative District Plan to rezone land for residential development at Plimmerton Farm.

The proposed Plimmerton Farm Plan Change is part of the Council’s response to the shortfall in housing and residential land in Porirua, which has been signalled previously through the City’s Growth Strategy and Northern Growth Area Planning.

"This is good news as the city gears up to come out of the Covid-19 lockdown," says Porirua Mayor Anita Baker. "It will help speed up progress to get the local economy moving while providing jobs and much-needed housing supply for our residents.

"Porirua’s population has been growing rapidly in the past few years and there’s not been enough housing and land available. This development will help meet some of that housing shortfall. But the next step is to notify a change to our District Plan and I encourage people to make a submission to ensure any development is supported by our city," Mayor Baker says.

The Plan Change seeks to rezone Plimmerton Farm from Rural Zone to a new Plimmerton Farm Zone, says Manager Environment and City Planning Stewart McKenzie.

"The new zone includes 2000 houses ranging from townhouses located on smaller section sizes through to stand-alone houses on large lots, a retirement village and small commercial centre with a supermarket," Mr McKenzie says.

"It protects and adds to significant natural areas including wetlands that are part of the Taupō Swamp Complex, retires steep slopes and gullies from grazing, and adds extensive planting and natural reversion to native forest cover. The Council requires careful management of stormwater quantity and quality to protect sensitive receiving waters including Taupō Swamp and Porirua Harbour and exemplary development practice to protect the environment. A network of public open space linked by walkways and cycleways for the local community and wider Porirua and Wellington is also planned."

The direction to the Council from the Minister for the Environment on the use of SPP includes procedural steps, timeframes, expectations and reporting requirements, says Mr McKenzie.

"There will be a six-week period for written submissions followed by the opportunity for further submissions and then a hearing before an independent hearing panel. The hearing panel’s recommendation will go to the Minister for the Environment, who will make the final decision on the plan change.

Along with providing extra housing options in a timely way for Porirua residents, we also need to avoid adverse effects on the hydrology and biodiversity values of the Taupō Swamp wetland and Te Awarua o Porirua Harbour."

The Minister’s requirements for the hearing panel include that members have the appropriate skills and knowledge needed for the particular issues relevant to the proposed Plimmerton Farm Plan Change. This includes having commissioners with knowledge of tikanga Māori and mātauranga Māori, sedimentation and freshwater ecology, Mr McKenzie says.

"The plan change will also implement important aspects of the Draft District Plan and is the first development within the city’s identified Northern Growth Area. Community and stakeholders have played an important role in shaping the draft plan change, and will continue to do so through the plan change process," Mr McKenzie says.

The Proposed Plan Change 18 Plimmerton Farm will be publicly notified on 20 May, subject to the country being at Alert Level 2 at that time.

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