District Plan Review

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We’re in the early stages of reviewing our district plan - the city’s rule book for development and how land is used. It affects every resident of Lower Hutt.

The review looks at important issues like how our city will evolve over the decades ahead, how it will look and feel, how to house a growing population, how we protect our indigenous biodiversity and historic heritage, and how we manage natural hazards and sea level rise.

This is the first public engagement on the district plan review. We’re keen to get your ideas, concerns and suggestions and hear what’s important to you about how our city develops over the next 30 years or so.

There are five key areas we’re focusing on. You can read the summaries on this page, or go to our website for more detailed information.

Have your say

You can take the surveys to give us your ideas or ask one of our planners about the review.

We're also holding open days where you can talk to our planners. View the open day dates and venues.

We’re in the early stages of reviewing our district plan - the city’s rule book for development and how land is used. It affects every resident of Lower Hutt.

The review looks at important issues like how our city will evolve over the decades ahead, how it will look and feel, how to house a growing population, how we protect our indigenous biodiversity and historic heritage, and how we manage natural hazards and sea level rise.

This is the first public engagement on the district plan review. We’re keen to get your ideas, concerns and suggestions and hear what’s important to you about how our city develops over the next 30 years or so.

There are five key areas we’re focusing on. You can read the summaries on this page, or go to our website for more detailed information.

Have your say

You can take the surveys to give us your ideas or ask one of our planners about the review.

We're also holding open days where you can talk to our planners. View the open day dates and venues.

  • Urban form and residential development

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    Lower Hutt’s population has grown in recent years but house building has not kept pace. Population growth is set to continue. Projections show we will need around 9,600 additional dwellings by 2047.

    The shortage of houses is contributing to a steep rise in the cost of buying and renting houses as well as an increase in homelessness.

    Demand for housing from single people and couples without children means we don’t currently have the right kinds and sizes of housing for these smaller households.

    The district plan sets out what can be built and where it can be built.

    In order to tackle the national housing shortage, the government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development instructs councils to allow greater density housing to be built in residential areas within walkable distance of the centre, and areas within walkable distance of rapid transit stops.

    An effect of this new national policy will be to gradually change the appearance of areas around our railway stations and urban centres. The district plan will define exactly where these areas will be.

    Read the full information.

  • Natural hazards

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    Lower Hutt is vulnerable to a number of natural hazards including earthquakes, flooding, slips and erosion. Flooding can be caused by rivers and streams, storm water runoff or storm surges.

    Climate change is likely to make flooding worse in two ways: it is generating more extreme weather events and causing sea levels to rise.

    Earthquakes are frequent and unpredictable. The district has a number of faults and the major Wellington Fault runs along the northwest side of the Hutt Valley. Earthquakes can cause damage to buildings and infrastructure, and pose a significant threat to life.

    The district plan’s rules and policies aim to manage the impacts of natural hazards on life, property, roads and other infrastructure.

    The district plan needs to identify hazard prone areas and the level of risk to them. The district plan review will need to consider if and where restrictions on future use and development are required.

    Read the full information

  • Natural environment

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    Human activities and climate change are putting pressure on Lower Hutt’s natural environment, its native trees and animals, landscapes and coastline. We need to take stock of how we identify, manage and protect these treasures.

    While we have large areas of regenerating indigenous habitat, they contain some rare and endangered species and very little is left of some habitat such as wetlands. While many of these areas are on public land, some are on private property.

    National and regional policies require councils to identify and protect areas of significant native vegetation and habitat, landscapes and natural features, and the natural character of the coast, lakes and rivers – as well as maintain public access. The district plan can help us do this.

    We want to work with our communities and landowners through the district plan review to identify and protect these areas. We also want to support what landowners are already doing to protect our district’s indigenous biodiversity and landscapes, while doing what national policy requires of us, and providing for social and economic wellbeing.

    Read the full information

  • Historic and cultural heritage

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    Lower Hutt has a long history and has heritage and taonga important to Māori and European cultures.

    Historic heritage buildings and cultural and archaeological sites are listed in the current district plan. This places controls on some activities which could affect a building or site’s heritage or cultural value. For example, the demolition of a listed heritage building needs resource consent.

    The Resource Management Act makes the protection of historic and cultural heritage a “matter of national importance”.

    Not all our heritage properties and cultural sites are listed in the district plan. In some cases heritage buildings have been lost and sites damaged because they were not listed.

    Council is carrying out research to identify properties and sites that have heritage or cultural importance. This will include sites and areas of significance to Māori.

    Read the full information

  • Business and commercial development

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    Lower Hutt has several main areas of business and commercial activity, and many small ‘corner shop’ zones in residential areas.

    The district plan defines where certain kinds of commercial or industrial activity can take place to manage effects on residential areas.

    Because of the huge pressure to build more houses, we want to take a fresh look at the existing zones for different activities to see if they need to be changed. This is also necessary because of the new National Policy Statement on Urban Development, which says councils must allow larger residential buildings in and around urban centres.

    If we are to find space for population growth, then we need to consider more residential development in and around urban and commercial centres and change to some industrial areas.

    By keeping an eye on business and industrial demand it will be possible to ensure that we balance this with the demand for housing to enable businesses to grow.

    Read the full information

  • Other district plan topics

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    08 Apr 2021

    The district plan covers a large number of subjects and this questionnaire provides an opportunity to comment on a number of the more significant ones. You can read a little about each of these topics on our website at.

    The subjects covered here are:

    • Energy, infrastructure and transport

    • Subdivision

    • Earthworks

    • Hazardous substances and contaminated land

    • Light spill and glare

    • Noise

    • Signs

    • Temporary activities and filming

    • Notable trees

    • Activities on the surface of water

    • Rural zones

    • Open space and recreation zone

    • Tertiary education zone

    • Hospital zone.