What is the district plan?

    The district plan is the main document for managing the development of Lower Hutt and the way land is used. 

    It is effectively a book of objectives, rules and policies that guides the development of the city, and controls the scale, form and intensity of subdivisions and development in urban and rural areas. 

    The district plan influences how our city will look, feel and operate in the decades ahead.

    The district plan helps council carry out its functions under the Resource Management Act.

    How does the district plan affect me?

    The District Plan affects every person living in Lower Hutt, and every business and organisation.

    If you own land, the district plan regulates what you can do on your land and what your neighbours can do on theirs. For example, it sets the parameters for what you can build, how high and certain aspects of its design. 

    The district plan affects the environment you live in and how your city will look, feel and operate into the future.

     The district plan has objectives, policies and rules that regulate and influence things like:

    • The supply of housing and housing affordability
    • The supply of land for businesses
    • Whether you can subdivide your land and how close to the boundary you can build
    • What the right housing density is for specific areas of the city
    • How to protect valuable aspects of the city, such as indigenous animal and plant habitats, cultural and historic heritage and significant landscapes and coastlines
    • How to avoid or reduce the impacts of natural hazards like sea level rise, flooding and earthquakes
    • How much noise a factory or other workplaces can make.

    Why is the district plan being reviewed?

    The district plan became operative in 2003. 

    The Resource Management Act requires councils to review their district plans every 10 years. Council has been doing a rolling review of the current district plan, but we still need to review around half of its chapters.

    Lower Hutt has changed a lot since the original district plan became operative. Analysis suggests we will need to make space for up to another 9600 households in the city between 2017 and 2047. We also need to plan for challenges like climate change and use more recent data to better prepare for flooding and earthquakes. The  review gives us the opportunity to address these issues.

    The plan also needs to be updated to incorporate the latest policy changes Central Government and Greater Wellington Regional Council have issued to address important issues covered by the district plan.

    How long will the review take?

    The district plan review is a complex and painstaking process. It is expected to take up to four years  before a new district plan is operative. See timeline below>

    Do we have complete control over developing a new district plan?

    No we don’t. 

    Central Government and Greater Wellington Regional Council release policies that provide legal direction for key areas in all councils’ district plans.

    These govern issues like urban development, the protection of indigenous plant and animal habitats and the identification of historic heritage. Council is legally required to adhere to these policies.