Dunedin greenlights new residential zones in hopes for housing surplus

An estimated 970 homes are expected to be added to greenfield sites over 10 years.
An estimated 970 homes are expected to be added to greenfield sites over 10 years. Photo credit: RNZ

Dunedin City Council is confident it will have more than enough housing capacity into the future after greenlighting new residential zones across the city.

The decision by a hearing panel approved new greenfield sites for development as part of Variation 2 of the city's second generation district plan.

The council's city development manager, Dr Anna Johnson, said an estimated 970 homes were expected to be added over 10 years.

This was in addition to the 1900 homes expected over the same time frame announced by the Variation 2 hearing panel last year.

"We're confident both Variation 2 decisions, including those being announced today, will ensure Dunedin continues to have surplus of housing capacity in the short, medium, and long term," Johnson said.

"A key consideration for a lot of these greenfield sites was the ability to service for Three Waters. Transport issues were also important for a couple of the sites," she said.

"Generally, we look at proximity to services and the compact city approach that we have in our plan to try to encourage people to have alternative transport modes."

The city was forecast to have a surplus of housing capacity in the short, medium and long term, Johnson said.

The council's research and monitoring team leader, Nathan Stocker, said the city would be in a good position to handle growth.

"Based on our projected growth, the capacity that we're providing substantially outweighs the amount of homes we're going to need," Stocker said.

"And there's two reasons for that - one is that we want to make sure that land use planning isn't a constraint to growth occurring, and two, we want to be ready if growth occurs faster."

The new greenfield sites that have been rezoned to allow for more new housing in Dunedin.
The new greenfield sites that have been rezoned to allow for more new housing in Dunedin. Photo credit: RNZ/Dunedin City Council

Stocker said there had been a substantial increase in the number of homes consented in the past two years, but that did not translate into a spike in new builds.

It indicated there were constraints within the construction market, not land use planning, that were preventing more homes being built, he said.

The number of attached homes being built had "sky rocketed" in the past 12 months, which would be aided by the council's changes to Variation 2, he said.

There were 43 properties rezoned, with 12 in Wakari, nine in Portobello, five each in Halfway Bush, East Taieri and Concord, two each in Kenmure and Ocean View, and one in Green Island, Abbotsford and Andersons Bay.

One of the Kenmure properties has an estimated feasible capacity for between 49-79 dwellings.

"Where we have any information from the landowner about their intentions or where there are any restrictions on what they can build, we've gone based on that number," Stocker said

"Where we don't have information from the landowners, we've used our own capacity modelling to estimate it."

That was rough and there were uncertainties, but the council had been relatively conservative, he said.

Independent commissioner and chairperson Gary Rae said the panel considered a substantial number of sites for rezoning during submissions.

The panel also involved councillors Steve Walker and Jim O'Malley.

"Our focus has been on determining which sites are most suitable for future development in Dunedin - including access to Three Waters and other key infrastructure - and we're confident the greenfield sites approved best fit the needs of a growing city," Rae said.

"Together, with other recent changes to the (council's Second Generation District Plan), our Variation 2 decisions help ensure Dunedin has access to a range of options for new housing to meet its needs over the short and longer term."

The decision is available on the council's [www.dunedin.govt.nz/2GP-variation-2 website].

The changes can be appealed until 21 March, but only by submitters and only by what was covered in their original submissions.

While the new and changed provisions have legal effect and will apply in addition to the existing provisions, they do not replace the existing zoning and rules until they can no longer be appealed.

Anyone who has a vested interest may be able to join another appeal.