Sunday, May 26, 2024

Christchurch council provides new evidence in Airbnb crackdown

Christchurch City Council has released additional economic evidence relating to its proposal to introduce new planning rules to manage Airbnb rentals in the city.

Proposed District Plan Change 4 – Short-term Accommodation was notified by the Council in September 2020. Council says its primary purpose is to better address the effects that arise from visitor accommodation, such as Airbnb-type activities, in residential units.

In May, an economist acting for Airbnb provided evidence that challenged the Council’s economic evidence around Plan Change 4.  

Council says its initial economic evidence included a literature review and assessment of the costs and benefits of a range of different policy options. In response to Airbnb’s questioning of that evidence, Council decided to seek some additional economic evidence.

That additional economic evidence is being provided to the Hearings Panel and all submitters today, Friday 27 August, which will be followed by a planning report.

It is available to view online at ccc.govt.nz/planchange4.

“Currently we propose that use of a residential unit for short-term accommodation in a residential zone, where the host is not present, for the first 60 days becomes a Controlled activity under the District Plan. This means a resource consent would be required, but must be granted,’’ says Council Head of Strategic Policy and Planning, David Griffiths.

“The updated planner’s report proposes that the use of a residential unit for short-term accommodation in a residential zone, over more than 60 days, would be a discretionary activity. This means resource consent must be applied for, but could be accepted or declined. This will apply for a period between 61 days to one year (365 days).

“Prior to this new assessment, we proposed it was a Discretionary activity for between 61-180 days, after which time, providing short-term accommodation in residential zones would become a non-complying activity. This meant it would be more difficult to get resource consent.

“Extending the Discretionary activity status from 61-180 days to up to 365 days reflects the updated planning advice to the Council.  All effects can be considered for a Discretionary activity, which recognises that impacts can vary on a site by site basis, like noise, the effects of vehicle parking etc.

“In many instances, it may be possible for effects to be mitigated by conditions around guest arrival times, quiet periods, for example, after 10pm.’’

He said submitters will have an opportunity to file expert evidence responding to any new information arising from the Council’s economic evidence, and subsequent release of the planner’s report before the hearing in October, even if they have not already filed expert evidence.

“There will be a further opportunity for submitters and the Council to file rebuttal evidence and legal submissions.”

The hearing on Plan Change 4 will begin on 18 October. Then Hearings Panel will then prepare a report for the elected Council with its recommendations for Plan Change 4. Council says this is likely to happen later this year.

Submitters will have an opportunity to file expert evidence responding to any new information arising from the Council’s economic evidence, and subsequent release of the planner’s report before the hearing in October, even if they have not already filed expert evidence, Council said.

There will also be a further opportunity for submitters and the Council to file rebuttal evidence and legal submissions.

The hearing on Plan Change 4 will begin on 18 October. The Hearings Panel will then prepare a report for the elected Council with its recommendations for Plan Change 4 – this is likely to happen later this year.

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