Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Heritage protections at heart of Hamilton rule change

Hamilton’s treasured homes and buildings, extensive gully network and stretches alongside the Waikato River may soon have an extra layer of protection, with Council proposing to tighten rules around development of heritage sites.

Through a District Plan change, known as Plan Change 9, Hamilton City Council is proposing to strengthen rules for the development of properties identified as having either built heritage, notable trees, significant natural areas, archaeological sites or being within a historic heritage area.

District Plan Committee Chair, Councillor Ryan Hamilton said the work will allow Hamilton to continue to grow in a way that works for the city and the people who call it home.

“Although our District Plan has always played a key role in protecting and enhancing the city’s heritage and natural environment, we’re taking this opportunity to ensure elements that are important to the city, Waikato and in some instances New Zealand, are given an extra layer of protection,” said Cr Hamilton.

He said Council will be notifying its approach to central government’s new intensification rules in August.

The rules will see tier-one councils, such as Hamilton, allowing developers to build up to three homes of up to three storeys on most sites without requiring resource consent. It’s a move Cr Hamilton predicts will drastically change the city.

“This plan change is not about preventing intensification, it’s about making sure our District Plan has the right rules in place that allow us to support the necessary development while protecting, and where possible enhancing, those elements that have helped shape our city,” he said.

“It’s about creating communities, celebrating the journey our city has been through and ensuring these historic and natural elements are around for generations to come.”

City Planning Unit Manager, Mark Davey said Council staff have been working for more than 12 months to collect the necessary information and produce technical reports that support the proposals that will be put forward to Council for approval in late-June.

“The elements covered within the plan change speak to the uniqueness of Hamilton and we’ve worked with experts to complete a thorough analysis of each to ensure we’re protecting the best examples,” said Mr Davey.

“Every property that we’re proposing be included in our District Plan has been robustly reviewed and we’re confident that the outcomes will benefit all of Hamilton.”

Mr Davey said Council has already started working directly with more than 6,000 potentially impacted landowners to share with them more details of the change and what it could mean for them.

Plan Change 9 is expected to be publicly notified in mid-July, allowing anyone to provide feedback on the proposed changes.

For more information, visit hamilton.govt.nz/planchange9.

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