On 24 August 2023, the Queenstown Lakes District Council notified the Urban Intensification Variation to the Proposed District Plan (PDP). The variation seeks to enable increased height and density in Queenstown and Wānaka Town Centres, as well as various residential areas throughout the district. The proposed variation could result in a dramatic change in the build form overall, including a greater number of townhouses, low rise and high-rise apartment buildings, at up to double the existing height of some areas.
Which properties will the variation affect?
The proposed changes will affect many properties across the board in residential, town centre and commercial zones.
Land in several areas is proposed to be rezoned, to enable a greater density of development. This rezoning is in locations close to existing commercial areas or key transport routes, such as Frankton Road, Frankton and Three Parks in Wānaka.
The variation will not affect land that has not yet been included in the PDP process.
What might the changes mean for you?
The proposed changes increase height limits in both residential and commercial areas. The rules no longer differentiate between flat and sloping sites, instead providing a blanket height limit across zonings and recession planes that will apply to all sites. In some places, the maximum height limits will double. In Queenstown Town Centre, the maximum height limit could provide for six or seven storey buildings.
A summary of the proposed changes to height limits:
|Lower Density Suburban Residential||6.5-7m||8m|
|Medium Density Residential||7-8m||11m + 1m pitched roofs|
|High Density Residential – Queenstown||10-15m||16.5m|
|High Density Residential – Wānaka||10m||12m|
|High Density Residential – Frankton North||12-20m||16.5-20m|
|Queenstown Town Centre||12-15.5m||8-24m|
|Wānaka Town Centre||8m||12.5-16.5m|
|Business Mixed Use – Wānaka and Frankton Marina||12-15m||12.5-16.5m|
|Business Mixed Use – Queenstown and Frankton North||12-20m||16.5-20m|
|Local Shopping Centre – Fernhill||7m||14m|
|Local Shopping Centre – Kelvin Heights||10m||14m|
|Local Shopping Centre – Lake Hāwea South||7m||12m|
|Local Shopping Centre – Albert Town, Arrowtown, Sunshine Bay and Cardrona Valley||7m||10m|
The proposed changes remove density standards and reduce setback requirements in some zones, which will enable more buildings and residential units to be constructed within a site than at present. The proposed changes also decrease minimum lot sizes and minimum lot dimensions, to enable a higher number of lots to be created in subdivisions. The minimum boundary setback in the High-Density Residential Zone is proposed to decrease from 2m to 1.5m, enabling buildings closer to the boundary.
The proposed variation encourages a reduction in provision of car parking for developments in areas near bus stops, to facilitate increased uptake of public transport. This could have implications on the transport network and supply of car parking across the district.
Overall, the proposed provisions seek to enable more development upwards and outwards within a single site. We expect that new buildings constructed to the maximum height limits will disrupt existing views and amenity values for some landowners. The increase in townhouse and apartment complexes may also change the nature of existing suburbs.
What can I do about it?
This variation may be beneficial if you have aspirations to develop your site. The proposed variation may also create challenges if you do not wish to develop your site, or if your neighbours wish to develop theirs as the level of development enabled may have potential effects on your property.
Either way, you may wish to make a submission supporting, opposing, or seeking amendments to the proposed variation in its notified form. Submissions must be made by Thursday 21 September 2023.
If you require advice on the variation and what it might mean for you, you can contact members of our Resource Management and Property teams on 03 441 2743 or at [email protected].