The Rotorua District Council has released its proposed District Plan for consultation. The plan is the Rotorua district's most important land use document, regulating everything from zoning to new buildings and activities. The Daily Post council and city issues reporter Matthew Martin takes a close look at some of the plan's important features in a series of articles.
With the new Eat Streat concept about to be finalised and the redevelopment of the Rotorua Lakefront on the cards, residents can look forward to a new-look central business district.
Accordingly, the proposed District Plan accommodates these projects, tweaking the rules to allow for new ideas.
The new District Plan chapter for the cental city covers everything from signage and glare from light, to how high you can build, parking access, noise, landscaping - and is focused on walkability.
The council's planning services manager, Liam Dagg, said the plan focused on the simplification of the city centre to allow for the market to determine the location of activities.
He said the number of sub-zones within the city had been reduced from seven to three. These three zones cover the city centre, Rotorua Central and the Lakefront.
"The rules of the city centre have been significantly revised to be more permissive and reflect the current direction of the market, while being flexible enough to provide for any future market change.
"The community expects our district to have a strong, vibrant city centre with a unique character. The District Plan aims to revitalise the city centre by consolidating business into the area and making it the focal point for commercial and cultural activity," Mr Dagg said.
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Roger Gordon has been working with the council, helping to develop a plan for the central city for the past few years.
"There was a level of concern back then regarding some of the proposals. But the council have worked hard to respond to those issues.
"We think this is a much more enabling document, rather than restrictive, which is absolutely tremendous," he said.
The council's economic projects manager, Nick Dallimore, said he was excited about the future of Rotorua's central city.
"The last District Plan was at odds to what we wanted to achieve. Now the rules fit the vision.
"The big game-changers are the new intersections and re-design of Tutanekai St, and the Lakefront will be quite exciting over the long term as well as the strengthening of the city's north-south connection."
Mr Dallimore said the introduction of free wi-fi would also allow tourists and domestic visitors to check what's happening in the city with ease.
To view the proposed District Plan visit www.rdc.govt.nz, or view a hard copy at the council's customer centre or the library. Submissions can be made online at the council's website, emailed to email@example.com, or posted to the Planning Services Manager, RDC, Private Bag 3029, Rotorua. A District Plan public open day is scheduled at Te Runanga Tearooms, Government Gardens, on Tuesday January 8 from 9am to 5pm. Submissions close on March 1.