Hastings District Council says its residential intensification design guide has become a well-used tool for developers to build houses in the district.
With Hastings facing an increasing demand for housing and the need to protect its productive growing land, the design guide was created to support and assist those taking up development opportunities.
A vital element of the Heretaunga Plains Urban Development Strategy 2017 and Hastings District Council's Medium Density Strategy has been to encourage more building in existing neighbourhoods rather than rezoning rural areas.
The design guide provides ideas and tips to help property developers, builders, and architects achieve high quality, sustainable housing.
Council policy planners Anna Summerfield and Megan Gaffaney said the guide was introduced to the sector at a forum last year, creating a lot of interest that has since turned into tangible outcomes.
The planners said, "Professionals have enthusiastically picked it up and used it, and it's helped them."
The council's policy team has met with prospective developers to help familiarise them with the guide and use it to advance their development ideas.
"Early conversations can start as soon as a site is found and are really valuable to get things on the right track, identify any red flags, or suggest improvements," Summerfield and Gaffaney said.
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Mackersey Development general manager Nait Scott said the company has used the guide as guidance when applying for consent on recent developments.
Working alongside Megan Gaffaney helped the developers when in the design phase of the development, Scott said.
As the name suggests, Scott said Mackersey Development's experience with the residential intensification design guide was that, as a guide.
For example, the general manager explained that "the guide is not a set of rules, which is always helpful as every project can be different and no one size fits all" would work.
Scott has said, "it has been easier to know what the council expects when going through the consenting/design process" with the residential intensification design guide.
Mackersey's experience with the guide was also overlaid with pragmatism with the council's consenting team.
"Which was a good thing; it is clearly a guide, not a list of edicts."
The design guide covers residential types ranging from infill to greenfield developments, inner-city housing, mixed-use suburban shopping centres and co-housing and retirement villages.
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was important to address the urgent need for housing and do so in a way that didn't encroach on growing soils, resulting in well-designed, quality housing.
"New housing in these smaller spaces needs to provide a roof over people's heads and enhance a sense of community," the Hastings mayor said.
"The land needs to be used efficiently and encourage sustainable, liveable housing while protecting the district's productive land for future generations."