Whangārei developers will no longer need to provide a minimum number of carparks for their new developments under a significant council rule change.
WDC's minimum carparking provision requirements include
Whangārei District Council (WDC) rules required one carpark for every 50 square metres of retail development and one for every 60sq m of office space.
Residential developments have to have two carparks for each residential unit and apartment developers must provide one for each apartment, depending on zoning.
But the carpark rules and a raft of other development scenarios will be gone from the district plan by the end of this week.
The change is because the Government's National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) requires 14 councils in the country's biggest and most rapidly growing cities to remove minimum carparking provisions.
Government urban intensification plans increasingly target Northland to take on some of the major growth pressures in the upper North Island, home to 54 per cent of new Zealand's population.
Among other changes, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch also have to require new developments to be at least six storeys, and of greater density and within walking distance of services such as public transport and recreation.
Whangārei development must similarly actively encourage taller buildings and higher densities in the "walkable" areas. Other tier two centres - Rotorua, New Plymouth, Napier/Hastings, Palmerston North, Nelson/Tasman,Queenstown and Dunedin - face the same new rules.
Unusually, Whangārei residents' public input is not needed for the District Plan change under the NPS-UD.
WDC manager District Plan Robert Burgoyne said early feedback from key developers, building companies, real estate and planning consultants indicated there would not be major wholesale difference in minimum carparking provision around Whangārei district as a result of the change.
Summerset Group Holdings, the developer behind one of Whangarei's biggest current new developments, will not be reducing the number of carparks it provides.
Summerset general manager, development, Aaron Smail said the company welcomed planning rule changes that facilitated consents for new homes and helped ease nationwide housing shortages.
"However we don't intend to go back and reduce our consented number of car parks at Summerset Mount Denby. We provide car parks to meet the requirements of our residents first and foremost and then check that provision meets the District Plan, rather than the other way around," Smail said.
The company is building 217 two- and three-bedroom, single-level villa units and cottages and a multi-storey building in the Tikipunga retirement village development.
The main building will have 56 assisted living suites, 43 hospital level-care beds, 20 memory care suites plus communal and recreational facilities including a swimming pool, bowling green, commercial kitchen/cafe, gym, chapel, office and administration areas.
Construction has started on the first stage with 22 homes ready for occupation in January. Stage two will begin next year.
"Our villages cater for over-70s, many of whom are very active outside of their village. They are used to having a car and we factor parking for their vehicles into our plans, together with visitor and staff parking," Smail said.