Napier City Council says its city will need to build 3500 homes in the next 10 years. But where, and how? Sahiban Hyde reports.
Napier is estimated to need a new home built almost daily for 10 years to house its future population.
Napier City Council's new draft district plan is out for consultation, and there's plenty up for discussion when it comes to solving the city's housing challenges, including six-storey housing in the central business district.
Nelson Park ward councillor Api Tapine said the size of the housing challenge facing Napier seemed "insurmountable, in fact almost too overbearing a reality to consider plausible", but he felt building 3500 homes was possible.
"I am mindful of the last Government's expression of building 1000 homes every year, this was an aspiration that was fraught with difficulty level with its resource, capacity and legislative ability," Tapine said.
"Napier City is realistic in considering and building options for us as a city."
Mayor Kirsten Wise said she encouraged people to read through both the draft District Plan and the Spatial Picture which were both out for consultation.
The draft District Plan covers all development in Napier, and the Spatial Picture is the first step in a plan for housing and industry growth, looking at where the council could provide more housing and industrial land.
Wise said Napier and Hastings had been put into a "medium" growth category in the Government's National Policy Statement for Urban Development.
"The medium growth category means we need to plan for 6.5 per cent growth per year and have suitably developable land available for this growth," she said.
The District Plan had a 10-year planning horizon so it needed to zone land that could accommodate the housing growth per annum.
"We are predicting the need for 3500 houses over the next 10 years through the modelling done on the Napier housing assessment capacity," Wise said.
"This considers many factors such as past demand, supply, affordability, plan-enabled capacity, and population projections for Napier.
"This figure is our best current estimate for what our city will need. The actual number of houses built each year will depend on several factors, including the state of the housing market, availability of construction materials and labour."
Traditionally the council consents 250 houses per year, but due to higher immigration numbers over the past few years the demand was now projected at 350 a year, she said.
Areas that could accommodate substantial urban growth include Te Awa, Parklands and the Mission hills, she said.
"But we do need to remember the need to protect Napier's natural features and landscapes."
Higher density buildings (five to six storeys) around the city centre, and medium density (up to three storeys) around local centres, and transport corridors such as Gloucester St, Kennedy Rd and Taradale Rd, could be considered, she said.
"If we do end up approving this type of building, we will need to make sure we have the right rules and design criteria in place so these areas enhance Napier's communities," Wise said.
"Having more people living closer in may have positive effects for the environment overall too, with less reliance on cars, for example.
"We want the best type of living environment for everyone, regardless of where people choose to live."
Tapine said expansion towards the western hills, urban and city living and intensification were two realistic options available to council to consider in the short term.
He said climate change, rising sea levels, tightening economic indicators, social housing demands and an increasing gap in provision of housing continued to increase the gaps in achieving outcomes.
"With a limited 107sq km area to develop, surrounded by sensitive environs on three fronts and our back against the hills, it would be reasonable to acknowledge that we have limited options," he said.
As of March, Napier had the highest number of people on the housing register in the Hawke's Bay region, a total of 750, followed by Hastings (714), Wairoa (84) and Central Hawke's Bay (63).