Wellington City Council has released its draft district plan designed to address a shortfall of up to 12,000 homes over the next 30 years.
The proposal includes new height limits in the central city, a levy for new multi-unit developments which don't include affordable housing, and the requirement for bike parking in new developments.
The changes are a significant overhaul of the district plan, which was first drafted in the early 1990s.
The city's spatial plan was signed off earlier this year, which outlined how the council will accommodate up to 80,000 more people over the next 30 years.
But it doesn't have any statutory teeth. It's only when the spatial plan changes are incorporated into the district plan that they can actually take effect.
If the changes go through, areas zoned for medium density development will increase from just 42ha to 1,331ha.
There will be an additional 219ha of land within the inner suburbs for redevelopment and intensification than what is currently provided for.
Maximum building heights will increase in Te Aro to 12 storeys.
The city centre zone will be extended past the Basin Reserve and up Adelaide Rd to Riddiford St. Minimum building heights in the central city will be six storeys.
Development of six storeys will be enabled in areas which are within a 15-minute walk from the city centre zone and within 10 minutes of all train stations.
Blanket protection of pre-1930 buildings in inner suburbs will be reduced by almost three-quarters.
The draft district plan also encourages mixed-use development in the metropolitan centres of Johnsonville and Kilbirnie, where maximum building heights will be increased to eight storeys.
The draft plan also proposes four options to encourage or require the provision of affordable housing, including social housing, in new multi-unit developments.
One option for this is a development levy if the build doesn't include affordable housing. A financial contribution would be paid by the developer to fund this housing elsewhere in the city's medium and high growth areas.
Another is to include a portion of affordable housing in any application to build above the new height limit, which the council would look favourably on.
An easier resource consent for 100 per cent affordable housing developments is also on the table, along with a requirement that these developments include a portion of social housing units.
Planning and Environment Committee chairwoman councillor Iona Pannett said the four options would help incentivise and encourage developers to build affordable housing.
She said the financial contribution was "a bit of a stick".
"To say look, in a housing crisis we have to do everything we can so if you're not going to provide that affordable housing, then you need to make a contribution because there is a cost to living in a good society and a good society has everyone housed well."
Pannett said the draft district plan was a big step forward but at the end of the day it was only a planning document.
It offered more opportunities but developers also had to take into consideration things like the cost of materials, typography, and what market might live somewhere.
Other levers to pull included government partnerships and rates rebates, she said.
The council is aware of concerns that higher density development needs to be done well.
In response to this, the draft plan includes controls and design guidance for multi-unit developments like apartments and townhouses. These include minimum unit sizes, requirements for outdoor living space, and daylight and sunlight access.
The plan also takes the environment into account like the requirement for larger developments to not increase the amount of stormwater runoff from a site.
New design guidance encourages the incorporation of rain gardens, water conservation measures, and grey-water reuse.
Another example is the removal of requirements for on-site car parking in new developments. Instead, there will be a requirement for bike parking.
"The ability to remove the minimum car parking requirement really was transformational, it is going to free up land for more housing and for a cleaner climate", Pannett said.
"And obviously it's environmentalism 101 when you have a really condensed urban form."
The plan will be consulted on over six weeks, starting in November.