What is the Horowhenua Growth Strategy 2040?
The Draft Horowhenua Growth Strategy 2040 aims to provide a framework for our District to manage the predicted growth in population over the next few decades. It will identify areas of land that could be suitable for future housing and industry developments, and allow the District’s growth to happen in a planned way.
How many more people will move here?
Independent growth assumptions were provided to Council last year and Council chose to adopt a 'middle of the road' approach to growth assumptions. We anticipate that over the next twenty years an additional 5,138 new houses will be required, that 3,000 additional jobs will be created in the District and 10,063 people will move here – that’s a 33% increase on our current population.
Why is Horowhenua growing?
There are two main reasons:
- the Wellington Northern Corridor (Expressway) – within the next few years Wellington will become much closer to Levin – a 1 hour drive along a four-lane expressway. People from Palmerston North and Foxton through to Wellington will have a greater ability to choose where they want to live. Many will choose Horowhenua because we are central, close to the mountains and the sea, and our land values are lower than both those cities; and
- New Zealand is growing – migration levels to New Zealand are the highest they have been in decades and fewer people are leaving New Zealand.
Why have you chosen these areas?
The most logical locations are next to existing areas of housing, because it is easier to build connecting infrastructure and manage the effects of development. However, this isn’t always the case and in some instances we have had to look at locations further out or areas containing elite soils or other constraints.
Do landowners agree with the potential growth areas?
Council began engaging with affected landowners late last year, and has been meeting with them one-on-one since then. We have, where possible, adjusted the proposed growth areas, based on feedback from landowners. During this process, a number of landowners highlighted other locations they felt should be included in the growth areas. Council has accommodated the desires of the landowners where possible. Many landowners supported the future development opportunities that the growth areas could create.
What happens if a property owner doesn’t want to develop the land?
Changing land zones doesn’t force a landowner to develop land. It is entirely up to them if they take up the development opportunity.
Does this mean the land will be rezoned and when will this happen?
The short answer is no. The Draft Horowhenua Growth Strategy 2040 will inform what areas are likely to be rezoned in the future for housing. The purpose of this engagement is to gain a better understanding of land areas from the owner’s perspective and your thoughts on its future use, suitability, and opportunities for housing. This will be one factor that informs the Growth Strategy and any potential plan change process. Any change in zoning is likely to take 12-18 months and would involve further landowner and wider public engagement – this will be done through a District Plan Change and a full consultation process.
It seems a lot of land to rezone
Council has intentionally identified considerably more potential areas for housing than the future demand would require. There are two reasons for this:
- it might be that during the consultation process or rezoning process the area identified is reduced; and
- Council has taken a 'middle of the road' approach to growth assumptions – that our District will grow by a third by 2040. However, in reality it may be higher or lower than that. Government direction is to provide an additional capacity above the projected short/medium and long-term demands.
Is the land you’re looking at appropriate for houses?
It’s important that we hear your thoughts on the proposal – especially if you think the land identified suitable or unsuitable for housing, eg you might be aware of a ponding or flooding issue that we should take into account – these issues don’t necessarily mean it won’t be suitable for housing but it may mean that it is more costly to develop.
Have you spoken to the landowners?
In general and where we can, yes. Council Officers have contacted as many landowners as possible to discuss their future aspirations. Where possible, landowners’ views have been considered and the growth areas adjusted to accommodate them.
Also, Council Officers have met with or spoken to most landowners affected. If you have not met with a member of our team and you want to then please call Council and ask to speak to Daniel Haigh, our Growth Response Manager.
My property is in one of the areas identified. What impact will it have on my rates?
When land is rezoned from rural to residential or rural to industrial then, in general, the value of the land increases. Rates in Horowhenua are directly related to land values and as such rates will increase based on the development potential of the land. However, if you do not develop the land as per the new zoning and keep the use as is, ie farmland, then you can apply for a rates remission, so you only pay the rate equivalent to that you would have paid prior to the rezoning.
My farm is next to one of these growth areas. How will it affect what I currently do if I have new houses all around me?
If your current activity was lawfully established, for example, farming is currently allowed in your area, or you have a resource consent for your activity - then, you continue to operate as you currently are as you have existing use rights. However, if more housing is built around you in the future, you would need to recognise new neighbours might be sensitive to what you do, and they could complain. While you may legally be able to continue what you currently do, more complaints could make it difficult for you to be a ‘good neighbour’.
Why haven’t you zoned more land for lifestyle blocks?
The consultation around servicing existing settlements and future growth areas as part of the Long Term Plan will potentially influence how much land is made available for lifestyle development rather than residential development. The draft Strategy identifies land available for Greenbelt Residential development to meet some of the demand for lifestyle blocks. In addition to this we recognise that some people will want to have lifestyle properties in other rural parts of the district. A separate piece of work will consider rural subdivision rules to understand whether additional opportunities may be needed for lifestyle development.
What about District Plan Change 2? Won’t that allow more people to build houses?
Proposed District Plan Change 2 is one of the mechanisms that will enable more houses to be built in the existing urban area. However, it won’t be enough to cope with predicted increases in population on its own.
Why are we talking about growth areas when NZTA are telling me I could be affected by an Expressway, and when is that all happening?
Whether the Ōtaki to North of Levin Expressway is built or not our District will grow by a third – at present there is no preferred route nor is there an agreed date when it will be built.
Council and the community need to think about and discuss options, and plan for the anticipated increase in population, regardless of the outcome on the Expressway.
Proactive planning will ensure the existing tight housing market isn’t further constrained by limited land available for housing development.
However, Council is fully aware the Horowhenua Growth Strategy may need to be adjusted because of the Expressway – this can only happen once a preferred route is known. NZ Transport Authority has said they will present options to their Board in mid-2018 and that is when a preferred route will be determined.
What about servicing the new areas, who is going to pay?
Some towns, including Foxton, Foxton Beach, Levin, Shannon, Tokomaru and to an extent Waitārere Beach, have capacity to accommodate more houses. Alongside this consultation is the 2018-2038 Long Term Plan Consultation – in it is a proposal to introduce water and wastewater infrastructure to those settlements throughout the District that currently do not have these services. Please view the Long Term Plan consultation and have your say on this proposal.
Why is there only one industrial growth area?
In general, Council believes that Horowhenua has a sufficient amount of land that is zoned as industrial land to meet the need for the foreseeable future. There is some land zoned industrial that has not yet been converted to industrial as the demand is not currently there. However, Council anticipates that demand will pick up, and therefore has identified an area of land adjacent to current industrial land on the south-east corner of Levin.
Why are you only proposing new industrial areas in Levin?
We believe there is enough industrial land zoned elsewhere to accommodate need in the foreseeable future and we anticipate that most industrial growth will occur in Levin.
Why are you not proposing to increase residential areas around Shannon, Hōkio Beach and Mangaore?
Based on the current and proposed levels of development we believe there is sufficient land zoned in Shannon, Hōkio Beach and Mangaore to accommodate growth for the foreseeable future.
What is the process for this consultation?
The draft Strategy has been created by Council Officers with support from specialists with technical expertise. Throughout the process workshops on growth have been held with Elected Members. Council Officers have engaged with those landowners directly affected and are now ready to hear the views of the general public, iwi and other external stakeholders. The feedback will be used to finalise the strategy which will be presented to Council later this year for adoption.
Once adopted work will begin on implementing the strategy through the District Plan – later this year Draft Plan Changes will be proposed to Council and following adoption by Council a fully consultative procedure as prescribed by the Resource Management Act will be undertaken.
How long is the consultation period for?
The Consultation period begins on 23 February 2018 and closes on 26 March 2018.
Council Officers will have a copy of the draft growth strategy and maps showing the proposed growth areas at the following community events:
- Saturday, 24 February at Levin Aquatic Centre
- Saturday, 3 March at Shannon BBQ
- Saturday, 10 March at Foxton Beach Summer Market
- Saturday, 17 March at Ōhau Market.
A drop-in session will also be held at Horowhenua District Council on Tuesday, 20 March between 3:00pm and 6:30pm.
For those wanting to talk with a Council Officer about the draft strategy but are unable to attend a public information session please contact Council’s Growth Response Manager Daniel Haigh.