Streamlined Housing Process (SHP)

Our district doesn’t have enough affordable housing available, especially smaller one or two bedroom dwellings. This makes it hard for first-time buyers, retirees downsizing, and people on lower incomes to find a place to live. Household sizes are getting smaller as well. This means that some sites are underused with fewer people living on larger plots of land. The Streamlined Housing Process aims to take advantage of these underutilised spaces by making it easier to build high-quality infill housing. The scheme will benefit existing homeowners, would-be developers and those struggling to find affordable housing in the area.

The urgent need for housing means we need to take action. Usually, getting resource consents and plan changes can be slow – the Streamlined Housing Process initiative aims to speed up those processes and minimise the cost and uncertainty involved. Although Council won’t be able to guarantee approval, the process should make it smoother and easier to get resource consents approved.

Here’s how it will work

  • Council has prepared a series of preferred Design Approaches and technical solutions for infill housing, and has launched a new approval process to give developers and landowners a pathway through the consent process.
  • An improved streamlined resource consenting process will be smoother and simpler to navigate.
  • The scheme will focus on moderate to medium-density infill housing – one- and two-storey buildings in our towns.
  • Non-notified resource consent approval will potentially be possible for applications that meet new design standards.
  • In some cases – if neighbours agree – three-storey dwellings may be built.
  • Existing homes on larger sites may stay or be subdivided into smaller units.

Information and learnings from applying the new scheme will feed into future District Plan Changes.

Note: This process covers resource consent applications to get planning approval to undertake the proposal. There is a separate process for building consents as specified by the Building Act 2004.

Does your project qualify?

The scheme focuses on residential land in and around Levin and our towns where there is full reticulated sewer and water services. The initiative applies to residential-zoned land in Levin*, Foxton, Foxton Beach, and Shannon. Medium density overlay areas are also included.

*One exception is the Levin Town Centre Pedestrian Overlay, and any streets within 800m of the Levin Railway Station. These have been excluded from the Streamlined Housing Process because they may be developed with higher density housing in the future.

Of course some new housing developments won’t be included – here’s how to tell if our application qualifies:

  • The application must be either a land use or a combined land use and subdivision resource consent application. It cannot be an application for subdivision only.
  • The application must result in a net increase of dwellings on the subject site.
  • The application must be for new build dwellings only (including new yard built), with the exception of an existing dwelling on the site that may be repurposed as part of the proposal.
  • The site must be located in the Residential Zone in Levin, Foxton, Foxton Beach, or Shannon, including the Medium Density overlay in Levin and Foxton Beach (refer to Figure 1-1, Figure 1-2, Figure 1-3, Figure 1-4 on pages 8 and 9 of the Streamlined Housing Process Application Guide).
  • The application must be a residential development with no non-residential component (eg retail, commercial, industrial).

How to apply

Step 1.Pre-qualification meeting

Book a meeting with a Council Consent Coordinator to discuss your proposal and find out whether it qualifies.

Step 2.Understand the requirements

Once you confirm your proposal qualifies for the Streamlined Housing Process, work through the Streamlined Housing Process Application Guide and design approaches.

The Streamlined Housing Process - Part A: Application Guide(PDF, 3MB)

Step 3.Create your design

Using the instructions in the Streamlined Housing Process Application Guide, develop a plan and design outline.

Step 4.Pre-application meeting

Book a meeting through the Council Consent Coordinator to look at your proposed design outline, get feedback, and discuss the next steps with a Planning Officer or Development Engineer.    

Step 5.Complete and submit your application for Resource Consent

Adjust your proposed design based on feedback, then submit it to Council along with these completed documents:

  1. Streamlined Housing Process Application Form (to be completed first).
  2. Resource Consent Application - Form 9 (your completed SHP Application Form will need to be uploaded into this application form). 

To help guide you through our online Streamlined Housing Process Application Form, a reference copy is available below.

Streamlined Housing Process Application (reference copy only)(PDF, 483KB)

Complete your Streamlined Housing Process Application

Apply for a Resource Consent

Step 6.Wait for consent

You'll usually receive a response within 20 working days – although more complex proposals may take longer to process.  

We’ve put together some answers to common questions below. 

What if my housing proposal isn’t eligible for the Streamlined Housing Process?

Not all housing proposals are eligible for the Streamlined Housing Process. Where a proposal isn’t eligible, the standard resource consenting process can be used.

You can discuss the District Plan requirements that will apply to what you're looking to do with a Council Planning Officer. 

Will I need to engage any professional help to prepare an application for the Streamlined Housing Process?

The Streamlined Housing Process includes Design Approaches with technical solutions that applicants can use to inform their proposal. These can reduce the likelihood of needing to engage an urban designer and stormwater engineer in developing the proposal and enables applicants to undertake the early design concepts. 

It's recognised that the resource consent application needs to include plans for the buildings to be constructed, so applicants are likely to need to engage an architect/designer prior to the pre-application meeting. The consent application form does not specifically need to be completed by a planning or land development agent however their experience in doing this on a regular basis means they'll be able to prepare this faster and meet the necessary requirements first time.

Is the Streamlined Housing Process faster than the usual consent process?

There are a range of factors that will influence how long it takes for a consent to be processed. Within the Streamlined Housing Process there are several aspects that have been built in to help streamline the process and provide opportunity for the consents to be processed quicker than a standard consent. If the Streamlined Housing Process pre-qualification and pre-application meetings raise matters that are addressed ahead of the application being lodged and all the necessary information is provided, then the application is less likely to be subject to delays that can occur when further information is required.

How much does the Streamlined Housing Process cost?

The resource consent processing fees are set in Horowhenua District Council’s annual Fees & Charges schedule.  The fees are based on a deposit and then are time-based calculated on an hourly rate.

Council has decided that the fees for Streamlined Housing Process applications that do not need to be notified will be capped at $4,500. This means that should the total fees for an application be $3,000 this would be what the applicant would pay. If the total application fees came to $5,000, the applicant would only pay the capped fee of $4,500.

What if I want to use the Streamlined Housing Process Design Approaches for a site outside the Streamlined Housing Process locations (the current locations are Levin, Foxton, Foxton Beach and Shannon)?

The Design Approaches include well-considered urban design and engineering technical solutions that contribute to good quality urban development outcomes regardless of the site’s location. There would still be benefits to using these Design Approaches to inform proposals outside the Streamlined Housing Process areas, the key difference being that applications for these proposals would follow the standard consent process and be assessed against the District Plan requirements.

Is the Streamlined Housing Process a pilot process?

The Streamlined Housing Process has been introduced as a pilot process to test the effectiveness of the process in delivering affordable housing, one and two bedroom houses and different housing types. If successful, then Council will consider formally changing the District Plan to make the Streamlined Housing Process part of the District Plan rules (this could include making some additional refinements or improvements to the current process). If it is identified that the process is not achieving the intended outcome or it is creating other unintended adverse outcomes, then Council will consider withdrawing the process and reverting to only offering the standard consent process.

Why can’t I apply for the subdivision consent through the Streamlined Housing Process?

The Streamlined Housing Process requires that applicants apply for either a land use consent (where all residential dwellings are in the same ownership) or a combined land use and subdivision consent (new titles are created).  A key aspect of the Streamlined Housing Process is being able to determine and assess the effects of the buildings and ensure that the overall development of the site achieves good outcomes, such as well-functioning homes and appropriately sized and organised spaces.  A subdivision application would only allow for consideration of the lot sizes and subdivision layout.   

Why are second-hand relocated buildings not eligible to be part of the Streamlined Housing Process?

Council has made the decision that second-hand relocated dwellings are not eligible for this process. This is because there are usually a range of additional conditions and requirements that become relevant to ensuring that the relocated dwelling is reinstated to a suitable standard. 

The opportunity to use relocated buildings in a housing development remains possible through the standard consent process. You can discuss this with Council’s Planning Officers.

I have done this before - can I skip the pre-qualification and pre-application meetings and just lodge my Streamlined Housing Proposal?

No, the pre-qualification meeting and pre-application meeting are both important parts of identifying any potential issues or aspects before the designs are finalised. The meetings also identify the matters that need to be addressed before the application is lodged.  This is intended to reduce the need for further information being requested after the application has been lodged. These meetings also have the benefit of allowing officers to be familiar with the proposal ahead of it being lodged, which also helps with the processing.

What do I need to do once the resource consent is granted?

If you haven’t done so already, you'll need to apply for building consents for the new dwellings.

Your resource consent decision will outline the conditions that you're required to meet before construction can commence, before new property titles can be issued (if applicable) and before the dwellings can be occupied.

Building Coverage (or Site Coverage) (District Plan definition) means the portion of the net site area, when viewed in plan, which is covered by buildings excluding roof overhangs or eaves having a width of one metre or less, expressed as a percentage

Catchment Area means the total impervious area of the site such as roof and paving areas.  This area is used in the calculation to determine the appropriate stormwater solution for the proposal.

Design Approach means the prepared design and engineering solutions that are contained in the SHP Guide which set out preferred designs to achieve appropriate forms or residential development.

File Note means the summary notes from either the pre-qualification or pre-application meeting that capture the discussion had and identifies matters that require further attention.

Medium Density Overlay means the specific area identified as the Medium Density Overlay on the Horowhenua District Plan zoning maps. 

Pre-Application Meeting means the meeting held between the landowner/potential applicant and Council staff, following the pre-qualification meeting.  The Pre-Application meeting is used to identify any issues that may need to be addressed before the consent application is lodged.

Pre-Qualification Meeting means the first initial meeting held between the landowner/potential applicant and Council staff to establish whether the site and proposal are eligible to use the Streamlined Housing Process.

Private Outdoor Living Area (District Plan definition) means an area of outdoor space directly related to the living area of a household unit, and for the household’s exclusive use. It does not include parking, manoeuvring area and buildings, but does include swimming pools, pergolas and similar open-framed structures.