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3.5 Manawatu-Wanganui Region

3.5 Manawatu-Wanganui Region

3.5.1 Rangitikei District Plan

Rangitikei District Council has reviewed and verified the questionnaire and summary assessment for the Rangitikei District Plan.  They did not request any amendments. Context

The Rangitikei District covers a geographical area of 4,538 square kilometres of mainly rural land. The 2006 census showed a resident population of 14,712 (compares to 15,102 at the 2001 census). Although the population is declining, the rate of decline has substantially reduced from 7.7% between 1996 and 2001, to 2.6% between 2001 and 2006 suggesting that the population decline is easing. Concordant with a slowing decline, the number of occupied dwellings at the 2006 Census has increased, up by 0.8% compared with a decline of 3.4% at the 2001 Census.

The Rangitikei District is experiencing limited urban development pressures; the key driver of Rangitikei’s economy is the farming sector. One of the biggest challenges for the district is to promote economic growth and employment opportunities as identified in the Council's Business and Economic Development Plan. The Council has a projected income of $28.8 million under its 2008/2009 Annual Plan. This is a per capita income of $1,959. Rates account for 49% of the Council’s income, and other activities account for the other 51%. Plan Provisions

The Rangitikei District Plan was made operative in 1999 and updated with plan changes in 2007. There are no proposed plan changes relevant to urban design. The following provides a summary of the nature and extent of provisions under the Plan that incorporates and promotes the urban design outcomes under the questionnaire.

Amenity is retained through provisions which restrict the effect of developments that could adversely affect the amenity of an area (e.g. controls on noise, daylight setback, screening from residential boundaries). Different standards apply to different zones reflecting the various levels of effects considered appropriate for maintaining the amenity of that zone. The provisions in the Plan are particularly focused on maintaining the amenity of residential properties and minimising nuisance to residential properties from non-residential activities.

The Plan provides for mixed uses, especially in the commercial and mixed commercial zones. Not through specific mixed-use provisions, but by allowing a wide range of activities as long as they meet the permitted activity standards. Provisions are made for maintaining a continuous overhead pedestrian veranda in the commercial zone, for improving the quality of appearance and condition of buildings, the street landscape, and pedestrian and cycle facilities in the commercial areas of Taihape, Marton and Bulls. The Plan also provides for the display of advertising signs in the commercial zone.  Home occupations are provided for as a permitted activity in all zones. There are no controls on large format retail developments.

There appears to be a number of gaps in the Plan provisions relating to the urban design outcome of choice. The Plan has no provisions which reward or allow increasing densities in association with the provision neither of open space nor for the accessibility of public open space to everyone, including the disabled. The Plan specifies a standard minimum lot size of 400m2 everywhere in the residential zone. The Plan does not specify any minimum lot area in the commercial and mixed commercial zones, allowing for the provision of a variety of section sizes in these zones. All housing types are provided for in the residential zone as long as they meet the permitted activity standards. The permitted building height in all zones (except industrial) under the Plan is 10m.

There are no provisions in the Plan relating to renewable energy sources, water saving devices, or design measures to improve the environmental performance of infrastructure. Noise is addressed under the Plan, with varying noise limits for different zones. There are no provisions for noise insulation measures. The plan includes policies on encouraging development and activities to be designed to promote community health, safety and security and to minimise the risk of accident, injury or crime in public spaces. The Plan sets out rules for building setback from the road frontage and specifies standards for activities that do not meet the setback requirements. There is a large focus within the Plan on avoiding and mitigating the adverse effects of hazards, particularly natural hazards. The Plan has a number of provisions relating to indoor and outdoor space and sunlight.

The Plan does not include any provisions relating to collaboration.

There are no provisions within the Plan to retain or promote a 'sense of place'. There are also few provisions within the Plan for protecting and enhancing urban water bodies, with one district wide provision relating to the access to and protection of riparian margins and waterways.

Objectives and policies within the Plan list specific distinctive landforms to be protected. Appendix 1 to the Plan also lists particular natural features to be protected. Only one rule in the Plan provides for the protection of distinctive landforms and natural features. This rule is applicable to all zones. Although there is a policy and objective within the Plan, there are no rules providing for the protection and enhancement of indigenous vegetation.

There are a number of policies and objectives within the Plan aimed at encouraging development to fit in with and enhance its surroundings. These rules within the Plan mostly relate to ensuring recycled and relocated buildings fit into the surrounding area and are repaired and maintained to a high standard.

A wide variety of heritage buildings, features and items, marae, areas of significant to Māori and notable trees are listed under the Plan. Policies and objectives under the Plan are aimed at recognising and protecting sites of significant to Māori and taonga and recognising and protecting the districts significant heritage resources. The list of heritage buildings within the Plan includes category I and II buildings. The rules under the Plan aim to maintain heritage values whilst allowing for internal modifications to buildings. The rules also aim to restrict the modification, demolition or removal of any site of significance to Māori identified by Council. The Plan includes non-regulatory methods for identifying and protecting heritage items such as rates relief and assistance with research or promotion of heritage resources. 

Open Space
There are very few provisions to provide for open space within the district. Although there is an overarching policy for the provision of open space, there are no provisions which provide for a range of open space, open space areas associated with stormwater/utilities/streets or providing clear boundaries between public and private open space. The subdivision and development guidelines do however, refer to retaining natural watercourse where there is no requirement for piping which are to be located within a public or designated reserve. The only provision relating to streetscape in the Plan applies to the residential zone.

There are few provisions relating to connectivity in the Plan. Those provisions in the Plan focus on promoting access for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. However, these do not relate to each zone but are district wide provisions. The subdivision and development guidelines briefly refer to traffic control and calming devices. Whilst a number of policies and objectives aim to maintain and promote public access and to promote the establishment of walkways there are no specific provisions relating to connectivity. There are no provisions within the Plan to encourage people to become more physically active.

Urban Growth
Although there are policies aimed at defining the geographic extent of settlements and consolidation and redevelopment there are no associated rules. Summary

Although the Rangitikei District Plan includes a number of objectives, policies and rules specifically relating to urban design, there are a number of gaps with respect to the urban design assessment criteria which have been identified from the assessment undertaken. Overall, 58% of the sub-criteria were addressed by provisions in the District Plan.

Extent of relevant provisions in operative RPS

Extent of relevant provisions in operative District Plan
The graph shows the extent to which the sub-criteria have been incorporated in Rangitikei District Council’s District Plan.  Fifty eight percent of the relevant provisions address the sub-criteria.  These are addressed as follows: 40% at a low weighting, 10% at a medium weighting, and 8% at a high weighting.  Forty two percent of the relevant provisions do not address the sub-criteria.

The above figure shows that for the majority of those sub-criteria, there were a low number of relevant provisions.

There are no provisions at all within the Plan relating to the urban design outcome of collaboration. Furthermore, although there are policies within the Plan that aim to define the geographic extent of settlements and to promote consolidation and redevelopment, the Plan does not go further to define specific provisions to address Urban Growth.

There are few provisions within the Plan relating to the provision of open space. There are no provisions within the Plan that deal with energy efficiency or any design measure to deal with the efficient use of other resources. There also appears to be a lack of provisions in the Plan promoting connectivity.

Overall, whilst some aspects are covered, including amenity, hazards and heritage, there are a number of gaps in terms of the urban design guidance.