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3.7 Nelson

3.7 Nelson

3.7.1 Nelson Resource Management Plan

Nelson City Council has reviewed and verified the questionnaire and summary assessment of the Nelson Resource Management Plan.  They requested a number of additions and amendments, and provided information on work the Council is currently engaged in regarding urban design initiatives. Nelson City Council noted that the review was useful in terms of identifying areas they had not yet looked into.

3.7.1.1 Context

Nelson City Council is a provincial unitary council with a population of approximately 43,000 residents. The population grew 3.2% between 2001 and 2006. Nelson has faced pressures on housing availability and affordability. Nelson City Council is a signatory to the New Zealand Urban Design Protocol.  The Council is committed to a range of action to enhance the look and feel of Nelson’s urban areas.  That includes providing for:

  • quality public spaces
  • a city that is easy to travel around for pedestrians, cars, cyclists and buses
  • a choice of housing types
  • efficient and sustainable use of resources
  • innovative architectural and landscape design.

The Council has a projected income under its 2008/2009 Annual Plan of $86 million. This is a per capita income of $,2000. Fifty-five per cent of that income comes from rates, and 45% from other sources.

3.7.1.2 Plan Provisions

The Nelson Resource Management Plan became operative in 2004, and is a combined district and regional plan. The following provides a summary of the nature and extent of provisions under the Plan that incorporate and promote the urban design criteria under the questionnaire.

Amenity
There are a high number of provisions for the maintenance and enhancement of amenity values in development design, including daylight access, sign controls, and storage screening. Appendices provide additional design guidance for retaining and enhancing amenity.

Commerce
The Plan includes provisions which would allow for some mixing of uses, and requires verandahs for pedestrian protection. The Plan also limits large format retail to parts of the Tahunanui industrial zone and some restricted large retail format in the Stoke Centre. Home occupations are permitted in the residential zone (REr.21). However, the number of commerce provisions is low overall

Choice
A variety of housing densities, site areas, and site coverage, provide for a range of housing options in lower density, higher density, and standard density areas. Smaller lots are required to provide at least a minimum of outdoor space. There is some limited promotion of infill housing and consolidation in the city centre. The Plan does not include any maximum parking controls.

Custodianship
Two sub-criteria are addressed well under custodianship. Natural and manmade hazard avoidance has a high number of provisions under the Plan, focusing on avoiding inappropriate development in hazard prone areas. Noise mitigation for dwellings near the airport or port is required under the Plan, and proposed Plan Change 07/01 adds two additional provisions for acoustic insulation within the port noise affected area. There are limited provisions under the Plan addressing energy efficiency, low impact design, and consideration of health effects in design, and no provisions related to water saving devices, crime prevention through environmental design ongoing care and maintenance of buildings and sites, and the relationship of buildings to the street.

Collaboration
There are no relevant provisions under the Plan.

Character
There are a high number of provisions for retaining the character of an area and also for protecting distinctive landforms in development and subdivision. A few provisions also address the retention and protection of indigenous vegetation and water bodies. There are no provisions focused on the creation of character and identity in new developments.

Heritage
A high number of provisions are included in the Plan for managing and responding to heritage items, with differing levels of protection for the various categories of heritage building and trees. No non-regulatory methods are identified in the Plan.  However, some do exist such as grants for the maintenance of heritage items.

Open Space
A number of provisions provide for a range of public open spaces. There are no relevant provisions for the other sub-criteria under open space.

Connectivity
Provision is made for enhancing cycle and pedestrian networks, and promoting a walkable environment. The other sub-criteria under connectivity are not addressed under the Plan’s provisions. Appendix 7 provides guidelines for providing street planting to improve amenity.

Urban Growth
The Plan includes a high number of provisions addressing growth management, with a focus on promoting a compact city centre, and avoiding sprawling sporadic coastal subdivision. There are no provisions promoting the use of structure plans or brownfield reuse, or requirements for collaboration with other councils on growth management. However, Nelson City Council is actively developing structure planned areas (Nelson South and Marsden Valley) as directed by Nelson Urban Growth Strategy, and is also collaborating closely with Tasman District Council on growth related matters.  Chapter 2 RI2 recognises the importance of cross boundary issues with Tasman and Marlborough District Councils, the first item listed relates to growth issues.

3.7.1.3 Summary

The Nelson Resource Management Plan has a moderate number of urban design provisions. Under the operative Plan, 62% of the questionnaire sub-criteria are addressed through the Plan provision. A proposed Plan Change 07/01 does not increase this percentage nor does it alter the weighting given to any of the sub-criteria. The following graph illustrates the proportion of those sub-criteria for which the number of relevant provisions was high, medium or low, or for which there were no relevant provisions.

Extent of relevant provisions in operative RPS

Extent of relevant provisions in operative resource management plan
The graph shows the extent to which the sub-criteria have been incorporated in Nelson City Council’s Resource Management Plan.  Sixty two percent of the relevant provisions address the sub-criteria.  These are addressed as follows: 40% at a low weighting, 12% at a high weighting, and 10 % at a medium weighting.  Thirty eight percent of the relevant provisions do not address the sub-criteria.

The above graph shows that there were a ‘low’ or ‘medium’ number provisions under the Nelson Resource Management Plan addressing half of the sub-criteria.

The urban design criteria that are addressed thoroughly under the operative Plan and proposed Plan Change include amenity, choice, character, and heritage. A number of sub-criteria under commerce, custodianship and urban growth management are addressed through the District Plan. Collaboration, open space and connectivity are not covered very thoroughly under the Plan. Gaps include:

  • no maximum car parking controls
  • limited provisions encouraging water saving devices, crime prevention through environmental design principles, or the ongoing maintenance of buildings and spaces 
  • no provisions encouraging collaboration
  • limited provisions promoting character and identity in new developments
  • lack of non-regulatory incentives to manage heritage resources, however, heritage grants are available for maintenance of buildings)
  • no provisions addressing streetscape design, or the integrated management of stormwater and open spaces
  • no provisions for reducing vehicle speeds, encouraging attractive linkages, or maintaining green networks.

Nelson City Council is currently working on a number of initiatives which will improve some of the items listed.  The ones underway now are:

  • Central City Strategy which includes a number of items related to urban living, street frontages, commercial areas and open space.  Some of these are simple projects to beautify or improve areas, while others are rule changes or rezoning.
  • Residential Development and Intensification.  This project is looking to allow for more site responsive development which follows best practice urban design and low impact design. This will also look to improve internal council processes to ensure there is knowledge and flexibility in the system to allow an outcome-based approach rather than a prescriptive, rule-based approach.
  • Inner City Noise project looks to create a vibrant inner city while allowing for inner city living as part of this.
  • Other growth and energy efficiency projects being planned.  These include solar provisions, structure plans, landscape protection, improving heritage provisions.