Council progresses plans for Hukutaia Growth Area
At the Council meeting on 21 December 2021, Ōpōtiki District Council made several changes to the District Plan to support the implementation of the draft Structure Plan for the Hukutaia Growth Area.
Ōpōtiki Mayor, Lyn Riesterer, said that the council paper walked through the scope, process and timing of changes to the District Plan so that it would reflect longer-term growth intended for the Hukutaia area.
“One of our decisions was to rezone the Hukutaia Growth Area from Rural to Residential and provide more details from the Structure Plan as an overlay. This aligns with our long-term vision for the Hukutaia area.
“This was another important step we needed to take at our end so that we are ready and waiting to go if funding is available through the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund (IAF).
“This decision today means we will only formally notify the plan change if funding is received through the IAF. Back in October, we were invited to submit a more detailed application for IAF funding and we did so just last week. So that funding is top of mind.
“This decision means council will start the background work that sits under the plan change, but we’ll only go through the plan change process if funding is approved,” Mayor Riesterer said.
The Mayor noted that the project had a long history in Ōpōtiki and is an important part of Council’s long term planning.
“We have new jobs coming online and new training, businesses and opportunities. Ōpōtiki is growing for the first time in a long time.
“This growth is on top of an existing housing shortage and Hukutaia is our medium-to-long-term solution to house all the people coming home and moving to the area. As I said at the time, there just isn’t anywhere else to build at the scale we need in the timeframes we need that has good links to town with a wide range of affordable housing opportunities.
“The IAF is a chance to encourage development and remove barriers to growth, without weighing heavily on rates for local ratepayers,” Mayor Riesterer said.
In earlier correspondence with Hukutaia residents, Council had outlined the draft Hukutaia Structure Plan and advised that a drop-in session would be held so that residents could chat about any questions or concerns about the proposal and what it might mean for those on septic tanks or with larger sections. Following several delays due to covid, that drop-in session has been scheduled for January with more detail coming soon.