Plans to prevent a Wellington housing crisis have been given the green light.
Wellington City Council voted unanimously on Thursday to forge ahead with the largest reform of the city’s housing policies in decades.
Council chief executive Kevin Lavery warned councillors implementing the plan was going to be tough and achieving its goals could require them to support developers in the face of opposition from residents.
The council’s city strategy committee voted to adopt the plan, from recommendations of the Mayor’s Mayor’s Housing Taskforce, that sets out measures to ensure all Wellingtonians are well housed.
The plan for fixing Wellington’s issues included solutions such as increasing building heights and allowing more site coverage, stepping up council-led development, incentivising affordable housing developments, simplifying consents, raising rental standards, partnerships with the community housing sector and signing a new partnership agreement with the Government.
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said: “Wellington is growing strongly, and we need to make sure we are providing opportunities for new homes to match that growth. It won’t be easy but we want to see every Wellingtonian well housed.”
“It has three main components. First, there will be greater leadership from the council. We’re not going to sit on the sidelines and leave it to the market. We’re going to be more involved by directly building new homes, setting better standards and looking at changes to rating, procurement and development policies to incentivise more development.
“Second, we want to partner with central government to free up more land and develop more social housing, especially for the homeless and those in need.
“Finally, we want to work closer with NGOs, community housing providers and developers, especially on increasing social housing. It’s about saying that as a city we are in this together and then finding ways to deliver.”
The next step involved incorporating the plan into the first draft of the 10-year budget in the Mayor’s first Long Term Plan.
· Release council land for development.
· Refurbish central city buildings into affordable apartments.
· Review the council’s procurement policy to promote home building.
· Simplify consenting by introducing a one-stop shop approach.
· Develop pre-approved designs to speed up consenting.
· Create a new partnership with central government to boost social housing numbers.
· Notify District Plan changes to encourage greater housing density and raise height limits.
· Deliver Te Whare Oki Oki (wet house) – a supported living facility for homeless Wellingtonians.
· Create more tenancy support to get rough sleepers into long-term accommodation.
· Deliver direct investment in new social and affordable homes.
· Work with Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency to increase the number of skilled construction workers available to meet demand.
· Create a development pipeline of greenfield land for new homes.
· Develop a Wellington-specific Housing Standard for rental properties.
· Help homeowners to bring houses up to the standard through a new grant.
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