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Winds of change rustle Carterton

Paddocks on the edge of Carterton tipped for development. PHOTO/SUE TEODORO

The green fields on the outskirts of Carterton could become a thing of the past as residents and councillors plan for growth.

At a meeting on Wednesday the Carterton District Council policy and strategy committee voted unanimously to incorporate residents’ feedback into the proposed plan to expand the town’s eastern side. Future expansion to the southwest of the town was also anticipated.

It was expected up to 1000 more homes would be needed by 2033, based on current projections.

Mayor Greg Lang said affordability was a major consideration of new infrastructure.

“The overarching message from the community is that we want to retain the community that we have, and affordable housing has to be part of that,” Lang said.

Councillor Cherry-Campbell said public feedback was mainly in line with CDC views.

“Many of the submissions were very similar to what council have discussed around the table,” she said.

Councillor Stockley said: “It makes me feel we are in touch with the community. We can go forward with the process confident community views are front of mind.”

Of the 29 submissions, there was overwhelming support to change the large sections and largely rural character to low-to-medium density housing, sustainable living, cycleways, smaller or even tiny houses, and a focus on upgrading infrastructure and support services.

Former Wellington mayor and Carterton resident Celia Wade-Brown supported the proposals.

“I like the increased housing choice better density will provide, and the emphasis on walking and cycling access and green spaces.”

Wade-Brown said the area around Carterton train station was a neglected opportunity.

PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Submitter Lilla Csorgo urged council to consider high-density residential zoning.

“In particular, lots that would allow for the construction of townhouses and low-rise, multi-dwelling units,” she said.

“This type of housing is generally in short supply in Wairarapa, while such housing is typically in demand by both older and younger demographic groups, who often do not have the energy or interest to maintain a larger lot and are attracted to the lower costs typically associated with smaller and more dense housing. The environmental benefits of higher density housing
are also well-known.”

“I am very supportive of rezoning for higher-density capacity,” resident Danijela Tavich said.

“I also hope the trend of smaller minimum lot sizes will continue across the urban area of Carterton to support the development of affordable housing that this region so desperately needs.”

Sixty-four per cent of submitters supported lot sizes as small as 250 square metres, with the town having a mix of bigger and smaller developments. While an option for larger sections remained on the table, people supported a focus on quality over quantity.

Duplexes and apartment-style living were also suggested as part of a future urban landscape.

Peter Greener supported a mix of accommodation, especially for younger people.

“Closer to town duplexes, or what the English call maisonettes, can provide four two-bedroom homes in one building on a small site, yet provide both upstairs and downstairs flats with a garden each, one front, one back,” he said.

Submitters wanted walking and cycling paths off the main roads and footpaths, additional green spaces and the use of sustainable materials and renewable resources like solar power.

However, many submitters raised questions about services, like medical care, in a larger community, and not all submissions were positive.

Jim and Carole Wrigley supported growth but were unconvinced about the detail.

“Our services such as doctors/dentists, water, traffic are stretched to the limit, and another 1000 houses won’t help,” they said.

“Could we have a dog area incorporated into the design to keep them off the footpaths?”

Mike Osborne was concerned water infrastructure could limit the ability to develop, while Helen Dew suggested rainwater tanks and greywater systems should be mandatory.

Council discussed the infrastructure challenges, with councillor Cretney expressing concern about power on the eastern side.

“They are already at capacity of what they can draw. That’s my main concern.”

Senior planner Solitaire Robertson said concerns would be addressed as part of the ongoing consultation and planning process. Potentially affected parties would be invited to formally engage with the council.

She expected the development would be staged, which gave further opportunity to address issues.

“I wouldn’t anticipate we would have 2000 new dwellings in the first year. It would be a gradual build-up over time.”

Questions were also raised about the process for freeing land for development.

It was recognised some landowners would be keen to sell and some would not.

The meeting follows the the council’s Growth Strategy development in 2017, which identified the need for more land to adapt to the growing community’s future needs.

The council proposed the eastern side of Carterton as the best for development because it was close to community and infrastructure services.

A draft structure plan was developed, and in December 2020, the council asked the community for feedback.

The main items for consultation were mixing residential densities of bigger and smaller sections, expansion to the southwest of town, a green corridor including Richmond Garden, more and safer walking and cycleways, and the expansion of light industry and services with the provision of green buffer zones.

The public feedback would be incorporated into an updated draft structure plan, to be presented at the next policy and strategy committee meeting ahead of formal council approval.

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