Incentives offered to create housing in central Porirua
The waiving of fees and rates has been offered to prospective developers who want to build residential housing in Porirua’s city centre.
Porirua City Council agreed on a CBD residential incentives policy last Thursday and it was roundly supported by councillors. It agrees that there will be no development contribution charges, resource consent pre- application and processing fees and a reduction in building consent fees by 50 per cent.
Rates will not be charged for residential units in the CBD for five years, from when the building consent is issued or when a resource consent comes into effect.
The waivers cover conversions and new builds.
Councillor Ken Douglas said this was a crucial policy, as part of the city centre revitalisation. Business growth will come if foot traffic increases, and inner-city living can aid that, he said.
‘‘If we’re going to succeed with the city centre, we need to get people there,’’ he said. ‘‘ The original design of the city has created problems and, as the recent floods showed, it can be impossible to get out of the CBD at times.’’
Douglas said this policy was not a ‘‘free ticket’’, however, and it needed to have integrity.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said while residents might be agitated over the purchase of the New Zealand Post building, council should nevertheless be recognised for its contribution to the city’s housing.
‘‘All those people that live in Aotea, they are there because this council purchased that land and sought a developer. North City and the MegaCentre is the same – this council was involved in making it happen. There is precedent for us [to implement this policy] and we need to open the door for people to come and change our city for the better.’’
Wendy Walker, the council’s general manager of strategy and planning, said the boundary of the CBD will be defined by the District Plan, as will car parking, noise and urban design.
The report to the council noted there are no known residential units in the CBD and no developments are formally proposed. New builds are unlikely, so any new residential units in the short or medium term are likely to come from converting existing commercial buildings, the report said.
The policy will apply from July 1 and lapse on June 30, 2018, unless the council agreed to extend or revoke it before then.