District Plan - Plan Change 2 - Pukehāngi Heights

Consultation has concluded

In recognition of the need for additional residentially zoned land, Rotorua Lakes Council has been working with land owners within the Pukehāngi Heights Area to develop a plan change that is intended to facilitate residential and rural residential development.

The Minister has approved the rezoning of the land and the plan change provisions.

More information on the plan change is provided here

Please note, before housing can occur within this area additional work in relation to stormwater needs to be completed, a discharge consent sought from the regional council and subdivisions approved by the district council.

In recognition of the need for additional residentially zoned land, Rotorua Lakes Council has been working with land owners within the Pukehāngi Heights Area to develop a plan change that is intended to facilitate residential and rural residential development.

The Minister has approved the rezoning of the land and the plan change provisions.

More information on the plan change is provided here

Please note, before housing can occur within this area additional work in relation to stormwater needs to be completed, a discharge consent sought from the regional council and subdivisions approved by the district council.

Consultation has concluded
  • Further Submissions

    * Further Submissions are now closed *

    Listed below is a copy of full further submissions - click on the submitter name to open individual submissions

    We have also compiled these all into one document also downloadable here

    1. Monique Reesby
    2. Te Arawa Group Holdings Ltd.
    3. New Zealand Transport Agency - Waka Kotahi
    4. Rotorua Ratepayers and Ratepayers Association
    5. Matipo Ave Residents Inc Societies (MARIS)
    6. Hunt Family
    7. Bay of Plenty Regional Council
    8. Ministry of Education (late submission received 20th March)
    9. Joint Landowners - The Hunt Family, Te Arawa Holdings Limited (TAGH) and Paul Sumner (Sunny Downs Farm) (late submission received 31st July)

  • Streamlined Plan Change Process steps

    The streamlined plan change process differs from the standard RMA Plan change process. Under the streamlined process, the steps are as follows:

    1. Submissions

    Submissions close 20 February 2020
    Council will then summarise the submissions received and make these available online.

    2. Further Submissions Period

    This is an opportunity for people to make a 'further submission' to support or oppose the submissions received if they:

    a) represent a relevant aspect of the public interest; or

    b) have an interest in the proposed policy statement or plan greater than the interest that the general public has; or

    c) are the local authority itself.

    3. Pre-Hearing Mediation

    If considered appropriate, Council may initiate pre-hearing mediation on key topics raised during submissions. The intention is to understand and, if possible, resolve issues prior to the hearing. An independent mediator will oversee any mediation.

    4. Public Hearing

    The hearing provides the opportunity for submitters to present their submission in person. Three independent commissioners will oversee the hearing.

    5. Draft Recommendations to Submitters

    The independent commissioners will write a report to the Minister for the Environment setting out their recommendations on the plan change and reasons. Prior to issuing this report to the Minister, the draft report will be circulated to submitters and further submitters. This step has been included to ensure that minor or technical errors or omissions can be corrected.

    6. Final Decision by Minister for the Environment

    The commissioners' recommendations are then forwarded to the Minister for the final decision on the plan change. It is important to note, under the streamlined plan change process, the decision cannot be appealed to the Environment Court.

    This is a summary of the Plan Change steps. The full statutory requirements are set out in the Minister's Direction.

  • What is a 'Streamlined Plan Change Process'?

    One of the recent amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) was the inclusion of provisions to enable the use of a streamlined plan change process.

    The streamlined plan change process enables the Minister of the Environment to approve a shortened plan change process in a limited range of circumstances – this includes:

    • Plan changes that are implementing a national direction e.g. the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity; and/or
    • Plan changes that are being used to meet a significant community need.

    The Minister for the Environment approved the use of the streamlined plan change process for the Pukehangi Heights Plan Change on the basis that it will allow urban growth issues to be responded to in a timely way, and is proportionate to the complexity and significance of the planning issue.

    The plan change steps approved by the Minister for this plan change are set out here. The Gazette Notice is available here. This includes the timeframes that need to be met and also includes the Ministers Statement of Expectations.

    An important difference between the streamlined plan change process and the standard plan change process is that the decision cannot be appealled to the Environment Court. It is therefore critical that anyone interested in the plan change gets involved by making a submission.

    The Ministry for the Environment has more information on the Streamlined Plan Change Process.

  • Ministers Statement of Expectations for the Plan Change

    The Minister for the Environment’s expectations for Rotorua District Council, in undertaking the streamlined plan change process, are as follows:

    • beginning no later than when proposed Plan Change 2: Pukehāngi Heights is notified under Step 1, dates and anticipated timeframes for the steps in the streamlined planning process are identified (and updated as necessary) on a publicly accessible website so members of the public can be informed.
    • the following parties should be served notice of the proposed plan change when notified:
      • Bay of Plenty Regional Council
      • Ngāti Kea Ngāti Tuarā
      • Ngāti Whakaue
      • Ngāti Rangiwewehi
      • Ngāti Raukawa
      • Te Arawa Lakes Trust
      • Rotorua Lakes Strategy Group.
    • submissions and further submissions on the proposed Plan Change 2: Pukehāngi Heights should be placed on a publicly accessible website within five working days after each submission period closes.
    • consideration be given to the skills required to appropriately consider the issues relevant to proposed Plan Change 2: Pukehāngi Heights when appointing members of the hearing panel.
    • the recommended Plan Change 2: Pukehāngi Heights should provide sufficient development capacity for a minimum housing yield of approximately 790 dwellings, comprising a mix of densities and typologies that will meet demand, while recognising the constraints that apply to the land that is subject to the rezoning.

  • Extension of timeframe to hold a hearing

    Hearing Date: Monday 14 September – Thursday 17 September 2020

    Location: Committee Room 2, Rotorua Lakes Council

    The hearing for Plan Change 2: Pukehāngi Heights has been confirmed for Monday 14 September 2020. At this stage, it is anticipated that the hearing will extend into Thursday 17 September 2020. The hearing will be held in Committee Room 2, 1st Floor, Rotorua Lakes Council.

    Rotorua Lakes Council have been granted an extension of timeframes for the Pukehāngi Heights Plan Change (PC2) hearing from the Minister of the Environment. The Minister has approved a 3-month extension.

    Purpose of the Extension

    The extension of timeframes was requested to allow adequate time to undertake complex stormwater modelling of the receiving environment. This stormwater modelling is important to understand the potential impacts of development in the plan change area.

    Minister’s Decision

    More information and the letter from the Minister for the Environment can be found here.

    What has caused the delay?

    Rotorua Lakes Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council have been working together to ensure there is an appropriate level of information to understand the downstream effects of residential development at the Pukehāngi site.

  • Further Submissions (Public Notice) - Proposed Plan Change 2: Pukehāngi Heights

    supporting image

    Proposed Plan Change 2: Pukehāngi Heights

    to the Rotorua District Plan

    Rotorua Lakes Council advises that:

    • a Summary of the Decisions requested on the Pukehāngi Heights plan change (Summary of Submissions) along with copies of the original submissions are now available

    How do I view the initial submissions received?

    Copies of submissions along with a summary of submissions are available here or at:

    • Customer Service, Rotorua Lakes Council - 1061 Haupapa Street, Rotorua
    • Te Aka Mauri, Rotorua Library - 1127 Haupapa Street, Rotorua

    Who can make a Further Submission?

    The people who can make a further submissions are limited to:

    • any person representing a relevant aspect of the public interest;
    • any person that has an interest in the proposed plan change greater than the interest that the general public has; and
    • The local authority itself.

    Further submissions must be received by Council by 19 March 2020.

    What can a Further Submission address?

    A further submission must be limited to a matter in support of or in opposition to an initial submission.

    Within 5 working days of providing the further submission to Council, you must also serve a copy on the person who made the original submission.

    If you have any questions about the plan change, please contact our Customer Services Team on 07 348 4199.

    Closing date for further submissions 19 March 2020.

    All Further Submissions will be made available on the website from 26 March 2020.

    Geoff Williams

    Chief Executive

  • Key Topics: Stormwater

    The Pukehāngi Heights Development Area lies with the Utuhina Steam Catchment and will discharge stormwater to the catchment.

    The volume of stormwater runoff will increase with the urbanisation of the Pukehāngi Heights area due to the increase in impermeable surfaces.

    Conceptual Stormwater Management Plans have been developed for each of the three sites within the Development Area:
    • Sunny Downs[1]
    • Hunts Farm[2]
    • Twin Oaks[3]
    A further report assessing flood risks has been prepared[4]. These reports have all been independently peer reviewed[5].

    The general concept for each conceptual management plan is to manage stormwater quantity and quality following a “treatment train” approach, with a focus on source control (including ‘on-lot’) measures, distributing to a network of green open space that serves as stormwater attenuation areas including swales for attenuation and conveyance, and use of larger dry basins before discharging off the site.

    Sunny Downs and Hunt Farm can both make appropriate on-site provision for stormwater management that meet these criteria using detention basins and control structures to manage runoff rates. An additional option that also could limit the on-site provision for stormwater management is the development of detention basins, ponds or control structures in Wrights Park.

    Due to the site restrictions, detention basins or ponds are not a safe and practical option for Twin Oaks as any retained water body within the site will pose a risk to the existing downstream residential development. A combination of ground infiltration and on-lot detention tanks is a technically feasible option for reducing runoff rates to meet the criteria. Alternatively, Twin Oaks may be able to work with the adjoining Hunt Farm to provide access to retention areas with increased capacity to also take their runoff.

    The proposed Structure Plan for the Pukehāngi Height Development Area shows the indicative location of stormwater detention areas and the main overland flow paths based on the Conceptual Stormwater Management Plans. Indicative detention areas for the Twin Oaks development have been identified on the Hunts Farm.

    Finalising the design of the stormwater management system for the development is constrained by currently incomplete information on the Utuhina catchment. An effective Catchment Management Plan for the total catchment requires modelling that will enable consideration of issues such as future development, current flooding risk, and climate change. This work is underway, but not yet complete.

    Development planning has therefore proceeded using interim assumptions about the level of attenuation to protect the proposed development and downstream areas from flooding. The preliminary design criteria set for stormwater management is to reduce the 1% AEP runoff to 80% of the pre-development flows.

    This results in large areas needing to be set aside within the development area for stormwater detention basins. These areas will eventually vest in the council. The extent of on-site stormwater mitigation and the ultimate development yield cannot be fully confirmed until the catchment modelling and planning work is completed.

    Given these uncertainties, the proposed plan change provisions require a catchment based Stormwater Management Plan (SMP) to be prepared prior to subdivision and development occurring. The issues addressed in the SMP are set out on the Performance Standards. This includes the need to address the potential effects of stormwater management measures, for example, the detention areas, on land stability and liquefaction;

    Developers will also need stormwater discharge consents from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to enable development to occur. This will require an assessment of water quality and quantity effects to be undertaken, and consideration of potentially affected persons.

    Council is in the process of renewing the comprehensive stormwater discharge consents that it holds for the wider Utuhina catchment. To date, the application process has been approached on conservative design assumptions due to the lack of modelled data. Opportunities are being considered to enhance the discharge consent application process with modelled data and to widen the scope of the application to include the Pukehāngi Heights Development Area. This will ensure that issues are addressed effectively and efficiently on a comprehensive basis across the catchment, thereby simplifying the future development consent process.
    [1] Pukehāngi Road (Sunny Downs) development - Concept Stormwater Masterplan WSP Opus 2017
    [2] Pukehāngi Road (Hunts Farm) development - Stormwater Masterplan Advice WSP Opus 2017
    [3] Te Arawa Group Holdings Development, WSP Opus, Rotorua 2018
    [4] Pukehāngi Heights Flood Risk Assessment, WSP Opus 2019
    [5] Pukehāngi Plan Change Stormwater Technical, Review, Tonkin and Taylor, 2019

  • Key Topics: Landscape Values

    The Pukehāngi Heights Development Area is located on the lower slopes of the Rotorua Caldera Rim.

    The landscape values of the Caldera Rim have been assessed in the ‘Rotorua Caldera Rim – Caldera Rim Rural Character Design Guideline’ (October 2012) which also provides guidance on how to integrate growth and land use change into the landscape.

    The Caldera Rim landscape is recognised as being highly valued by the Rotorua community.

    The Design Guideline identifies the Pukehāngi Heights Development Area as being within the ‘less sensitive rural landscape’ situated below the RL385 contour. Above this contour, rural or natural character values should be maintained. Below this contour, the landscape still contains important character and amenity values but is less sensitive to land use change.

    The land form of the Pukehāngi Heights Development Area broadly comprises two terraces with an escarpment between. The Lower Terrace adjoins Pukehāngi Road and slowly rises to meet the steep mid-site Escarpment. The land then rises to a broad Upper Terrace extending northwest/southeast with intervening valleys. The Upper Terrace has a steep escarpment backdrop.

    The landscape assessment is that the lower and upper terraces can generally be developed for residential use with moderate-low landscape and visual effects. Development on the more prominent escarpment edges requires careful design to mitigate localised visual effects.

    The Mid-site Escarpment, being more prominent and visually sensitive, is better suited to much lower density development in clusters with a strong green corridor of native vegetation banding along and across much of this area. This will help to ensure that the development integrates well with the adjoining Parklands development. Those areas of the escarpment closer to Matipo Ave can be less vegetated with a more open space, rural character.

    The Structure Plan identifies the key areas that are sensitive to landscape change, specifically the Upper Escarpment, the Mid-Site Escarpment and the Escarpment Transition Areas 1 and 2.

    The plan change includes a general landscape principle: ‘Development that responds to the landscape values of the Caldera Rim and the topography of the area’, along with place specific principles which describe the landscape outcomes intended. For example, in the mid site escarpment the first principle is a ‘Partially re-vegetated native bush and specimen tree network to form a backdrop to the development on the Lower Terrace’.

    Objectives and Policies are also proposed to guide development (see A5.2A.2)

    Subdivision controls to manage landscape effects

    Subdivision within the more visually sensitive parts of the site require a landscape and visual assessment. In addition, within the mid site escarpment details of the revegetation will form part of the conditions of consent. Finally, the plan change proposes the revegetation of the Upper Escarpment. This will be triggered by the subdivision of the Upper Terrace.

    Land use controls to manage landscape effects

    The plan change also includes controls on buildings within the more sensitive landscape areas. For example, within the escarpment transition area 2 (which is at the top of the mid-site escarpment) there are additional controls on the height of buildings, yards, modulation of buildings, density, reflectivity and controls on retaining walls and fences.

    [1] See Landscape and Visual Effects Assessment – Boffa Miskell Ltd 22 February 2019

  • Key Topics: Traffic

    The Pukehāngi Heights Development Area is served primary from Pukehāngi Road which is Collector Road.

    The development of the land will increase traffic volumes on the local road network.

    An assessment of the traffic effects of development of Pukehāngi Heights on the road network has been undertaken[1]. This assessment concludes that traffic flows from the development will be relatively low with no significant delays to traffic turning in or out of the development, or on the performance of the wider network.

    The speed limit on Pukehāngi Road is likely to be reduced from its present 70km/h to 50 km/h.

    An indicative primary road network and walkways and cycleways are shown on the proposed Structure Plan. Additional local roads will need to be provided to accommodate the planned development.

    The proposed Structure Plan shows the appropriate locations for intersections with the existing road network to optimise traffic flows within the development, and to focus amenity effects of traffic flows on existing intersections.

    Active Transport Modes

    The operative District Plan recognises that developing a compact urban area that allows for effective and varied forms of transport and pedestrian connections is important to achieve a sustainable city[2].

    Development of the site presents an opportunity for enhanced walking and cycling access for the development site as well as giving the surrounding community access to recreational areas and outstanding views of the lake and Rotorua Caldera, complementing other recreational assets in the local areas.

    The proposed structure plan shows the extent of the walking and cycling network within the Development Area. The standards for construction (e.g. width, surfacing, lighting) will be guided by the Councils infrastructure specifications [3] and general subdivision criteria in the operative District Plan[4] for the safe and convenient movement of pedestrians and cyclists throughout a subdivision site or development.

    The Development Area will link to the Councils “Cyway” biking network via a planned 3m wide shared access along Pukehāngi Road.

    Public Transport

    There is the potential for public transport connections along Pukehāngi Road which will be easily walkable from all parts of the Development Area. The planned local centres create the opportunity to locate bus stops adjacent to areas of activity focus and amenity.

    Matipo Avenue

    Residents of Matipo Avenue have raised specific concerns about the impact of development and construction traffic on Matipo Avenue from the TAGH land. Matipo Avenue is narrow and has a steep gradient where it rises from Pukehāngi Road, which reduces its capacity for additional traffic to be handled safely.

    Residents in Matipo Avenue were submitters opposed to the proposed “Twin Oaks” Development Plan through the last District Plan Review. Their submissions resulted in standards being included in the District Plan to control construction access, development scale, and internal road connections. Residents want to maintain these standards as an outcome of the proposed plan change.

    A range of options have been developed and evaluated for access to the Twin Oaks land[5]. As an outcome of this planning process, the concerns raised by residents have been recognised and provided for by the following provisions being included in the Plan Change:

    · Limiting the likely number of vehicle movements on Matipo Avenue from Twin Oaks to no more than those enabled under the current District Plan provisions;

    · Restricting land development construction vehicles from using Matipo Avenue, with access instead being gained from Great Western Road, or Pukehāngi Road via the Hunt Farm land.

    The traffic assessment concludes that if the road network is developed as shown on the Structure Plan, the number of vehicle movements on Matipo Avenue from Twin Oaks will be less than those enabled under the current District Plan provisions.

    [1] Pukehāngi Heights Development Area Traffic Assessment, Stantec, 08 March 2019

    [2] 13.2.4 Sustainable Design and Development of Land

    [3] https://www.rotorualakescouncil.nz/our-council/council-publications/standardsandstrategies/Pages/Civil-Engineering-Industry-Standards.aspx

    [4] See Objective 13.3.9, 13.13.2 g Roading and Access, General Assessment Criteria

    [5] Matipo Avenue Access Issues and Options Discussion Paper

  • Key Topics: Cultural and Archaeological Values


    An archaeological assessment has been undertaken for the Development Area[1].

    The assessment identifies that that there were two broad natural terraces, which are likely to have been occupied and gardened in the past by Māori. High points on the ground above, and between the two terraces, could have been used for storage and defence. The sole recorded pa is located on the highest point at 422 m, overlooking this area.

    The soils are well-drained, which would have suited gardening and storage of kumara. It appears the springs within the subject properties were only active during the winter, or at times of very heavy rainfall. However, the named streams to the north, south and east were permanent waterways. To the east the tributaries of the Otamatea Stream formed several swampy channels, which might have had eels, flax and other resources.

    The earliest maps show the land was predominantly or totally clear of bush, which must have been cut by Māori in the past, to form areas for settlement and gardening. Further bush felling would have occurred after European arrival.

    Traditional Māori accounts refer to gardened areas, including Paparata marked just outside the properties, but may extend over a wider area.

    Site investigations have identified the location of several archaeological features and sites that may warrant protection. Most of these features and sites are in locations that enable retention and protection.

    Development of the Pukehāngi Heights Development Area has the potential to adversely affect identified archaeological features and sites. Further investigation will be needed at the development stage to determine appropriate management.

    Cultural Landscape

    While few archaeological features remain, the Cultural Impact Assessment prepared by Ngāti Kea Ngāti Tuara identifies the area’s cultural and historical significance, with settlement occurring over 500 years ago.

    The whole area is significant for Ngāti Kea Ngāti Tuara as a meeting point between their ancestors’ traditional homes of Horohoro, Tihi-o-Tonga, Tārewa and Patetere. Key cultural features include the old pā sites - Pukehāngi and Puketapu and the north-facing slopes from the kāinga at Paparata towards the north-west (along what is now Pukehāngi Rd) that were used extensively by tangata whenua as mahinga kai.

    Given the areas cultural context, there is a desire to see the expression of cultural identity within the Development Area, including through the incorporation of landmark features such as traditional or contemporary art works into the street network, and street naming.

    The effectiveness of the management of archaeological sites, and sites and areas of cultural significance is dependent on the quality of the information available. Early engagement with hapū and the identification of issues and responses early in the planning stage of the development process means that effective protection measures can be put in place where required.

    [1] Assessment for Exploratory Archaeological Authority: Pukehāngi Heights, Rotorua, Dr C Phillips, 2019