Aging population prompts proposed rule change to allow for elderly persons housing in Hurunui

Friday,30 Jul 2010

The Hurunui District Council is looking to introduce planning rules to allow ‘elderly persons housing’ in the district to provide accommodation options for a growing aging population over the next twenty years.
Just over fourteen percent of the population today is over 65 but this is predicted to double to just over 28 percent by 2031.

Environmental Services Manager, Andrew Feierabend says the problem is there is no existing provision in the district plan to specifically cater for those residents nearing retirement to continue to live independently in the communities that they know and have contributed to.
The Council is now proposing to introduce provisions for independent senior living units as an option for the future. This would allow for housing units in clusters of three or more to be built specifically for disabled, retired or elderly residents (over the age of 65) in serviced townships, as a discretionary activity.  The minimum total site area would be 250m2 per unit, with an average total site area of 350m2.  Each unit could cover up to 50% of the site.
Andrew Feierabend says while the units would cater for older people the Council still thinks they are entitled to a comfortable living environment and not just a tiny box.  (The units would be between 125 and 175m2 whereas the maximum unit size in Christchurch City is 80m2).  Ensuring the units are in clusters of at least three will also ensure there are neighbours close at hand to provide fellowship and a sense of security.
Subdivision and land use consents would have to be submitted together along with a comprehensive development plan showing landscaping and vehicle access for example, and the site would have to be connected to services. All other rules, including design standards where appropriate, would apply.
The units would be covenanted for over 65’s or persons on invalid benefits only (partners, dependants or caregivers may be under the age of 65.)
Potentially affected townships are: Cheviot, Greta Valley, Hawarden, Leithfield, Waikari and Leithfield and Motunau Beaches; and Amberley and Hanmer Springs.
The move is being floated as an exception to proposed Plan Change 23 to otherwise increase the minimum urban allotment size to 700m2 (to townships with reticulated services) and 1100m2 (to townships without reticulation) in a bid to preserve the low density character of the districts townships. 

Submissions on Plan Change 23, including the proposed introduction of Independent Senior Living Units, close at 5pm Monday 16 August 2010.
For further information:
Andrew Feierabend
Environmental Services Manager
Hurunui District Council
03 314 0013