A compact and livable City

We are proposing to create greater housing choice and affordability within the District Plan by introducing a medium density residential zone

Why? - Community feedback, demand and central government direction

Our people have told us that they want to see a more compact urban form and a greater range of housing choice as Porirua grows. We heard this feedback in the District Plan Make your Mark campaign and the Porirua Growth Strategy.

The Porirua Growth Strategy is the guiding framework for our City. One of its principles seeks to develop a quality, increasingly compact urban form to accommodate growth, while ensuring improved environmental outcomes.

We are seeing an increase in the number of resource consents for semi-detached housing and townhouses, which reflects the increased demand for this type of housing in Porirua.

We are also responding to central government requirements to allow for more housing and different types of housing to meet demand. 

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What? - Density done well

To respond to community feedback for greater housing choice and a more compact urban form, we are proposing that we rezone some areas in Porirua to medium density residential. This could mean:

  • Townhouses
  • Semi-detached housing
  • Low rise apartments 
  • Standalone housing

Key changes to achieve the above could include:

  • Increasing the permitted height of buildings from 8m to 11m
  • Increasing the area of a site that can be covered by the building from 35% to 45%
  • Allowing buildings to be closer to the road boundary (except a garage) – from 5m to 2m

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Illustration courtesy of Dave Compton-Moen - DCM Urban


While we want to provide for this demand we also want to ensure that development respects the character of a neighbourhood.

We propose to proactively manage denser development through the use of design guides and development rules to make sure that future development respects existing character and neighbourhood amenity. 

One of the key mechanisms to do this is by managing recession planes. These help protect existing houses in the same zone from loss of sunlight and overshadowing.  They also reduce the bulk and massing of a building as seen from an adjacent property. 

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Where?  - Transport, schools, parks 

A variety of factors were considered when looking at proposed locations.  Key amongst them was the proximity to the city centre or a local centre, which provides access to shops and other amenities as well as access to public transport and community facilities such as schools, parks and libraries. We also considered natural hazards and the need to avoid high-risk locations to ensure that new development doesn’t increase community vulnerability. 

Medium Density Residential Area Mapping Analysis Report

A mapping analysis to identify potential locations and boundaries for Medium Density Residential Zones.

Porirua Suburban Character Study 2005

An assessment and identification of the characteristics and qualities of the different suburbs and settlements in Porirua.

Residential Zone – Urban Design Report

A review and analysis of existing development controls in the operative district plan, such as building height limits, and recommendations for amendments to those controls.

Draft Design Guide for Multi-unit housing

This will provide guidance to developers and the community for the development  of multi-unit housing to ensure high quality outcomes, and will be used when resource consents for multi-unit housing are processed.  It contains a number of objectives (outcomes) sought for mulit-unit housing developments, and guidance on how to achieve the desired outcomes.

Draft Design Guide for Apartments 

This will provide guidance to developers and the community for the development  of apartment buildings to ensure high quality outcomes, and will be used when resource consents for apartments are processed.  It contains a number of objectives (outcomes) sought for apartment developments, and guidance on how to achieve the desired outcomes.

National Guidelines for Crime Prevention through Environmental Design

Medium density housing feasibility study