Variation 1 to the Proposed District Plan (incorporating Medium Density Residential Standards) and what this means for building consents.

On 20 August 2022 Selwyn District Council notified Variation 1 to the Proposed District Plan to incorporate mandatory Medium Density Residential Standards.  These standards have immediate legal effect for sites within a relevant residential zone in Rolleston, Lincoln or Prebbleton. This means affected landowners must comply with them now.

Why is the Council introducing Medium Density Residential Standards?

These standards are required by the Government’s new housing intensification legislation, passed last year, which requires some councils to make changes to their district plans to allow for more housing and at greater heights in relevant residential areas.

What are the key changes?

There are some key changes and additions to the bulk and location requirements and the way that they are measured.  This means that when you lodge a building consent, you will need to show these requirements on your building plans differently for us to able to process your consent.

The table below sets out the key changes that will most likely affect the assessment of building consents for a single dwelling on a lot (the most common type of building consent we get here in Selwyn).

Rule requirementDescriptionLimitHow is this measured?
MRZ-REQ3Building coverageMaximum building coverage of all buildings must not exceed 50% of net site area

Measured over eaves on the roof plan.

Please show the outline of the roof on the site plan.

Includes the eave, guttering and any other overhangs, eg 1st or 2nd floor balcony.

MRZ-REQ6SetbacksMinimum 1.5m from front boundary, 1m from internal boundaries

Measured on the roof plans.

Note setbacks are measured from the closest part of the building to the boundary, which includes an eave/gutter, second floor balcony, verandah, porch etc.

Because setbacks are checked on site at the pre-our inspection, please also show the setback from the edge of the foundation to the boundary.

This requirement applies to both dwellings and accessory buildings/garages.

This is a change from the Operative District Plan where setbacks are measured from the exterior wall and eaves are allowed to intrude into the setback by up to 600mm.

MRZ-REQ7Windows to streetAny residential unit or other principal building facing the street must have a minimum of 20% of the street-facing façade in glazing.  This can be in the form of windows or doors.

Measured on the street facing elevation plan.

If the building has a gable end facing the street, please indicate on the elevation plan where the enclosed roof space starts, ie where the ceiling is.

Note for sites with more than one road frontage, all street facing facades will need to comply.

Only actual glass contributes to the 20%, window and door frames and non-glass doors are not included.

MRZ-REQ8Outdoor living space

Any residential unit at ground floor level must have outdoor living space that is:

  • at least 20m²
  • has a dimension of no less than 3m
  • is accessible from the residential unit
  • is free of buildings, parking spaces, servicing spaces and manoeuvring spaces.

Measured on the site plan

Please show outdoor living space and dimension.

MRZ-REQ9Outlook space

An outlook space must be provided for each habitable room of a residential unit.

The minimum dimensions for a required outlook space are:

  • Principal living room – minimum 4m x 4m
  • All other habitable rooms – minimum 1m x 1m

Outlook spaces may be over driveways and footpaths within the site or over a public street or other public space.

Outlook spaces required from different rooms within the same building may overlap.

Outlook spaces must be clear and unobstructed by buildings and structures, including fences; and not extend over any outlook space or outdoor living space required by another residential unit.

Measured on the site plan

The width of the outlook space is measured from the centre point of the largest window on the building face to which it applies.

MRZ-REQ10Landscape area

A residential unit at ground floor level must have a landscaped area of:

  • Minimum of 20% of a developed site with grass or plants and can include a canopy of trees   regardless of the ground treatment below them

May be located on any part of the development site and does not need to be associated with each residential unit

Measured on the site plan

Measured over the entire site (doesn’t have to be contiguous)

Does not include impermeable/hardstand areas, eg patios, carparking, driveway etc.

Note that all other rules of the Operative District Plan such as those relating to fencing, vehicle crossings and accessways still apply.

Where can I find the Medium Density Residential Standards?

To view the standards, navigate to the Proposed District Plan and follow the instructions at this link [PDF, 58 KB].

Provisions that have immediate legal effect are shown with a red gavel next to them (below screenshot example).

Where do these rules apply?

Note these rules apply in areas marked on the Proposed District Plan Variation 1 maps as MRZ ILE (Medium Density Residential Zone, Immediate Legal Effect).

The new rules only apply to Rolleston, Lincoln or Prebbleton.  For other townships, refer to the Operative Selwyn District Plan.

The new rules do not yet apply in the Housing Accords and Special Housing Area (HASHA) areas (eg Acland Park), COVID-19 Recovery areas (eg Westwood and West Village).  Refer to the consent notices on the Record of Title that cover the development of these areas (generally in accordance with Living Z under the Operative District Plan).

What if there is consent notice on the Record of Title requiring compliance with certain rules?

If the Record of Title contains a consent notice requiring compliance with a certain set of bulk and location requirements (most commonly either medium density or low density Living Z, Operative District Plan rules) you will need to comply with these rules as well as the new Variation 1 rules, and your building plans should show compliance with both sets of rules.

If you are unable to comply with consent notice, you can lodge an application under Section 221(3) of the Resource Management Act to remove this consent notice.

What else should I be aware of?

If the property has a developer covenant on the Record of Title, your development would need to comply with the covenant.  This may prevent you from building to the extent of the Medium Density Residential Standards.  Checking compliance with these covenants is not a Council function – you would need to contact the developer if you have questions about these.

Can I make a submission on these new standards?

It is a mandatory requirement for the Council to include these standards in its Proposed District Plan and we can’t change them. You can however make a submission on where these standards apply. Submissions close on Friday 16th September.  You can find out more at Your Say Selwyn

Where can I find out more?

Find out more about the submission process at Your Say Selwyn

To find out more about the standards themselves and how to apply them in Selwyn, contact the duty planner, or 03 347 2800.