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Tara-Ika, 3500 home development

Tara-Ika, a 420ha block of land to the east of Levin, enables the development of more than 3500 homes of different sizes, a commercial area, new parks and reserves and education opportunities.

Tara-Ika is all go as the final hurdle in the planning process has been negotiated. Previously zoned as greenbelt residential deferred, it needed to be rezoned to allow greater density of development. 

Following public submissions, a hearing and an Environment Court appeal the change, known as Plan Change 4, can now be integrated into the Horowhenua Council District Plan that will become operative on March 26.

A District Plan ensures land use and subdivision are sustainably managed. The District Plan, a requirement under the Resource Management Act 1991, sets out how land should be managed to avoid, remedy, or mitigate negative environmental effects.

Tara-Ika, a 420ha block of land to the east of Levin, enables the development of more than 3500 homes of different sizes, a commercial area, new parks and reserves and education opportunities.

Under Plan Change 4, Tara-Ika is made up of commercial, open space, residential and greenbelt zones, each of which has different objectives, policies and rules tailored to the land use and activities in each zone.

Before approving the Plan Change, the desired outcomes for development and the potential impacts of developing in this location were carefully considered. They were explored in the Tara-Ika Master Plan, a comprehensive blueprint for residential growth in Tara-Ika. Preparation of the master plan started in 2018 and was developed through working closely with the landowners in the area.

The community gave feedback including engagement on the draft versions of the master plan and plan change between August 10, 2020 to September 7, 2020, followed by a formal submission period from November 2020 to February 2021. The submission period was followed by a hearing in November and December 2021, which was heard by an independent panel of Ministry for the Environment accredited hearing commissioners.

The council adopted the decisions of the independent hearing panel on June 29, 2022 and publicly notified them on July 4, 2022, starting the period in which appeals could be made to the Environment Court. The appeal period finished on August 15, 2022.

Only three appeals were received on the Plan Change. None were against the rezoning of Tara-Ika, rather focusing on the detail of the plan revisions. These appeals have been resolved via Environment Court mediation.

Following the Environment Court mediation, the Plan Change 4 operative date of March 26 this year was set.

The District Plan requirements that apply as a result of Plan Change 4 will help to ensure that future development is:

- a connected and integrated future-proof development that represents good urban design and provides a high level of residential amenity;

- encourages a variety in housing choice, including higher density options;

- a development that utilises low-impact, sustainable servicing solutions and encourages walking and cycling;

- a development which provides facilities and open space to meet the needs of the community;

- a development that maintains and enhances cultural, heritage, and ecological values of the area.

The development is being built alongside planning for the Waka Kotahi NZTA Ōtaki to north of Levin (Ō2NL) expressway.

To ensure resilient, culturally sensitive and environmentally sustainable stormwater management, the council contractors have been installing critical infrastructure to prepare Tara-Ika for landowners who will develop the area. Tara-Ika was selected in 2020 to receive funding from Crown Infrastructure Partners as part of the “shovel-ready” fund to support recovery from impacts of the coronavirus.

These funds have allowed the upgrades to wastewater mains close to the area, and the construction of new sections to the Levin wastewater network. Subdivisions proposed by landowners will be assessed against the District Plan at the consenting stage, and all dwellings built in Tara-Ika will have onsite rainwater tanks plumbed into household grey water (e.g. toilets).

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