The Draft District Plan is up online and is calling for submissions. Consultation closes on 14 December.

An overall Map of Wellington and its various Zones

Many people will not have viewed it online, and may be unaware of the extent of the changes. First among these changes is that we will no longer have Inner Residential and Outer Residential, but instead we will have a General Residential Zone (everything there is noted as GRZ) and then closer in, a Medium Density Residential Zone (noted as MRZ). And then of course we have an expanded Central City Zone (denoted with CCZ). There is not a button that you can push to select all of the GRZ on its own, or all of the MRZ. Instead, all three are shown on the Council maps – and are helpfully colour-coded, although quite a subtle colour shift.

Yellow is GRZ – General Residential Zone

Peachy orange is MRZ – Medium Density Residential Zone

Late night 3 red wines colour is the CCZ – Central City Zone. Ye Gods, who chose these awful shitty colours?

There is also grey and green, which both sort of mean don’t touch, but in different ways (park and hospital etc), and a purple and a pink which are hopefully self-explanatory (suburban centres etc). But today I just want to highlight the MDRZ. The following maps are all screen grabs, set to the same scale and same size, so you can get a feel for how the relative size of the MRZ measures up for you and your home zone.

Starting from the North, here is Tawa.

As you can see here, there is quite a lot of peachy-orange colour, meaning that much of this corridor will be zoned MRZ as it is close to the Kapiti Line railway, which pretty much covers the description of a Rapid Transit system, and it is all well within walking distance for most of the native Tawa population.

Churton Park, Westchester, Grenada Drive

This one surprised me a bit, as I’m not really a frequenter of the Churton Park localle. Quite a bit of peachy MRZ around Westchester Drive, wherever that is. I don’t think I’ve ever been there.But I would be quite surprised to see 6 storey development rising up there, as would, no doubt, the locals,

The People’s republic of Johnsonville, with a striped suburban centre, surrounded by MRZ

Johnsonville is the suburb with the most potential intensification and also the most vociferous opponents of intensification. Home to the national highway running through the centre, and a fantastically wiggly train line (optimistically called Rapid Transit – the Johnsonville Line), I’m anticipating a battle brewing here.

Khandallah, the home of the Well Spotted Northern Nimby, often seen in the band of peachy orange above

Home to local councillor Diane Calvert if I’m not mistaken, Khandallah is most indignant that anyone should even broach the subject of buildings taller than 2 storeys here. By the look of this, they are in for a nasty surprise.

Karori, where nothing is peachy – as Coldplay say, its All Yellow !

In what used to be Wellington’s biggest suburb (now it is second biggest, after Te Aro), they sit in a field of yellow, with not a sign of peaches. Nothing that a high speed RT route couldn’t fix, and I’m certainly hoping that is going to happen one day…

Thornton and Kelburn showing a fair bit of peachy MRZ, plus the angry wine stain colour of the city

I’m honestly not sure why some areas are in green and some others are in grey, – isn’t Grant Road really showing that it is at the edge of a massive green area? Yet it is shown as Grey. Weird. Still: Tinakore Road is massively overdue for a big multi-unit push. Hmmmm.

The areas surrounding the Central Zone is almost all peachy orange MRZ

Te Aro, the Central CBD and now Adelaide Road as well have all gone to the CCZ which means that not only are they stained with the colour of day old spilt burgundy, but also that they get height limits beyond ridiculous. That is the subject of another, upcoming post. In the mean time, just look at all that peachy orange, spilling its way up the Aro Valley to Mitchelltown, rising up to Brooklyn, and like a rash, over nearly all of Newtown, who are valiantly trying to battle it.

Newtown is a mixture of pink and peachy orange, as is most of Brooklyn and some of Haitaitai

Here is the more whole depiction of Newtown – a thin sliver of pink down the Main Street, and some yellow suburban housing up round Liardet St, but apart from that, it is mostly zoned as MRZ. Does this mean farewell to small houses, or not? Seeing as Newtown’s houses are all almost entirely 1 storey high, a potential move upwards to 2 storeys would be big – but 6 storeys would be massive.

Rongotai Kilbirnie and Strathmore Miramar, blushing with patches of yellow and peachy orange

The Weta effect roles on. Park Road in Miramar has the potential to be heavily built up, provided they can get around that sinking, boggy feeling in the centre. Only a couple of hundred years ago this was a swimming pool and a racecourse, wasn’t it?

Finally – the South Coast townships of Island Bay and Lyall Bay, both with substantial MRZ peachy orange

An explosion of building in Lyall Bay, and a massive increase in building heights in Island Bay. So, what exactly is the nature of MRZ then? Well, I’ve dived into the Draft District Plan and extracted the bits that are, to me anyway, the main points:

Medium Density Residential Zone

Effects Standards for:
Any residential building or structure on a site containing one or two residential units.
Any other building or structure not associated with multi-unit housing or a retirement village.
Any buildings or structures within the Character Precincts and Mt Victoria North Townscape Precinct as specified in the relevant rule.

MRZ-S3. Building coverage

Maximum building coverage is 50%. (they have changed from the commonly used Site Coverage, to the opposite phrase, Building Coverage. I wonder why?)

MRZ-S4. Maximum height

Buildings and structures must not exceed a maximum height of 11m above ground level. (plus, a further 1m in regards to the roof, making it effectively 12m)

MRZ-S5. Height in relation to boundary

No part of any building, accessory building or structure may project beyond a building line of 56° or 63° measured from a height of 2.5m above ground level from all side and rear boundaries of the site dependant on the orientation of the site boundary as shown in the following diagram, unless provided for in 2 or 3 below. (Presumably this will have to change to be in line with the new Govt medium density standards?)

MRZ-S6 Outdoor living space

1 Every residential unit must be provided with an outdoor living space that is: 
a A minimum area of 20m2 with a minimum dimension of 3m;
b For the exclusive use of the residential unit;
c Free of any access, parking or manoeuvring areas; and
d Free of buildings and structures, except for uncovered decks.
This standard does not apply to:
i Multi-unit housing. (but I wonder why not?)
ii Retirement villages. (but I wonder why not?)

MRZ-S9. Height in relation to boundary

  1. For any site within Height Control Area 1 or 2 adjoining another site within the Medium Density Residential Zone: no part of any building, accessory building or structure may project beyond a line of 60° measured from a height of 8m above ground level from all side and rear boundaries.
  2. For any site within Height Control Area 3 adjoining another site within the Medium Density Residential Zone: no part of any building, accessory building or structure may project beyond a line of 60° measured from a height of 12m above ground level from all side and rear boundaries.

MRZ-S10. Maximum building length

No part of any building or structure must exceed 20m in continuous length.

MRZ-S13. Minimum residential unit size

1 Residential units, including any dual key unit, must meet the following minimum sizes:

Residential Unit TypeMinimum Net Floor Area
a Studio unit35m2
b 1 bedroom unit45m2
c 2+ bedroom unit55m2

MRZ-S14 Outdoor Living Space

1 Each residential unit, including any dual key unit, must be provided with an outdoor living space that is:

a For the exclusive use of residents;

b Directly accessible from a habitable room;

c A single contiguous space; and

d Of the minimum area and dimension specified in the table below.


This does not apply for any units where communal living space is provided as an alternative.

2 Where communal living space is provided it must be:

a Accessible from the residential units it serves;

b A single contiguous space; andc Of the minimum area and dimension specified in the table below.

Living Space TypeMinimum AreaMinimum Dimension
a Private
i Studio unit and 1-bedroom unit5m22m
ii 2+ bedroom unit8m22m
b Communal
i For every 5 units10m28m

MRZ-S15. Minimum daylight access

1 Each residential unit must be designed to achieve a minimum of 2 hours daylight into all habitable rooms between 9am and 3pm on the winter solstice.