(KCDC media release)

The Kāpiti Coast District Council’s recent purchase of a 1.077-hectare section of land at 254 Rangiuru Road in Ōtaki is an opportunity to influence future development of the wider surrounding area in a way that best meets the evolving housing needs of the community.

The section is one of a number of neighbouring undeveloped sites presenting opportunities for future development and was purchased through Council’s Strategic Property Purchase Fund, a rolling annual fund for the purchase of land and property that has a strategic value to the community.

“Like many areas in New Zealand, the Kāpiti Coast is experiencing increasing demand for housing and pressure on our limited public housing services,” says Kāpiti Coast District Councillor and Housing portfolio holder Rob McCann.

“The average house price in Kāpiti is now $711,465, up from $541,000 in 2017 and there is growing need for different housing models across the district including social housing, affordable rentals for those ineligible to apply for social housing, Māori-led housing solutions and student accommodation.

“We see an opportunity to work with neighbouring landowners on how this land could be developed in the future, potentially utilising a mixture of different housing types that would best serve our district.”

In April 2020, councillors agreed to establish a dedicated housing programme to proactively support the supply and quality of housing across the district, including encouraging the development of affordable housing solutions.

“One of our core long-term goals as a Council is a resilient community that has support for basic needs and feels safe and connected. Housing plays a key role in trying to achieve this. More and more I’m hearing of locals that have the leave the district because they can’t afford to live here anymore,” says Mr McCann.

“New Government requirements for how we build are likely to increase intensification and help provide more and different kinds of homes for our diverse population in the medium and longer term, but there is also a more pressing need in the shorter term.

“Through this purchase we are well placed to explore this need in detail and how we might be able to work together with other developers and partners to deliver solutions.”

“The housing pressures in Ōtaki are well-known with buyers chasing value for money further and further up the coast and in recent years it’s traditionally affordable areas like ours that have seen the greatest jumps in prices as a result,” says Ōtaki Ward Councillor James Cootes.

“The current market-led approach to housing simply isn’t working for our people and this purchase is an opportunity for Council, working with iwi, to influence how we utilise this land in new and different ways that will serve our community.”

No decisions or commitments have been made on how this land could be developed or Council’s role in development. The land is currently zoned as a mixture of Focused Infill Residential and Rural Dunes. Before any significant housing development could take place, a change to the Kāpiti Coast District Plan would be required.

More on housing in Kāpiti at www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/your-council/projects/housing/

We tend not to investigate council spending outside of Waikanae and Paraparaumu unless it is a big ticket item, and buying residential land should be a safe investment.  We’re told there were 2 Councilors opposed, but we’ve not heard why and it was decided in a secret session. —Eds