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Building heights and where housing density is allowed in Hamilton’s District Plan are again up for review in some areas across the city.

An update to Hamilton City Council’s Strategic Growth and District Plan Committee today (11 April) outlines how the city plans to respond to further changes in central government policy around housing and intensification and in response to submissions on Plan Change 12.

Committee Chair Councillor Sarah Thomson said signals from the new government it will make the controversial ‘three-by-three’ housing requirements across the city optional if Council can show it has enough land enabled for development was the driver behind the report.  

“Hamilton has always advocated for a pragmatic and sensible approach to how we intensify our city, so we welcome the opportunity to review our approach.

“We can’t afford to do things like upsizing our water pipes and putting in reservoirs and wastewater storage tanks across the whole city at once, so we need to do intensification in a targeted way. This also means we can put denser housing in places with good access to schools, parks, and public transport.”

Council publicly notified Plan Change 12 in August 2022 to respond to a central government direction, supported by both major political parties, for big cities like Hamilton to increase the number of multi-storey homes across the city. The government direction gave councils limited control over things like how houses will look, how much backyard they have, the impact on the city’s roads and pipes, and how they affect neighbouring properties.  

Community feedback was divided on the changes with many opposing the carte-blanche approach to intensification required by Government.  

In 2023, Council was granted an extension to the deadline to implement the changes while it updated its flood hazard mapping in the District Plan via Plan Change 14.  

Thomson said Council staff will review how many suburban centres (like Chartwell and Glenview) are intensified with a view to potentially reducing how many the city enables for intensification and look at ways to make development easier in medium and high-density zones.  

Newly appointed Deputy Chair Councillor Geoff Taylor said the review would prioritise intensification around the central city and walkable areas around it – which is how it always should have been from the beginning.  

“I’ve always said it was madness to look at intensifying our city across the board. Our position has always been that the central city is the right place to have multiple storey buildings to create vibrancy. I’m confident we have enough housing supply to make this right and I’m looking forward to seeing a more balanced plan change because of these changes.”  

Staff will prepare evidence to support Plan Change 12 hearings which are expected to reconvene in September 2024. A final decision on the plan change is due by 20 December 2024.

Read more about Plan Change 12:


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