Developing Ahuriri's special assets and characteristics so that it may be enjoyed by many generations to come.
Steeped in history, Ahuriri boasts a unique mix of diverse activities, from the vibrant bars and restaurants along West Quay and the village shopping centre, to Port Ahuriri School, distribution centres, bulk fuel facilities, a railway yard, the Tech Hub, commercial and government offices, cafes, homes and a retirement village. The State Highway/Bridge Street and adjacent rail corridor also form the main artery for Napier Port, moving freight to and from this important gateway and connecting our region with the world.
Although this mix of activities contributes to the character and specialness of Ahuriri, it also creates conflicts. For example, some new residents have found themselves sensitive to the noise from industrial activities and from the impacts of regular movements of heavy vehicles servicing the area. Ongoing redevelopment and increases in traffic may also affect safety for pedestrians and cyclists, and it may impact efficient access to the port for trucks and trains. More offices and retail in the area may also result in less activity in our city centre if businesses decide to relocate.
There are many opportunities in Ahuriri, which we’ve outlined within what we’ve called an Ahuriri Study Area. The existing Tech Hub could be expanded to support new technology and innovation businesses, leveraging the shift to online and contactless commerce through the COVID-19 pandemic. There are under-utilised heritage buildings that could be restored to support modern activities, as has already happened with The Urban Winery in the former National Tobacco Company building.
We’ll consider all issues and opportunities as part of the District Plan Review, ensuring we manage growth in Ahuriri so it can continue to be a “great urban area” within our city. We’ve come up with a few zoning options but are keen to hear your thoughts.
For more information on the heritage character aspects of Ahuriri visit - Heritage Areas
The Ahuriri Study Area includes Ahuriri village and surrounds, West Quay, the land between Bridge Street at the north and Battery Road at the south, the bulk oil facilities and the KiwiRail yard.
It incorporates two key draft District Plan zones: local centre (in light pink and applying to Ahuriri village), and mixed use zone (fuchsia, the remainder of the Ahuriri Study Area).
A number of Council strategies apply to the land at Ahuriri:
Some of the issues facing further growth and regeneration in Ahuriri include:
If there’s significant further growth in the area, traffic may increase, and that may impact efficiency and accessibility at key intersections throughout Ahuriri. These issues could be resolved by using the District Plan Review to limit increases in the sorts of activities that contribute to increased vehicle movements, and by upgrading intersections.
If we don’t manage the location and effects of different types of activities, potential conflicts could include:
To achieve the strategic direction for Ahuriri, there needs to be a balance between efficient port access and residential/office use.
Bulk oil facilities are required to manage their risk within their own site as much as is feasible. For example, they must have sufficient capacity to contain a spill from a tank without any seepage off the site. However, some things can’t be fully managed within a site, such as noise from trucks, and the very low probability but high potential impact risk of an explosion. With more houses in very close proximity to the bulk oil facilities, more people will be impacted by the operational effects of these facilities.
However, due to the significant investment bulk oil facilities have made to be in their current location, their fixed locational needs and the ongoing importance of these facilities for our region (as well as wider New Zealand), they’re unlikely to relocate within the period of the next District Plan.
The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have a significant impact on the vibrancy and vitality of our city centre, at least in the short to medium term. With constraints on international tourism, and changing working habits meaning more people will continue to work from home, some businesses in the CBD may either look to close or downsize. New offices and/or retail in Ahuriri (outside of the village centre) currently require a resource consent. The requirements of the consent include an assessment of available tenancies and any potential effects on the vitality and vibrancy of the city centre as a result of locating in Ahuriri. Loosening of these restrictions through the District Plan Review may impact on the overall viability of the CBD.
This option would retain most of the provisions of the existing Mixed Use Zone and West Quay Character Zone in the current Napier District Plan, with minor changes:
This option continues to offer flexibility in response to market preferences while reducing the potential for new heavy industrial activities to establish and detract from residents’ quality of living. However, there is still potential for cumulative effects on the transport network, impacts on our city centre, and conflicts between existing industrial activities and new residents.
This option would retain a revised Mixed Use Zone as per Option #1 for most of the area, with the following rezonings proposed:
This option continues to enable a mix of activities in Ahuriri but seeks to manage conflicts by adding separate industrial and residential zones. This approach also seeks to manage traffic issues by limiting the areas where different types of activities can take place. There is still potential for cumulative effects on traffic generation and a negative impact on the city centre, however this is managed to a greater extent than Option #1.
The Business Hub allowance may generate issues with more people looking to cross Bridge Street to West Quay. However, appropriate crossing solutions could be designed to manage the impact.
At the edge of the Industry Zone there might still be conflicts between industrial activities and adjacent developments, including with new residential activity – although these could be managed through new rules such as landscaping and noise limits at the zone boundary.
The Ahuriri Village Centre is currently zoned Neighbourhood Commercial under the current District Plan. This will be called Local Centre under the Draft District Plan.
The Ahuriri Village Centre has expanded north since the previous District Plan was prepared. To recognise the current extent of the village centre, Council proposes rezoning some properties on upper Bridge Street from Mixed Use to Local Centre. The key differences for these properties would be a) that resource consent would no longer be required for retail or office activities, and b) that industrial activities would not be permitted.
A number of properties in the area have already been redeveloped as residential. To recognise this, the following rezonings are proposed:
The properties affected by the proposed rezoning are shown in the map below.
We’re working with property owners and occupiers in Ahuriri to identify the issues, opportunities and potential options for zoning of this area.
Our Draft District Plan, due out end of may 2021, will contain a chapter on Ahuriri. We’ll be taking your feedback from this consultation into account when formulating it.
We welcome your comments on the potential options, as well as suggestions and alternatives for us to consider over the coming months.
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