Monday, 13 July 2015

Illegal kitchens

Sounds like Christchurch Council hasn't entirely eased up on secondary units.

Loyal readers will recall that Christchurch Council worsened the post-quake housing crisis by maintaining its strict line against secondary units in houses.

Here in Wellington, many houses sell as "home and income", with a separate flat with its own entrance and kitchen. In Christchurch, those were generally banned except where special permission was given for a granny flat to accommodate a family member.

After the earthquakes, CERA eventually changed the rules so that if you could demonstrate that your secondary unit would accommodate someone displaced by the earthquakes (and not a rebuild worker who moved to Christchurch from elsewhere, or a student), then you could have a secondary suite but only for a limited time.

Since then, Christchurch Council eased up a bit. Existing family flats could be converted to general occupancy - basically, removing the requirement that the family flat be occupied by a family member.

I had thought that Council was to be easing up more generally. Or, at least that was the state of play in November 2013, when last I'd checked. But then this showed up in my inbox this weekend:
[Redacted for the time being]*
I edited the above only for formatting.

Maybe there's just something wrong in the project company's consent applications. Maybe they're being required to run the cooker from a gas bottle outside the house rather than from a small in-house cylinder - which are no longer allowed.

But it sounds like Council still isn't making things easy for folks who want to provide the kind of affordable housing that Michael needs. Paul McMahon provides a pointer:
The Council documents there provide discussion of lower development contributions for small flats. If they're still not really allowing many small secondary units, though, it's a bit academic.

If there's anybody in Christchurch able to help Michael out, please let him know in comments below.

* Update: the email above is now redacted. Thanks to some help from a reader, there may be a workaround for my correspondent's problem. But he prefers that it be redacted while that's sorted. Would that a more general solution to the issue could be found.

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