Landscapes, Landform and Natural Character

This chapter seeks to ensure that natural features, landscape and nature conservation values are preserved and protected by managing land use and development activities. For example, restricting subdivision to larger lots within outstanding natural areas to avoid the likelihood of later land uses impacting Outstanding Natural Landscape characteristics and values.
 

The rule framework focused on land use activities
   - Buildings and structures
   - Earthworks
   - Exotic tree planting

The underlying zoning sets the performance standards for buildings (maximum height, setbacks, reflectivity, and location within the landscape), earthworks and exotic tree planting (species).

KEY ISSUES

► The natural character of the upper Waitaki landscape has changed in recent years as a result of development pressures and intensive farming. The Council is working closely with the MacKenzie Alignment Group to address any gaps in the current District Plan and ensure alignment with the relevant legislation and plans.
► Parts of the mid-upper Waitaki Valley as being particularly prone to further loss of landscape and biodiversity values due to  agricultural conversion and intensification (including irrigation, cultivation, top dressing and oversowing). 
► Regional policy identifies large area and different parts of the Waitaki landscape that should be identified and included as outstanding natural landscape.
► Irrigation activities in the mid-upper Waitaki Valley have changed the look of the landscape, reducing the natural character of the landscape.
► Additional ‘outstanding natural landscapes’ have been identified for possible inclusion in the new District Plan.

DRAFT RESPONSES TO KEY ISSUES

► Revise the mapping of outstanding natural features and landscapes (ONFs and ONLs).
► Development of a rule framework that protects the ONFs and ONLs of the district from inappropriate subdivision, use and development. For example increasing the minimum lot sizes, reducing the maximum height of buildings and structures, increasing the setbacks from public roads and areas, introducing a maximum building coverage/ gross floor area for buildings.
► Introduce a defined farm base area which enables more intensive development within a defined area, subject to performance standards.
► Proposed changes to rules relating to forestry within amenity landscapes.
► Encouraging appropriate land management practices, which foster protection and enhancement of ONF’s and ONL’s, through the work of individuals and community groups.
► Providing for existing activities and limited new activities within ONF’s and ONL’s in appropriate circumstances.
► Geo-preservation sites are proposed to be identified as a new overlay within the new District Plan. This would enable council to develop a rule framework which recognises specific requirements for these sites.
► Restricting some activities in the most sensitive landscapes such as built development, forestry and the irrigation of land.

A geo preservation site is a site or landscape of geological significance.