Best Practice Design

Developments should incorporate the following in order to protect outstanding natural landscapes and features and maintain amenity values.

(1) Avoid buildings and structures in outstanding and highly sensitive areas

  • Avoid placing buildings or infrastructure in outstanding natural landscapes or in nearby locations which impact on those landscapes;
  • Avoid building on significant hillsides, ridgelines, spurs, headlands and summits, particularly those landforms which are exposed to important public viewpoints;
  • Avoid important views/ vistas;
  • Avoid culturally important areas; and
  • Avoid buildings, or structures that either singly or cumulatively dominate a natural landscape

Undesirable example: Long Beach, Oneroa Bay, Bay of Islands

Long, obtrusive homes built on the ridgeline and extending down the cliff face have permanently affected the character and visual amenity of Long Beach.

Long Beach, Oneroa (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

Desirable example: Whangaroa Harbour, Far North District

By keeping the houses away from visually sensitive areas, and tucking them into the slope amongst indigenous vegetation, much of the visual amenity of this landscape has been retained.

Whangaroa Harbour (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

(2) Locate and design buildings to reduce their landscape impacts

Buildings should be designed to positively reinforce their landscape setting and visually integrate with the surroundings.

  • Buildings, structures and infrastructure are sympathetic to and aligned with underlying landforms to minimise earthworks and retaining and avoid related adverse effects;
  • Cluster buildings rather than scattering them throughout the landscape
  • Break up the bulk of buildings;
  • Incorporate non-reflective materials and colours;
  • Use planting to help set the building within the landscape; and
  • Design any fencing, planting and driveways to follow the natural contours, lines and patterns.

Undesirable example: Langs Beach, Whangarei District

Buildings that have a large bulk, use highly reflective colours, and have little surrounding landscaping, can have a significant impact on landscape values

Langs Beach (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

Desirable example: Moturoa Island, Bay of Islands

By breaking up the bulk and location of buildings, and nestling them into the surrounding vegetation, landscape impacts can be reduced.

Moturoa Island (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

(3) Set, retain and restore generous setbacks

Provide generous setbacks to ensure that buildings and structures are located away from the coastal edge and the margins of other important landscapes.

  • Locate buildings well back from foreshore edges - for example: beaches, dune systems, estuarine margins, coastal escarpments and headlands;
  • Maintain existing natural buffers including landforms such as dunes and vegetation; and
  • Incorporate screening planting along riparian margins

Undesirable example: Early development at Matarangi, Thames-Coromandel District

The lack of coastal setbacks in the early development at Matarangi has reduced the landscape values along this stretch of coast, with houses dominating the beachfront.

Desirable example: Recent development at Matarangi, Thames-Coromandel District

More recent development along this coastline has been kept well back from the beach which has helped better protect landscape and amenity values.

Matarangi Setback (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

(4) Restore natural vegetation and systems to increase landscape and amenity values

  • Replant the site with indigenous vegetation;
  • Restore riparian areas;
  • Reinstate wetlands and natural waterways;
  • Use locally-sourced native plant species; and
  • Provide for ongoing weed and pest animal management as required.

Undesirable example: Opononi, Hokianga Harbour, Far North District

A lack of indigenous coastal vegetation detracts from the amenity of this coastal settlement.

Opononi Dunes (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

Desirable example: Whisper Cove, Snells Beach, Auckland

Incorporating waterways with native vegetation into this development has increased the amenity values as well as reduced contaminated runoff

Whisper Cove (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

(5) Permanently protect valuable landscape and amenity areas from future development

  • Design development to avoid areas with high landscape and amenity values
  • Covenant land titles to protect important areas in perpetuity

Undesirable example: Paku, Tairua, Thames-Coromandel District

This headland was not protected and this very visually prominent feature has now been developed, significantly reducing the landscape values of the beach and estuary.

Tairua Headland (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

Desirable example: Terakihi Peninsula, Mountain Landing, Bay of Islands

The land covenanted at the Terakihi Peninsula as part of this development ensure the protection of this important landscape.

Mountain Landing (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

Last updated at 4:39PM on January 8, 2018