​1.4.7 Lake Waiwhakareke Landscape Character Area Design Guide

1.4.7.1 Purpose

The Rotokauri Structure Plan, the Special Natural Zone and the Rotokauri – Lake Waiwhakareke Landscape Character Area identify the need to protect and enhance the special character of the Lake Waiwhakareke area. The District Plan’s rules regarding development and subdivision provide controls that will enable a sensitive response to this character.

Where these rules provide for an element of discretion through the ability of Council to impose conditions on, this guide provides further description and amplification of the area’s particular character. This will assist with consistent interpretation and provide more certainty to the development industry.

The Guide recognises Council’s commitment to the adaption of best practice urban design techniques as expressed in its urban design guide, Vista.

1.4.7.2 How to Use This Guide

Applications for development within the Rotokauri - Lake Waiwhakareke Landscape Character Area as shown on the planning maps provide for an assessment against the guidance outlined within this Appendix.

Within each element, the design guidelines are organised as follows.

Explanation
Rationale for that particular design element and how it contributes to the development of a sustainable neighbourhood.

Design consideration
Consideration to guide development outlining how a proposal should respond to particular elements of character.

Design guideline
Representative of good design solutions which help achieve the design consideration. They do not however preclude other ways of achieving good design.

1.4.7.3 Background

The Lake Waiwhakareke Landscape Character Area represents a distinctive landscape unit which is defined by Rotokauri Road to the east and north, Brymer Road to the west and Baverstock Road to the south. The characteristics of the Lake Waiwhakareke Landscape Character Area are described in the operative Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park Management Plan 2011 and summarised in this guide. This character is derived from the unique combination of natural, cultural and recreational values present in and around the lake and the Natural Heritage Park. Together the lake and Natural Heritage Park create a focal point for adjoining development and provide very significant and cultural opportunities that need to be recognised and reflected through future development.

The lake and the extensive natural areas provided within the Natural Heritage Park, combined with the sharply undulating topography that frame them, clearly sets this part of the Rotokauri Structure Plan area apart from the area to the north of Rotokauri Road.

The following character elements have influenced how the Rotokauri Structure Plan and Special Natural Zone seeks to manage development in this area.

  • The sharply undulating topography of the area and the way in which it provides a point of difference in the landscape
  • The native ecology of and the recreational resource presented by the Natural Heritage Park (including its value as an educational resource)
  • The lake itself and its role in providing a strong focal point for the area
  • The natural drainage pattern of the area
  • The historic and cultural values associated with the area.

1.4.7.4 Understanding the Context

a) Explanation

The Lake Waiwhakareke Landscape Character Area is located at the southern end of the Rotokauri Structure Plan, in close proximity to existing urban development along Baverstock Road and to a lesser extent along Rotokauri Road. It will be dominated by the 50ha Natural Heritage Park that is ultimately intended to become a self-sustaining habitat sanctuary surrounding Lake Waiwhakareke and representative of the original ecosystem diversity of the Hamilton Basin.

The Natural Heritage Park will be managed by the operative Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park Management Plan 2011. This provides a framework for the future management of the Park and identifies some key concepts to consider during development of the Lake Waiwhakareke Landscape Character Area. The importance of the location of the entrances to the Park, treatment of the park edges, the planting scheme, the community parks and proposed street furniture design for the residential area are explained within this guide.

The context for development in the surrounding area is established by the Rotokauri Structure Plan. The key locational relationships to note are the presence of Hamilton Zoo adjacent to the southwestern corner of the Heritage Park, the neighbourhood centre proposed to the northeast, the proximity of the Wintec Rotokauri Campus and Nga Taiatea Wharekura School, the green corridor running from Lake Waiwhakareke and the importance of Rotokauri Road as a public transport corridor.

In order to design a development that respects the unique characteristics of a particular location, it is necessary to conduct the following:

  • Context analysis
  • Site analysis

b) Context analysis – Design consideration

Proposals should demonstrate an understanding of the context of the site, its relationship to the natural and surrounding built environment and the impact that has on the design of the site.

Design guideline

Prepare plans, diagrams and maps that illustrate the location of the site and its characteristics in relation to:

  • Proximity to nearby services – shops, transport, schools, other services or recreation facilities
  • Immediate surrounds – natural landscape, significant vegetation or waterways, buildings and land uses
  • Adjoining infrastructure – roads, open spaces, public transport services

c) Site analysis – Design consideration

Proposals should demonstrate an understanding of the particular features of the site itself, both its natural features and character of the adjacent built up area.

Design guideline

Prepare plans, diagrams and maps that illustrate the characteristics of the site particularly in relation to:

  • Natural features – slope, topography, vegetation, waterways, geotechnical considerations
  • Orientation – prevailing winds, sun and shading (winter and summer), views, overlooking (to and from neighbours)
  • Movement – desire lines, missing links to surrounding neighbourhoods (e.g. from Neighbourhood Centre and Wintec Rotokauri Campus through to Heritage Park and to Hamilton Zoo)
  • Other features that may influence site layout – e.g. nearby open spaces, arterial roads

1.4.7.5 Designing for Topography

a) Explanation

The Lake Waiwhakareke area derives a major element of its character from topography. This is sharply undulating in its form with prominent east-west orientated ridgelines that give detail to the area, and provide a point of difference in the landscape.

The ridges and slopes act as local landmarks and enable long distance views to be gained both north to the Hakarimata Ranges and south to Lake Waiwhakareke. Utilising these opportunities will help create a sense of place and a stronger connection to the surrounding landscape.

Retaining the underlying landform is an important part of ensuring that the area’s character is preserved once development occurs (refer Figure 1.4.7a). Particular consideration should therefore be given to:

  • Designing for slope
  • Alternating slope and landform
  • Orientation and outlook

b) Designing for slope – Design consideration

Proposals should avoid unnecessary loss of underlying landform, to reflect the character of the site and surroundings and retain the significant features of the site.

Design guideline

Minimise need for major engineering intervention

Use existing topography and land features to define the structure of the subdivision – street layouts, open space, view shafts and building platforms (Refer Figures 1.4.7a, 1.4.7b and 1.4.7c)

Figure 1.4.7a: Design with existing features – landform, vegetation, waterways



Figure 1.4.7b: Design that has worked with existing features – landform, vegetation, waterways

Figure 1.4.7c: Design that has not worked with existing features – landform, vegetation, waterways

c) Altering slope and landform – Design consideration

Where it is necessary to re-contour land to allow for access and building platforms, the intervention should not be large scale or visually obvious once planting has matured.

Design guideline

Site contouring and retention should be on a site-by-site basis to allow building platforms to be formed. House designs should be customised to reflect the slope and orientation of the site, discouraging single platform for each site on sloping terrain.

Use of retaining walls should be minimised by terracing and planting to mimic the natural features, particularly when viewed from the transport corridor.

d) Orientation and outlook – Design consideration

Proposals should take advantage of the sloping terrain to maximise the views available from both individual properties and the public realm (transport corridors and open spaces).

Design guideline

Consider long and short views when aligning transport corridors, open spaces and walkways to provide glimpses of the surrounding landscape and natural features.

1.4.7.6 Reinforcing Local Character

a) Explanation

The Natural Heritage Park will be a defining element of this area’s character and surrounding development will establish both a physical and a natural relationship with it.

Residents will have the advantage of a large public space on their doorstep, notwithstanding that access to the Park will be limited and controlled. The Natural Heritage Park will incorporate small community parks at its entrances and these will serve as local purpose reserves.

The way in which landscaping treatments are handled within the developed areas can reinforce the natural settings of the Natural Heritage Park and provide a stronger sense of place and character for the neighbourhoods created around it.

The overall goal for the Natural Heritage Park is to create a self sustaining habitat sanctuary that represents the original ecosystem for this part of Hamilton. The Heritage Park Management Plan identifies the vegetative species appropriate for the differing terrain encountered within the area, such as ridge tops and hill slopes.

Important considerations are therefore:

  • Physical and visual relationship to the Natural Heritage Park
  • Links to and between existing habitats and features
  • Species and planting combinations

b) Physical and visual relationship to Heritage Park – Design consideration

Surrounding development should provide an edge to the Natural Heritage Park, both to increase public surveillance and to offer an opportunity for people to circumnavigate the park and enjoy views into and beyond it.

Design guideline

Buildings along the northern boundary of the Natural Heritage Park should be of sufficient height and orientated towards the park in order to provide surveillance of the road, park or walkway.

Public access should preferably be along a perimeter street, open to cars as well as pedestrians, to provide surveillance from passing traffic and greater safety after dark.

If the site is only appropriate for a pedestrian walkway at the perimeter of the Natural Heritage Park, such as the fence of the hill slope, it should be connected to the street system and of sufficient width to provide long views allowing for curves and changes in topography. This will ensure some surveillance of pedestrians using the walkway.

Fencing adjacent to the walkway should be transparent enough to allow observation from neighbouring houses.

If the topography demands that some lots are side or rear-facing, fencing should be low and transparent and at least one main room should overlook the park edge.

c) Link to existing habitats – Design consideration

Public and private spaces within the Lake Waiwhakareke Landscape Character Area should reflect ecosystems within the Natural Heritage Park and provide an extension of the parks habitat. This will create a network of indigenous flora and fauna, and reduce the risk of pest plant invasions of the park.

Design guideline

Identify opportunities to extend habitats which are favourable to flora and fauna beyond the extent of the Natural Heritage Park. While the network does not need to be continuous, it does need to take into account the preferred habitat and travel patterns of the particular species it is intended to encourage.

d) Species and planting combinations – Design consideration

The Natural Heritage Park Management Plan identifies a programme of weeds and predator eradication, and replanting of more appropriate species to encourage indigenous flora and fauna. Identifying and replicating those successful plant combinations both extends heritage plant character beyond its boundaries and creates a low maintenance landscape regime that adds to a sense of place in the surrounding development.

Design guideline

Based on the Heritage Park Management Plan, identify a plant palette and planting scheme which reflects the underlying indigenous combinations and avoids re-infestation of the Heritage Park by weeds. Refer Figure 1.4.7d.

Provide future residents with suggestions for selecting and maintaining planting schemes which extend the philosophy of the Heritage Park.

Any species planted should be eco-sourced.

Refer to Plant Me Instead: Waikato Region and Gully Restoration Guide: A guide to assist in the ecological restoration of Hamilton’s gully systems.

Figure 1.4.7d: Topography and vegetation types at Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park


Note
Diagram shows proposed vegetation scheme inside the Natural Heritage Park. This concept should be extended into the surrounding Waiwhakareke Landscape Character Area through the introduction of a range of methods and eco-sourced plants.

1.4.7.7 Connectivity

a) Explanation

Topographical constraints present a number of challenges in terms of achieving high levels of connectivity for movements within and beyond the Lake Waiwhakareke Landscape Character Area. This is true for pedestrian and cyclists as well as motorised vehicles.

The alignment of roads in the area of land immediately north of the Natural Heritage Park is likely to be predominantly east-west in nature. However, in designing a network that encourages walking and cycling it is important to acknowledge that the elements of convenience, safety and amenity required by these users might differ from the needs of those driving cars.

With large parts of the Heritage Park likely to be enclosed by development, it is important that routes into and around the park are legible and provide a choice of routes reflecting desire lines.

Effective connectivity will therefore benefit from a consideration of the following.

  • Walking
  • Legibility
  • Types of streets
  • Additional links
  • Street Furniture

b) Walking and cycling – Design consideration

Proposals should deliver a connected street network that provides a variety of direct routes for pedestrians and cyclists to nearby services such as the neighbourhood centre, Zoo and the closest entrance to the Natural Heritage Park.

Design guideline

The overall street network should be inter-connected, with block sizes that provide a choice of routes for pedestrians as directly as possible. Where possible, a street used by pedestrians and vehicles is preferable to provide the security of passing vehicles and avoid less used pedestrian-only links.

Given that vehicular traffic flows are expected to be low and slow moving, cyclists should be encouraged to use the street network. Connections to areas outside the Lake Waiwhakareke Landscape Character Area such as the neighbourhood centre may necessitate the provision of dedicated cycle lanes.

Block sizes will vary with topography and location, but ideally should not be longer than 120m between intersections.

c) Legibility – Design consideration

The street hierarchy should be legible for visitors and residents, and clearly signal the route to the park edge or entrances as distinct from more local access to residential blocks.

Design guideline

Identify the main routes to the edges and entrances to the park by the treatment of the street – width, landscape treatment, footpath width and location.

Visual signals, which may match the branding and arts programme proposed for the Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park can also act as subtle markers to identify the route to the park, such as colouring of street furniture and lights or distinctive markers along the route (refer Section 1.4.8).

On all streets, cyclists should be encouraged to use the street network. As the routes link to the main external circulation, additional measures such as dedicated cycle lanes may need to be considered.

d) Types of streets – Design consideration

The treatment of each street can vary depending on its location and role. In general it is assumed there will be three main types of streets with section dimensions and treatment to suit.

Local access streets – main circulation connecting sub-neighbourhoods and linking to the Natural Heritage Park.

Green Streets – smaller-scaled street adjacent to the Natural Heritage Park or local reserve.

Local Lane – smaller scaled cross-streets to serve blocks between local access streets.

Design guideline

The Rotokauri Structure Plan provides for low speed, green streets along the northern and south-eastern edges of the Natural Heritage Park in order to provide active frontages.

Minimising curb radii creates tight corners – forcing cars to slow and making it easier for pedestrians to cross.

Avoid roundabouts – these disadvantage pedestrians and cyclists and require more space at intersections (reducing the sense of enclosure and encouraging faster vehicle movement).

e) Additional links – Design consideration

Where streets are not appropriate, allow for safe alternative routes for pedestrians, with good surveillance (refer Figure 1.4.7e​).

Design guideline

Pedestrian only routes should generally be not less than 2m wide, provide clear visibility from the main street footpath and contain no hidden spaces which could conceal people or activity from view of the main street.

Pedestrian routes should be overlooked by adjacent development with low or transparent fencing and preferably overlooked by main occupied rooms of the adjacent houses.

If the pedestrian routes are connecting two different levels, attempts should be made to keep the slope at 1:12 and where steps are necessary a handrail should be provided.

The above illustrations indicate an acceptable design for a given environment but should not be regarded as being a specific requirement or the only design solution that will be adopted.

f) Street furniture – Design consideration

Street furniture should cater for the safety and comfort of pedestrians and cyclists, including lighting, street trees and other planting, and items such as seats, rubbish bins and cycle parking racks.

Design guideline

Street lighting should provide high quality, safe environments for pedestrians.

The suite of furniture, including street lights, should co-ordinate with the colours and branding adopted for the Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park (refer Section 1.4.8).

Street planting should take into account the need to reflect the native vegetation and planting combinations within the Natural Heritage Park.

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Figure 1.4.7e: Layout allows for safe alternative routes for pedestrians, with good surveillance

 
 

1.4.7.8 The Layout of Development

a) Explanation

The topography of the Lake Waiwhakareke Landscape Character Area presents significant opportunities and constraints for development. The sharply undulating terrain offers the possibility for residents to enjoy long distance views, but at the same time the orientation of the resulting street network may present challenges for maximising solar gain.

On flat land, rectangular or square locks represent the most efficient form of lot layouts. Sloping land however, requires a modified approach to be taken. It is also desirable that the size and shape of lots are configured to allow some flexibility in the types and density of housing that can be established.

The orientation of lots influences the amount of sun gained inside the house and in outdoor living areas. The layout of development should seek to maximise the proportion of dwellings receiving sun, particularly in the winter.

In planning the layout of development, the following issues need to be considered.

  • Configuration of lots
  • Solar orientation
  • Front yard living

b) Configuration – Design consideration

Regardless of the density or housing type being built, the size and configuration of lots should allow for building platforms that provide good internal spaces and solar orientation as well as sunny and private outdoor areas (refer Figures 1.4.7f and 1.4.7g).

Design guideline

  • The depth of the lots should allow for an efficient building platform and a distance of 20m back to back between buildings.

Figure 1.4.7f: Design for deeper back yards to allow sun in south-facing parts of the site, front setbacks of at least 3m allow for a front porch or deck



Figure 1.4.7g: Allotments oriented north-south or with north-facing back yards mean sun in front and rear setbacks most of the year


c) Solar orientation – Design consideration

Maximise opportunities for solar gain.

Design guideline

Maximise the number of lots with the long axis within range N200W to N300E or E200N to E300S.

Orientate houses to allow some living spaces setback from the northern boundary to gain northern sun in winter.

In a comprehensive development, zero lot lines can maximise useable outdoor space by setting houses to the southern boundary and locating service areas along that wall.

Vary the depth of north-south facing lots. Consider using the upper levels to create outdoor living platforms that receive some sunshine and may also pick up views over rooftops.

d) Front-yard living – Design consideration

Where the rear of the house may not receive sufficient sunshine, additional outdoor living space should be provided at the front of the house.

Design guideline

Where dwellings have a south-facing back yard, include some form of semi-private outdoor living space on the northern front of the house. Traditional verandas or decks can be treated to provide privacy for those using them but also providing ‘eyes on the street’ and an attractive frontage for passers-by (refer Figure 1.4.7h).

Upstairs balconies or bay windows also create sunny living spaces and enliven the frontage of a house.

Figure 1.4.7h: Terraces in the front yard allows sunny outdoor living on south-facing slopes

 

1.4.7.9 Stormwater Management

a) Explanation

Hydrological processes account, in large measure, for many of the natural features present in the Lake area. They are also of special significance for tangata whenua.

Lake Waiwhakareke itself is a sensitive receiving environment and can be adversely affected by both the quality and quantity of stormwater arising from surrounding development.

The management of stormwater must therefore take account of local drainage conditions, which in parts of the area will include peat soils and correspondingly high ground water levels. There are likely, however, to be significant opportunities for incorporating management measures as part of the design of public spaces.

In formulating stormwater management systems, the following matters should be taken into account.

  • The potential impact of development on Lake Waiwhakareke
  • Retention of natural drainage patterns
  • Treatment of streets
  • Integration into open space

b) The potential impact of development on Lake Waiwhakareke

Development around Lake Waiwhakareke shall manage the quality and quantity of runoff that enters the Lake in order to avoid any adverse effects on Lake Waiwhakareke.

Design guide

Development should be informed by an approved Integrated Catchment Management Plan. The ICMP should be used to identify any issues that may impact on the water quality of Lake Waiwhakareke.

c) Retention of natural drainage patterns – Design consideration

The natural drainage pattern of the area should be maintained where possible.

Design guideline

Identify natural watercourses in the early site analysis so they can help inform the subdivision layout. Where possible they should be retained and enhanced with vegetation as part of the open space network.

The use of impermeable surfaces should be minimised wherever possible.

Naturally occurring fresh springs should not be piped or diverted.

d) Location and treatment of streets – Design consideration

The street network should take into account overland flow paths and may be designed as temporary flood ways during major storm events. Treatment of berms and kerb systems can absorb some stormwater or minimise flows during extreme events.

Design guideline

Streets adjacent to public open spaces or water courses may be designed as temporary floodways during major events, provided that vehicular access can be maintained (at slow speed) and that water flows do not become a hazard for motorists or adjacent residents.

Swales and rain gardens can be considered, either in the centre of the carriageway or side berms. A ‘soft’ edge adjacent to a park or open space serves the dual purpose of stormwater management and extending the visual amenity of the park to the edge of the carriageway.

Consider permeable paving on low trafficked streets (such as local lanes) or parking bays which are offset from the main carriageway.

e) Integration into open space network – Design consideration

In addition to creating an open space network around existing water courses or wetlands, permanent water features can be incorporated into open spaces and circulation networks to add amenity or recreational features as well as assist with stormwater or minimise flows during extreme events (refer Figure 1.4.7i).

Design guideline

Incorporate stormwater management into hard and soft landscape design for open spaces and streetscapes. Features such as ponds, wetlands and rain gardens can be considered.

Pedestrian paths between levels can incorporate hard or soft flow paths, creating amenity and stormwater treatment. Care must be taken to ensure paths are still safe and useable during storm events.

Figure 1.4.7i: Pedestrian link on steep slopes provides opportunity for informal watercourse – width provides space for amenity planting as well as surveillance (CPTED)

 

Page reviewed: 07 Sep 2020 11:48am