Kāpiti Airport Could Provide Homes For 7,000, Says Leading Architect

Kāpiti Airport land could provide up to 7,000 homes but still keep planes flying, says prominent architect Gordon Moller.

Moller, who won the NZ Architectural Institute’s gold medal winner in 2007, says this in a submission to the Kapiti Council’s long-term plan.

KCDC map with overlays showing where housing could go

Mr Moller says the west side of the Airport ( left on the map) could have between 2500 and 5000 residential units,and the east zone ( to the right on the map) could have between 900 and 2000  residential units.

He says the airport entrance should be moved to go off Kapiti road- “where it should always have been”.

Moller, Auckland based but a Kapiti coast landowner for 35 years says it is increasingly important Paraparaumu keeps its open space with the airport as the “lungs of the local area and region”.

His proposal would see two wedge shaped pieces of land taken for housing. One on the west side (2500 – 5000 units) back towards Avion terrace. The other on the east (900 to 2000 units) is towards Kapiti road.

Alternative plan would close the Airport

But while Moller thinks the airport can co-exist with housing, Paekakariki economist Paul Callister wants the housing but doesn’t think the case to keep the airport stacks up.

Dr Callister says Kapiti has a housing crisis and the key to solving it is building houses, including low-income and papakainga housing. That can be done  with medium to high density housing on the airport land with the southern end – by the Wharemauku stream- retained for wetland and flood plain restoration.

He says any council subsidy to keep the airport going is a burden on low-income ratepayers,

Dr Callister’s submission to the council says Kapiti is unique in NZ by having unused land at its centre of its main town. His suggestion for housing on the airport site is based in what’s being proposed for high density housing at the Unitech site in Auckland .(https://www.hud.govt.nz/assets/Urban-Development/UNITEC/Unitec_Plan_and_strategic_framework_June_2020.pdf

He says such a development on the Kapiti airport land would provide “15 minute housing”, with easy bike and public transport access to shops, the library, parks and open space, public transport and schools.

He says the alternative to this is more sprawl along the coast with the potential loss of prime horticultural land around Otaki.

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