The Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC) has made clear the law on brothels and prostitution in the District.
It says the new District Plan could allow ‘small-scale’ prostitution in homes in residential areas, but it doesn’t see any major problems arising.
The Kapiti Independent feels it’s important to run the full KCDC statement because of the alarm raised this week by Cr K Gurunathan (Guru) over possible ‘neon lit’ brothels near churches and schools in urban areas.
Jim Ebenhoh, KCDC Sustainable Development Manager, says:
“Brothels are currently classified as ‘places of assembly’ under the current (Operative) District Plan. ‘Places of assembly’ are not a permitted activity in residential areas.
The Proposed District Plan seeks to get rid of the ‘places of assembly’ category because it is considered to be ill-defined and problematic and has proven to be not specific enough to be workable.
The proposed plan change seeks to better define permitted activities in residential zones.
This would mean the existing category of ‘home occupation’, which relates to small home-based businesses, such as massage therapy, hairdressing, dressmaking, dog grooming, could cover small-scale prostitution as a permitted activity in residential zones.
Such activities would be limited to two people working in a total area of 40 square meters. Under the PDP there would be limits on signage and vehicle activity.
Some see this proposed change as allowing for prostitution and this appears to have given rise to claims that suburban brothels will be an unintended consequence.
Council believes it unlikely that easily identified, home-based brothels will appear in residential areas as a result of them being permitted, if the change is adopted.
No cause for alarm
Given the nature of their business and community attitudes, it is hard to imagine that such enterprises would want to draw attention to themselves, even if they were allowed to.
The plan change was discussed at workshops where Councillor Gurunathan was present, although the possibility of ‘home occupation’ leading to prostitution has only subsequently been highlighted by a submitter to the PDP.
It is important to note these changes are only ‘proposed’ and there is definitely still an opportunity to refine them as part of the pre-hearing and hearings process.
As you know hearings are suspended while the PDP undergoes an independent review.”