Virtually all district plans in New Zealand are based on a zoning model that identifies areas for residential (or living) purposes, within which residential activities are dominant and a high level of amenity values is expected. These amenity values include visual quality, open space, gardens, trees, low noise levels, limited traffic generation and other characteristics people usually associate with domestic life.
Non-residential activities can range from those associated with self-employment in the home, to a wide range of employment, community support and commercial activities. Some of these non-residential activities may conflict with or entirely displace residential occupation. These categorisations have often resulted in three classes of non-residential activities in plans:
- Home occupations, where the activity is carried out on site by the occupant of the dwelling
- Community facilities, which are generally required and favoured to meet local needs but usually have little or no residential component (e.g. preschools, churches and medical practices)
- Other non-residential activities, which typically include activities such as motels, café bars, larger medical facilities, specialised recreation facilities, offices and service stations.