“Improve the quality of the resort” “No limit on the number of beds, worry about crowds” New development rules in Kutchan Town – local evaluations are divided

Niseko real estate News

[Kutchan] Business operators and residents are divided over the effectiveness of new rules for resort development, which will be implemented by Kutchan Town in the Goshi Jurisdiction from October 1 to preserve the environment and landscape. While there is a view that this will have a certain effect on curbing overdevelopment, there are also concerns that there is no regulation on the total number of occupancy of lodging facilities in the area, and that it will not be able to prevent the negative effects of attracting too many customers. In order to properly manage development and increase the competitiveness of international resorts, the rules will likely need to be constantly reviewed.

“The new rules for Kutchan Town are significant in protecting the natural environment, guiding high-quality development, and making the area comparable to ski resorts around the world.” A person involved with a major general contractor who has been involved in development projects in the Niseko area evaluates it as follows.

The new rules broadly set limits on the total floor space of accommodation facilities and tighten regulations on floor area ratios. It is also mandatory to secure a minimum development area to preserve greenery around buildings.
Koichiro Ishiguro, president of ISA Architects, a design firm based in Niseko Town, said, “Large condominiums make it difficult to recover funds due to building and land restrictions, so villa-type facilities are increasing.As development is suppressed, the value of real estate increases. “As a result, the unit price of properties will rise, and the trend toward luxury will continue.”

On the other hand, there are disagreements within the region. Taiji Hashizume, president of Niseko Alpine Developments, a real estate company in Kutchan Town, says, “There is a risk that large international brand hotels will no longer come to Niseko.” There are few opportunities for information to be disseminated in English during the rule review process, and there are concerns that foreigners will avoid investing in the future, fearing that regulations will be tightened without them knowing.

Overseas, some resorts set limits on the number of overnight beds and manage their development in order to prevent the negative effects of attracting too many guests, but there are no such regulations in Kutchan Town. As of September of this year, the total capacity of lodging facilities in the town’s resort area was 14,716 people, an increase of 36% or about 3,900 people from five years ago.

Keith Rogers, a Canadian native who has lived in the town for more than 20 years and in 2022 submitted a request to the town asking for deliberation on the new rules along with a list of 653 signatures, said, “Regulations in the Hanazono district of Hirafu, where the resort is based, are… “The system remains weak. There is no limit on the maximum number of guests, and developers are not required to secure sufficient parking. I am worried about congestion at ski resorts and roads.”

 

After the new rules came into effect, there have been growing calls for the development of resort areas from a long-term perspective. An executive at a design company in Hokkaido said, “If more greenery remains under the new rules, there will be more possibilities for summer experiential tourism, which will lead to employment throughout the year.” bring the action.

Mr. Rogers suggests, “If you want to become a world-class resort, you should receive advice from a resort planner, and verify and review the rules every year to make sure they are functioning properly.”

Hokkaido News Papar2023.9.14

Niseko real estate company CEO’s perspective

In the same Niseko region, Niseko Town, which falls under the same jurisdiction, is also creating guidelines that require buildings to be considerate of the environment and landscape.

Protection of the landscape and development of the town. Attracting tourists and overtourism (a situation in which excessive numbers of tourists crowding into a tourist destination have a negative impact on the lives of local residents, the natural environment, and the landscape) Attracting and investing in international brand companies suppressive effect. There is no single answer to this question, depending on the situation of the person looking at it. We have taken the first step toward reform. I would like to see how things change in the future.